Don't Be THAT Person

The Big Fat Jerk. The King of Passive-Aggressive Behavior. The Debbie-"Cannot-Snap-Out-Of-It"-Downer.

You've worked with someone like that? That person who is like oil to everyone else's water; that person who somehow keeps getting hired despite treating others like crap; that person who makes going into work more painful for the rest of us (And yes, I'm pretty sure this isn't you!).

It's true, jerky people exist at work, unfortunately more often than we'd like. It's inevitable, you are going to cross paths with a difficult co-worker at some point in your career and beware...they will test you and your patience to no end.

It's almost if they can't help themselves, being that person is ingrained in them. This isn't something that happens once at one job and then miraculously goes away. It's a deep-rooted habit that follows them their entire career.

And word gets around. Trust me, I heard plenty of horror stories over the years, especially when I worked in HR. If you are hard to work with, you better believe the 6-degrees out from your boss and your HR department already knows it.

“In my opinion, we don't devote nearly enough
scientific research to finding a cure for jerks.”

—Bill Watterson

Friends, I KNOW this isn't you we're talking about. But we're human and you might have some pain-in-the-buttness slip out every once in a while, it happens. Being a jerk once in a blue moon means you're human, being a jerk all the time means you're that person.

The number one key to avoiding being known as the jerk at work, is to own up to your actions, all of them: good/bad/ones you'd rather not mention.

Take Responsibility for Your Behavior

“If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.”
—D.L. Moody

Reputation = your actions + the impact of those actions on other people. You can’t always control what other people think of you, but you do have half of the equation within your control: your actions (which turn into your habits, which build your character).

When something goes wrong at work (that's potentially your fault), do you take responsibility or automatically blame others? When you raise your voice and speak harshly, do you admit you've stepped out of line? When you're in a hurry to speak and cut off someone who's talking, do you apologize?

Chances are you might have answered no to at least one of these. By owning up to mistakes when they happen, and consistently taking responsibility for the results, you'll become know as a person of character.

It's the people that hide from their mistakes, try to sweep them under the rug or downplay their impact...those are the folks that never seem to learn how to behave better. My guess is they've become comfortable making excuses, so comfortable in fact, they aren't even aware of what's right or wrong anymore.

Do yourself a favor: own up to your errors readily and enthusiastically. You'll be learning more (remember: you need a mistake to be able to learn how to problems solve), AND developing your character in one fell swoop.

And that's the person you want to be.

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