THE BLOG

Stop Being an Office Jerk

02/24/2015 11:54 am ET | Updated Apr 25, 2015

The path to being an office jerk is a journey...not a light switch. Office jerks are amongst us in all walks of life; they're our managers, teammates, subordinates, vendors and customers. Unfortunately their jerkiness goes unnoticed by them for years and the disease spreads like a virus. Not only affecting them, but everyone they come in contact with. It's so vile that no doctor, manager or company policy can diagnose it. Many managers even have this illness themselves. If you do or have done any of the following, consider yourself a jerk. Or a Yankees fan... or a digital marketing expert.

Didn't give a tip - Your partners and team members deserve bonuses and to be paid on time. They are the waiters at the restaurant and you're the customer. If someone has waited on you hand and foot for any period of time, they deserve some compensation. Yes, how much compensation depends on the job they did, but they deserve something as long as they don't hurt you in some way. If anything, the basic tip for poor service is representative of who you are; a decent person who understands that even lousy service is still service after all. Assume that behind the service provider is someone with a family. Remember, only part of the reason why they are getting you mozzarella sticks is because they love you. The other part is because they need the money.

Taken valet parking at a shopping mall - Valet parking at airports and sporting events is all fine and dandy. But a shopping mall? Come on, office jerks. Unless that five-minute trek from your car to the Macy's involves a walk on fire I think you can manage, and probably benefit from, the incidental exercise. You're going to a shopping mall. Chances are you're not there on a strict schedule. Do you really need the VIP treatment for your loosely-structured suburban loitering?

Glared at a baby on a flight - Office jerks travel often. Chances are you're a jerk if you've glared at a young mom trying in vain to pacify her child on one of their first flights. You were a kid once... before you became an annual contender for Time Magazine's Jerk of the Year award. Unless your glares have the power to reduce air pressure they don't make the ride for kids any less turbulent. What do you care anyway? Don't you have a pair of noise-cancelling headphones? Drown out those cries listening to the Jerky Boys soundtrack... it's a great album that also happens to be named after you. This person probably also calls himself a thought leader on LinkedIn.

Keep down someone weaker than you - Some business jerks enjoy stepping on other people. They politically don't support their ideas, pass them over for promotions and deliberately forgo helping them achieve their personal goals even if beneficial to the company. All out of spite. That's the office-equivalent of hitting a kid. I think we can all agree that's grounds for yelling jerk-alert in the hallways.

Haven't helped anyone today - Everywhere you go in the office there are people you can help. If you turned a blind eye to a poor person (an intern asking for some advice), didn't thank someone helping you with something (took credit for a job you didn't do) or didn't make someone's day better (compliment anyone) then you're a jerk. Think about the resources you have, your own knowledge or the people you know. Helping other people and paying things forward helps you get ahead.

The good thing is that onset office jerkiness can be cured with a few basic things; humility, generosity and goodwill. Consult a recovering jerk or jerk-free person in your office (assuming there is one) if you match any of the symptoms described above and then setup a jerk intervention.

Let's help you see where your digital marketing stacks up to the jerks you compete with.