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Great letter. I like how the author paid attention to those little details that we often dismiss as unimportant. But isn't it the small things that point to larger values? So it really does come down to Kelley's point about trusting our instincts. Scott Sinek in his book Start with Why says that we've been trained to ignore our gut feelings when, in reality, they are a source of invaluable input during the decision making process. If you get the feeling that someone's an asshole, chances are you're right.
The best tip and the hardest to follow is #1: Get out. And getting out really is your only option if your boss is the asshole in question, because someone (probably his/her boss) is supporting and possibly nurturing the behavior. And that means the culture of the organization is against you. This is the most difficult in your list of great tips because we associate leaving with failure. ("I should have been able to triumph over the cruel, dehumanizing way I was treated!") And we also know that the buck stops with us when it comes to paying the bills. But there's an inevitability about bullying that is sobering. Statistics tell us that once you've become the target of an asshole (especially a powerful one), there's a 66% chance that you'll be out of a job sooner rather than later. And the benefits of getting out with your health and sanity intact can't be minimized. An article published last year in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine came to the unexpected conclusion that some jobs are so demoralizing that they're worse for a person's mental health than no job at all. If you're working for an asshole, that pretty much defines the state of your existence. Thank you for the important work you do on this often overlooked and all too pervasive problem in organizations of all shapes and sizes.
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Apr 13, 2012