Stanford Alumni
Stanford Alumni
Published in
2 min readApr 24, 2017


Working with someone who leaves you feeling disrespected and without energy can have negative effects that go far beyond your desk. If you’re troubled by an annoying co-worker, you might daydream about “rage quitting,” but there are a lot of other, better ways of dealing with a colleague who pushes your buttons.

We sat down with Bob Sutton, professor of management science and engineering and author of The Asshole Survival Guide to discuss these “workplace jerks.” Though his book does also delve into harassment, which requires legal action, his tips here will help you avoid annoying co-workers, convince your enemy to help you and, sometimes, even make a jerk your friend. No, seriously.

1. What is a workplace jerk?

Co-workers who push your buttons can be bad for your health, but it may be simpler than you think to find yourself in a healthier situation.

2. Escaping without leaving

It’s only 15 feet to freedom from the co-worker who drives you crazy. Plus, how to respond to toxic behavior.

3. Getting them on your side

Assuming your obnoxious colleague’s behavior is due to poor social skills and a lack of self-awareness rather than outright malice, being nice just might help. If it’s good enough for Ben Franklin, it’s good enough for us.

4. The power of time travel

Someday we’ll look back on all this and laugh. Right?

5. How to fight back

If your office jerk’s behavior is resistant to the above tactics, you may need to take more calculated action. Folders will be necessary. You can do this.

6. Jerkiness is contagious

Think you’d never act like that? Think again. Learn how to avoid the disease.

7. No jerks allowed

How to avoid trapping yourself to finish “one last project.” Plus, how companies can succeed with no-jerk policies.