Being on a vacation, both physically and mentally separated from work, allows one to step out of the daily grind and really look at the things that work and things that don’t work. Problem with habits is that they are hard to break and if you don’t get a decent long one (ha!) it’s usually easier to fall back to the daily grind than to really change your approach. The most important of those approaches comes in dealing with assholes. If you’re unlucky to be the boss, your calendar is likely filled with assholes that try to flush their frustrations off on you.
Here is how to deal with them. I don’t have the time for top ten so here is the top two.
Equilizer Jerks – These guys, for better or worse, are assholes for no apparent motivation other than they feel they have been wronged somehow and now they need to waste your time even though nothing will make them happy other than someone hearing them out.
Power Jerks – This specimen is unique in a sense that it’s trying to build status and rapport in all the wrong ways – by forcing themselves into a situation they otherwise wouldn’t be allowed into.
So what do you do?
Few people know this but most of the Vladville lessons that aren’t about me are about the jerks that line up to ruin my day. And my favorite compliment is when assholes tell me “I love Vladville but I don’t agree with everything you say” – which is a safe way of saying:
“Listen, I’m an asshole too. But I hate it when you call me out on shit I try to pull.”
Nothing but love, brothers and sisters, you’re among friends.
But fuck you – and here is how.
Mitigating Equalizer Jerks
Like I mentioned, the assholes who feel your company or you personally have wronged in some horrific way are just poor bastards that need therapy or a time travel machine for their mom and dad to slap the shit out them because they raised a pussy. These folks will just whine and complain all day long about everything that went wrong in their life as a result of one of your actions.
Who knew that your daily job was ruining peoples lives? It was a surprise for me as well.
So you can’t say anything because any apology from you will prompt another insult begging for another apology. The more sincere you get the more annoyed they get because they want an opportunity to vent. They don’t want you to fix it because their stunted mental development has made it impossible for them to deal with issues and come to a rational solution themselves. So god help you if you propose one – it will just make them angrier. And try to walk them to the logical conclusion even they cannot reject – oh my god will they get angry!!!
A while back we had a client who had a rollout issue with ExchangeDefender. And then a little bit later his same client, through a full fault of their own, had another issue. “Vlad, he is begging me to cancel this service!!!” But when he was pointed out by multiple levels of management that this issue was a fault of the client not on the service he came back with the unresolvable problem – he can’t tell the client that he is wrong! So what do you do to fix this – offer service credit? offer a free trial?
I told him in very few words to go fuck himself because if his client is incapable of understanding their own issues it’s like wondering why you can’t swim out of a lake with cement shoes.
Dealing with equalizer jerks in all the wrong ways is giving them an option to continue arguing. Don’t. Tell them to go fuck themselves.
But Vlad, they will tell someone else! Fantastic, let them tell people we don’t provide great psychiatric support service.
Mitigating Power Jerks
Power jerks, and we’re all a little bit of one, are ones that irrationally request that their problem be handled by god almighty himself. I demand to speak to your supervisor!!!! Yeah, you know you’ve said it before.
What these guys are really after is not the solution to their problem because there likely isn’t one. They just want to win even a little by shaming an employee or staffer that has nothing to do with any of it.
At ExchangeDefender we have a number. I don’t really want to say what it is but it goes like this and it’s drilled into every employee during their orientation: Nobody under $X revenue a month gets to talk to Vlad. I don’t give a shit if it’s the fireman here trying to pour water on Vlad’s burning body in the middle of his fucking office. Not sure if that’s the specific language.
How do you deal with someone that is just ridiculously irrational? You inform them of your process and policies. Take away one sword they have until they figure out what will actually make them happy.
Because here is a newsflash – they don’t know. They just want to complain as far up as they can until their irrational argument gains enough gravity through the involvement of people that know nothing about the original problem.
Case and point, I knew this dumb fuck who at Microsoft WPC took upon himself to write a 6 page essay to be escalated up to Ballmer himself. He looped in everyone he could grab along the way until everyone took a second to look around and say WTF?
Escalation has it’s place. But people whose first course of action is: I demand to speak to someone with a clue.. Should be reprimanded to the layer below that of an office receptionist. Hire an answering service and send them over to it. Ask them to bounce calls between as many reps as it takes until the motherfucker dehydrates and drops dead at his desk or runs out of quarters in the payphone booth and hangs his dumb ass.
Perhaps when they wake up, refreshed, they’ll have a better perspective of what they wanted to have addressed and if it was such a big deal in the first place.
How do I know?
Well, as the Chief Excrement-cleaning Officer, I get to deal with these assholes all day long. And sometimes, though rarely, I tend to be one of them. But every now and then you drink enough at your desk that you just can’t keep your head up on the phone and it falls forward fast and hard and the occasional idiot-induced concussion does wonders for the soul.
So go forth and fuck with them. Tell them Vlad sent ya, I’ll send them a tshirt.