• Louise Carnachan

Happy Launch Day to Work Jerks: How to Cope with Difficult Bosses and Colleagues!


Woo-hoo! The three-year journey to the publication of WorkJerks: How to Cope with Difficult Bosses and Colleagues completed on June 14th with the book’s release. If your favorite independent bookstore doesn’t have it on their shelves yet, it can be ordered through their regular distribution channels. Online, it can be found in all the usual places or go to my website to see where it can be ordered.


To introduce you to the book, let’s start by defining what a jerk is. This is a person who displays consistently annoying or disruptive behavior and it’s gotten to the point that you try to avoid them and/or don’t like going to work. We’re not talking about a one-off interaction but rather a series of events over time. If you’ve been suffering, Work Jerks can help.


Everyone who covers the topic of dealing with difficult people creates their own classifications. Naturally, we’re more complicated than any stereotype but we still need descriptive language. I’ve delineated nine Jerketypes: Narcissistic, Know-It-All, Incompetent, Runaway-Train, Fight-or-Flee, Poor Me, Jokester, We Are Family, and Habitually Annoying. There are sub-types under each these so the reader can hone in on their particular person of interest. The goal is to provide a menu of actions to regain your good humor and productivity while maintaining relationships—and keeping the job.


Most Jerketype names are reflective of their characteristics. But what about the person who runs over everyone and everything in their rush to get things done? That’s someone I call a High-Speed Train subtype. They’re part of the Runaway Train Jerketype, a collection of people who display some extreme form of behavior. Others in this group include the Funeral Train (those who never have a good thing to say), Hazardous Materials Train (people who create chaos wherever they go), Milk-Run Train (colleagues who socialize excessively), Stop-At-All-Crossings Train (the overly cautious individuals who hold up everything), and Circuitous Train (those whose communication is so vague it’s easy to miss their point altogether).


Advice provided in Work Jerks is based on personal experience, that of my clients, applied learning from psychology and emotional intelligence, and lessons from the School of Hard Knocks. I’ve done time in the trenches, not just sat in a consulting chair. When you have issues with others at work, you want real-life solutions, not theoretical ones. In Work Jerks, you can shop for ideas and adapt them to your unique situation.


Because we can all be jerks at times, it’s possible to discover parts of yourself in reading the book. More than once in my life, I’ve displayed all the signs of a Dramatic (subtype in the Narcissistic Jerketype). During one of my outbursts, a colleague said, “Have you ever considered suffering in silence?” Point taken. You, too, may wonder if you’ve strayed into jerk territory. Fortunately, there are self-assessment worksheets included in every section along with remedial actions. It’s likely there’s someone you hope will recognize themselves through the descriptions. While leaving an anonymous gift on their desk with a section flagged is an option, that’s a little passive-aggressive...probably not the best approach.


Work Jerks is a book to return to whenever relationships become baffling or maddening. And its shelf life may last beyond one’s employment years because jerk behavior is not limited to folks on the job (just ask anyone who has retired).

Going back to our example, what do you do about a High-Speed Train who is ignoring all downed crossings and hurtling to certain disaster? Start by getting their attention (not always easy, it may take repeated attempts), then let them know it’ll more efficient to slow down and do it right than to do it over again. Remember, their juice comes from checking the box and moving on, so any argument that promises expediency is the strategy to use, not talking about how you feel. Check out the book for more guidance. You will be happy to see that small tweaks in approach can sometimes make the biggest difference.


It’s thrilling to send Work Jerks out into the world! My fondest hope is that it will offer you and others practical assistance and leads to happier workdays for everyone. Let me know if I hit the mark. Happy reading!

Louise Carnachan is an organizational development consultant with over forty years of experience in a variety of industries. She trained as a cognitive behavior therapist and has specialized in leadership and team communication. From her home outside of Portland, Oregon, Louise pens a workplace advice blog and continues to coach leaders. Learn more at www.louisecarnachan.com.

76 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All