Get advice on how to deal with jerks at work Check out the book 'Jerks At Work' and other titles by Ken Lloyd Ph.D. Return to the homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.

You asked, Ken answers ...

This item is filed under these categories:
Teasing Insults Conflict

There is one employee here who teases everyone, and I do mean everyone, and his comments are not funny. When I tried to tease him back, he became even more insulting and would not let up. His comments are not sexual or anything like that. They are just obnoxious. Since very few people here are bothered by this, what can I do?

Although you cannot script what other people say, your actions can play an important contributory role. For example, when you engaged in the repartee with this corporate buffoon, he instantly assumed that you wanted to spar with him, so he raised the stakes.

Whatever you might ultimately decide to do in dealing with this mascot, the one step to avoid is to sink to his level and get into a verbal exchange. He will want to have the last word, and, unfortunately, it will not be good-bye.

A better approach is to try to keep your contact with him to a minimum and deal with him strictly on a businesslike basis. If he sees that he cannot get you to join the joust, he is likely to become less interested in taunting you.

There are some larger questions here, such as why the company is allowing this loose cannon to bounce through the halls. Perhaps he has a specialized function that the company sorely needs, but there are at least a few employees who react to him as you do, and the fact that the company is tolerating his questionable behavior raises questions about the company itself.

Comment on this item

Your name (optional)
If you leave this blank, we'll list you as "Website visitor"

Your comments
Please keep your comments focused on the topic. Thanks!