Work Relationships

9 Ways To Avoid Being The Office Jerk

Written by Peter Jones

We all have crazy coworkers—and that’s not even counting the guys going AWOL on the printer in an abandoned field. But you don’t have to be the office psycho to make an enemy of yourself at work.

Here are nine things not to do on the job—or really ever.

1. Don’t lie

Even if it’s a little white lie with good intentions, it can easily get out of hand. Getting caught up in a lie, however, will only make it harder for your coworkers to trust you… and for you to respect yourself.

2. Don’t gossip

But… work is dull, and that secret is just so juicy Still, hold on to your schadenfreude and keep quiet about your coworkers’ misery. You won’t hurt anybody’s feelings, and no one will think you’re a spiteful grump.

3. Don’t be a downer

Everybody hates their job a little—at least once in a while. But don’t be the one who’s constantly complaining. It’s a bummer and will bring the whole group down, plus it will make you look like a total downer. Remember how replaceable you are!

4. Don’t Explode

No, seriously. We all want to go AWOL on the printer. Or occasionally even our boss. Before you pick up that stapler to hurl it at your coworker, remember: it might make you feel better, but it’s really just an easy way to get fired. Once you become the office crazy person, there’s no coming back.

5. Don’t hog all the credit

Even if you feel you did the lion’s share, taking credit for someone else’s work or ideas is just a jerk move, plain and simple. Keep it classy, and focus on what you can accomplish.

6. Don’t brag

Playing it cool is the strongest possible move when you’ve done something excellent. Give the impression that you’re that good all the time, rather than crowing about every small success.

7. Don’t backstab

Be sensitive to the climate you work in, and the hierarchy. Don’t go over anybody’s head or talk about anyone behind their back. (And just hope your coworkers do you the same courtesy.)

8. Don’t eat gross stuff

No, really. That leftover flounder your boyfriend made you is just going to stink up the microwave, the kitchenette, your cubicle, and the entire office. Don’t be the one who brings in smelly leftovers and makes everybody nauseous. If you wouldn’t eat it on an airplane, don’t bring it into work.

9. Don’t burn bridges

Even if you do have to peace out, resist the urge to do it in dramatic fashion. You’re invariably hurting your coworkers more than your boss, and you never know when you might need the connections you have made.

These sound like outrageous behaviors, but it’s quite easy to be driven to them gradually. So check your ego, stay calm, and make sure to keep your head above the fray.

About the author

Peter Jones