OH, THE AGONY: Help, I work for a competent jerk



OH, THE AGONY: Help, I work for a competent jerk

Our weekly bit of lighthearted advice

Yolisa Mkele and Nina Hastie

I work for a competent jerk — clever and capable, but brutal. How do I handle her?
YOLISA MKELEThere are ways to deal with this, both with their pros and cons.
Firstly, you can simply man up, unless she’s beating you with a steel rod, in which case you should report her to authorities.
Be glad you are learning, and have a drink to numb the pain. The alternative is to quit. Find a new job with a boss who buys you flowers and cheesecake.
Newspapers advertise jobs — have a look in there. When explaining why you left your job, be sure to make it sound like you were the victim of actual abuse or everyone may think you’re precious.
NINA HASTIEThis woman, let’s call her ‘‘boss lady”, probably had to deal with jerks to get where she is, and had to out-jerk them to gain respect and her position.
She has learned the ways of the samurai and is, as you say, brutal. She probably still has a jerk boss, and if she doesn’t maintain the façade of brutal jerk samurai, she might lose face in her own battles.
Maybe she has issues at home, maybe she is projecting her own self-esteem issues, maybe she’s allergic to her fabric softener and it makes her grumpy. Maybe she works so hard that she never sees her family, and has her own resentment issues she is dealing with, and you happen to be in the firing line.
The only way to survive this is not to take it personally. Think of your days at work as a t’ai chi class: when she goes into attack mode, take a breath and curl the verbal attack past you. You have control over your level of involvement. 
Hastie is a comedian. Mkele is a journalist. Consult a professional therapist if your problem persists.

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