Why Do Professionals Feel The Need To Be Jerks
“You must be the worst employee your company has, I’m surprised you have a job.” — Rude attorney over the phone…
There is nothing I hate more than when someone feels the need to tell me how bad I am at my job.
While I cannot go into specifics, I encounter professional men and women who cannot seem to handle life and begin insulting me, my work, and my company because they don’t agree with me.
Theses miserable individuals seem to think it is going to help me help them if they are rude, crass, and down-right mean. Maybe it intimidates other people into doing what they want, but it doesn’t make me want to find ways to help them.
Now, this doesn’t mean I’m not going to do my job or sandbag. It does mean that I’m going to scrutinize anything they send me for authenticity, accuracy, and value.
And when that happens, they only seem to get angrier when I point out their own folly and failings in their work product.
Maybe that sounds petty.
But, if they think my work is so poor, they better be ready for me to point out their garbage effort. What I have found is that people who act like that are simply making up for their shortcomings. It’s almost always true.
The Effects of Their Abuse
“It must be hard being an idiot.” — An attorney’s response to asking to follow up questions about their own statements.
Four years ago, I would throw it all back in their face, mimic their rudeness, and lose my temper far beyond what they were doing to me. I would play into their hand willingly.
These situations and tactics used to ruin my day.
After a phone call where someone insults, berates, and attempts to intimidate me I would be screwed the rest of the day. I remember days where that might be the first call of my day and the rest of the day I would be expecting everyone to be mad.
Most of the time, others weren’t. But the slightest bit of confrontation would take me to an entirely out of this world level.
The abuse that people feel they can inflict on others is absurd. Especially in a professional setting. It ruins my day. Which leads me to possibly ruining other people’s days. And it leads to expectations of confrontation in the future.
But, It Doesn’t Have To Be Like That
“I understand how you feel. A lot of people feel this way. What I have found though is that my point of view is actually well supported. And if you can’t be professional, I’m going to disconnect the line.”
I have permission to hang up on people at work. If they are being rude, crass, or and mean, I can tell them I am going to hang up and do it.
And, I exercise this whenever someone decides to take things to the next level. When they start ramping up and trying to make things personal. But, I have two weapons at my desk to combat this kind of crazy.
These two weapons are little yellow sticky notes.
Sticky Note #1
The first one came from a supervisor I had years ago. He constantly had to remind me to cool it when someone would light me up. It reads:
Be Calm, Seek Clarity, What Can You Do?
It reminds me to be calm when someone is not being calm. I also need to find out what the problem really is. And then, what I can do about it. Not what I can’t do.
Those three phrases have helped diffuse those who are frustrated. They also help me to find ways to provide better customer service. However, the second weapon in my arsenal is for those who are intentionally mean.
Sticky Note #2
This sticky note tells me to get off the phone. It is the one that is my wall between abuse and a bad day and freedom and a good day. It reads:
Empathize, Advise, HANG UP!
This one is far more simple. It reminds me to be nice, tells them what I’m about to do because they are rude, and then do it. The freedom this little sticky has for me is very powerful.
But, I don’t deserve to be talked to like these jerks talk to me. And I don’t have to take it just because I’m in a customer service type role.
Don’t Let People Talk to You Like That
Every time this happens, it is off-putting to me. I cannot fathom how people can routinely act like this. I have a shortlist of people who I have to talk to on a regular basis who are flat jerks.
I don’t avoid them, but I sure prepare myself to talk to them. I always have a game plan. If they start getting out of the conversation zone and into the jerk zone, I bring out my weapons.
While the onslaught of insults may still be waiting for me, they don’t have the right to ruin my day and make me feel like crap.
If this is happening to you. I would encourage you to use my sticky note weapons. Make sure to have the okay to hang up on people, but most of the time, a company shouldn’t make you stay on the line for that kind of filth.
If you run into situations like this, how do you deal with them?