The art of not giving a sh*t

01 February 2012 By Reporter

We have all worked with someone we hate. In fact, many of us are probably hiding in our offices right now, avoiding that very person as they lurk around the office.

We have all worked with someone we hate. In fact, many of us are probably hiding in our offices right now, avoiding that very person as they lurk around the office.

So, how do you deal with it?

The good folks at the Harvard Business Review (HBR) have rounded up some experts and provided all the answers, apparently.


We thought we’d share the highlights of the insightful article, conspicuously titled How to Work with Someone You Hate.

Tip 1: Manage your reaction

“Your response to your dreaded co-worker may range from slight discomfort to outright hostility,” reads the article. Daniel Goleman, the co-director of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations at Rutgers University, says the first step is to “manage it”. Apparently, that means wiping that look of blatant disdain from your face and focusing on your own behavior, “because you can control it”.


Tip 2: Keep your distaste to yourself

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“While working through your displeasure, avoid the temptation to gripe with other coworkers. Don't corner someone by the water cooler and say, ‘There’s something about Jessica I don’t like, don’t you agree?’” reads the article.

But alas, in Folklaw’s humble opinion, if we didn’t talk about how we don’t like Jessica at the water cooler, what else would we talk about? Why else do experts think water coolers were even invented? Certainly not to discuss the latest episode of the much-hyped but moderately disappointing Homeland.

But HBR may just have some wisdom behind their advice (even if it is a little boring). “Complaining about someone in your office can reflect negatively on you,” reads the article. “You may garner a reputation as unprofessional or be labeled as the difficult one. If you find you have to vent, choose your support network carefully. Ideally, choose people outside the office.”

Tip 3: Spend more time with them

Oh, now this one’s a doozy! “One of the best ways to get to like someone you don't like is to work on a project that requires coordination,” says Robert Sutton, a professor of management science and engineering at Stanford University. “You might feel compassion instead of irritation.”

Hmm, Folklaw is not so sure about this one. “You may discover there are reasons for his actions: stress at home, pressure from his boss, or maybe he's tried to do what you're asking for and failed. Spending more time with your foe will also grant you the opportunity to have more positive experiences.”

Yes, HBR, you are right. Or you could confirm your suspicions that this person is quite simply a douche bag, thus prolonging and intensifying the pain, and causing you to hate your job even more.

I guess this one’s a gamble.

Tip 4: Adopt a ‘don't-care’ attitude

Folklaw likes this one, and can easily envisage many a miserable hater trying to pretend they just don’t care. “In situations where you are truly stuck and can't provide feedback,” reads the article, “Sutton recommends you ‘practice the fine art of emotional detachment or not giving a shit’.”

The art of not giving a sh*t
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