Tessa West

Apr 6, 2023

Jerks at Work

Toxic Coworkers and What to Do About Them

Portfolio 2022

Today I talked to Tessa West about her book Jerks at Work: Toxic Coworkers and What to Do About Them (Portfolio, 2022).

This conversation explores the seven types of jerks that West has diagnosed: the kiss-up / kiss downer, the credit stealer, the bulldozer, the free rider, the micromanager, the neglectful (boss) and the gaslighter. The last type is, in West’s words, almost “clinically” an evil spirit, even more cleaver and intent on doing harm than the kiss up / kick downer, both of whom are united in feeling contempt for their victims on the job. Sometimes each type has a subspecies categorization: for instance, some bulldozer are rough and obvious from their in-the-mouth machinations. Other bulldozers can be smoother and more subtle. Whatever the manifestation, however, each of these seven types are best handled by developing an array of allies at work who can help give advice and documents the bad behavior you’re experiencing. As to executives, they’re too busy and too eager to see themselves above the fray, West counsels; so you’ve got to make your own way forward.

Tessa West is an associate professor of psychology at New York University. She has published over 60 articles in psychology’s most prestigious journals and has received multiple grants, including from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, in addition to writing regularly about her research in The Wall Street Journal.

Dan Hill, PhD, is the author of ten books and leads Sensory Logic, Inc. (https://www.sensorylogic.com). His latest two books are Blah Blah Blah: A Snarky Guide to Office Lingo and Emotionomics 2.0: The Emotional Dynamics Underlying Key Business Goals.

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Dan Hill

Dan Hill, PhD, is the author of eight books and leads Sensory Logic, Inc. To check out his related “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight” blog, visit this site.

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