Work Jerks: How to Cope with Difficult Bosses and Colleagues

Work Jerks: How to Cope with Difficult Bosses and Colleagues

by Louise Carnachan

Narrated by Louise Carnachan

Unabridged — 7 hours, 24 minutes

Work Jerks: How to Cope with Difficult Bosses and Colleagues

Work Jerks: How to Cope with Difficult Bosses and Colleagues

by Louise Carnachan

Narrated by Louise Carnachan

Unabridged — 7 hours, 24 minutes

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If you’re stressed and unhappy because of problems with a boss or colleague, you pay a price. Not only can your mental and physical health suffer, your nearest and dearest get sick of hearing about it. Going to bed angry and waking up only to dread a new workday is a terrible way to live.

Remote work may have lessened the impact of annoying colleagues for a while, but they can still find ways to irritate. If you’re co-located, the “mute” and “stop video” buttons don’t exist to diminish your exasperation. Not all jerks are the same; the person you find to be a nightmare may be perfectly acceptable to others. And, astonishingly, someone else may even think you’re the jerk!

Author Louise Carnachan has the credentials and experience to make her an expert in this area, but more importantly, she’s been in the trenches herself. With an emphasis on the positive actions you can take while being attentive to your specific situation, Work Jerks provides practical advice on how to deal with a variety of problematic coworkers—whether in-person or remotely—so work can stop being something you dread and start being something you enjoy.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

If you are struggling with a relationship at work, this is a great place to start formulating your strategy for handling it. If you ARE the ‘difficult relationship at work,’ this is a great place to begin your own best self-examination. In either case, Louise Carnachan’s crisp writing, deep experience, and cogent advice offer a strong foundation for practical action and insightful personal growth.”
—Dan Oestreich, coauthor of Driving Fear Out of the Workplace and The Courageous Messenger

"I urge you to throw any reservations to the wind and begin transforming your attitude and behavior toward workplace “jerks.” Work Jerks is theoretically sound and that’s important. But it’s also a most practical book on dealing, effectively, with troublesome people in the workplace. I highly recommend it!”
—Norm Stamper, PhD, author of Breaking Rank: A Top Cop’s Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing and To Protect and Serve: How to Fix America’s Police

“This book is the perfect combination: excellent advice for tackling real work issues while simultaneously making you laugh out loud.”
—Kerry McMillen, Medical Nutrition Therapy Manager, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

“This book is a lifesaver! Carnachan does a masterful job of describing how the different personalities we’ve all worked with show up in the workplace. Identifying the type of jerk you’re dealing with is critical and this book gives you actionable tips for maintaining your sanity when interacting with them. She also includes resources to help you grow in case you start developing jerk-like tendencies. This book is a must-read for people who are earlier in their career, but it also speaks to those who are more tenured and find themselves mired in the awful world of office politics.”
—Laurie Miyauchi, Senior HR Manager, Microsoft

“I LOVE this book! Brilliant! Carnachan nailed it. She takes her experience and wisdom and converts it into something that’s easy to read, assimilate, and apply to all aspects of life, not just work. Ultimately, it’s all about us— ;how we show up and our choices. I wish I’d read it years ago.”
—Victoria Evans, Washingotn State Director of Behavioral Health, Molina Healthcare

Library Journal


Anyone who's ever been employed has likely experienced the misfortune of having a bad boss or coworker. This guide by consultant and blogger Carnachan breaks down the "jerktypes" commonly encountered in the workplace, and how to identify them. Throughout each chapter, Carnachan shares profiles from different employees she's coached in her decades of consulting, and what was helpful (or futile) in their case. She provides advice on everything from minor annoyances (the loud chewer) to truly toxic situations (sexual harassment). Rather than pointing fingers, Carnachan suggests it's also an opportunity for exploring our own biases and invites the reader to complete a brief worksheet in each chapter to identify which harmful traits they might also exhibit that could be corrected. Finally, Carnachan tackles the difficulties that come from a pervasive toxic work culture where there's no readily identifiable solution, and provides recommendations for how those can be addressed. Readers will easily relate to the dozens of profiles presented. Additionally, the recommendations are transferable to many different work environments. VERDICT A smart, concise guide to dealing with difficult coworkers that can be useful to managers and employees alike.—Jen Clifton

Kirkus Reviews

An organizational consultant highlights unsavory characters found in the workplace.

Carnachan’s well-organized, exhaustive study of “Jerketypes” is simultaneously unsettling and reassuring. The fact that she can identify so many jerks in the workplace may be disturbing, but her reasoned counsel for how to cope with them should have a calming effect on most readers. The author applies her decades of experience as both an employee and a coach/consultant to identify nine broad types of jerks, breaking them down into subsets. Some of them, such as “The Narcissistic Jerk,” seem more dangerous than others, like “The Jokester Jerk,” but all of them are worthy of exploration. In each chapter, Carnachan identifies the characteristics of one type of jerk and offers detailed suggestions for dealing with the culprit. The author covers interactions with difficult or exasperating individuals who may be bosses, co-workers, or subordinates. Carnachan includes richly described anecdotes that appropriately illustrate the behavior of each Jerketype. Several of these vignettes are drawn from the author’s coaching experience. For example, in discussing the “Gang Leader,” one form of Narcissistic Jerk, the author relates the story of Samantha, a skilled worker who “was an absolute misery for her manager, Ashley, because of her sarcastic and critical comments about management.” Carnachan explains how she worked with Ashley to create a “performance improvement plan” for Samantha, who, it turns out, eventually resigned. “Lesson learned,” writes the author. “Ashley appointed a new lead from her existing staff who had excellent interpersonal skills and good technical skills.” These illustrative tales enrich the book and make for engaging reading. There is also an opportunity for self-reflection using worksheets included by Carnachan and designed to identify if readers might be Jerketypes. A chapter called “When the Jerk Is a Toxic Work Culture” discusses workplaces more broadly, defining several typical dysfunctional cultures and potential actions to take. A closing chapter reinforces a key overarching theme: “Remember that the only person you can change is you and what you say and do really does affect others.”

Eye-opening, insightful, and filled with practical advice about office jerks.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940159810830
Publisher: Louise Carnachan
Publication date: 06/01/2023
Edition description: Unabridged
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