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Just seeing the green community in action makes me confident of the future! Think of how far green building products have come and how far they will go in the future!


Yet again your blog came up, I think the last time I did a google search on how to deal with bullies, now I have reclassified them into assholes. The best technique for me is avoidance and detachment when around them, in particular this one guy. However, besides getting a different job, the store manager is an asshole so the bulllies/assholes(one particular guy) who manage up to the store manager, are enabled in their bullying, and the store manager marginalizes any complaints against them. I just know I won't be in this job forever and I am a better person and I am not going to stoop to their level but it is draining and not very much fun to spend 8 hours there. They just don't teach you these things in business school!!! It is sad to say but I pretend that I am a mannequin and that my brain is empty so I won't get aggravated by the baloney that goes on.

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I found your post really interesting and it has really improved my knowledge on the matter. You’ve assisted my understanding on what is usually a hard to tackle subject. Thank you!

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I have to comment on your last post as it was so informative. You really know what you are talking about and can explain things really well. I have only read posts by one other guy who writes as well as you do.

John C. Welch

The only problem I have with flashing fingers is that doing something like that makes you every bit the asshole you are telling the other person they're being.

One rule I learned in the military, and it's one that I will bend over backwards to avoid breaking (in the workplace) is "criticize in private, praise in public'. Someone sitting there flashing fingers at you is engaging in public humiliation. Regardless of the reason or justification, that's all it is. At that point, why stop with the fingers? Shush them and tell them to "simma down" too. You've already destroyed their pride, may as well finish the job.

Quite frankly, even if I was, for whatever reason, being an asshole, someone pointing and holding up three fingers in a meeting would get a rather sudden response of "Well thank you Marge. I quit, effective now. If you need me, well, it doesn't really matter. I'm going to go clean out my desk, have my final paycheck waiting."

There's no excuse, even when the person's an asshole for institutionalizing that kind of thing.

Frank Hileman

Great blog entry, I loved it!

One interesting thought: if one is an asshole to customers, business will die quickly. Why is it people cannot give their subordiantes the same respect as their customers? Simply because they don't have to in some situations... it is an imbalance of power that can only be corrected with mass defection of subordinates.


Hi Bob,

I'm going to buy your book this weekend. It sounds absolutely wonderful and look forward to the read. This blogspot reminded me of a situation that occurred for me very recently.

I really like the Marge's Asshole Management Metric. According to observations #4, "If you work in a place that is knee-deep in assholes, and you don’t want to turn into one or feel forced to act like one every day, the best thing you can do for yourself is to get out. "

The management team at my work, my department, would actually stand up and yell at each other across the tables and room, then think it's ok, even professional. In fact, when I complained, the new VP said that I should just get used to it because that's how they get 'creative' and figure things out. Creative? We were looking at where to post some info on the intranet. It’s not rocket science and it ain’t something I could ever be so passionate about that I would stand across the room from someone yelling. Oh – yeah, what’s more, they gave us a template. I’m a graphic & instructional designer, I know how to be creative – and it isn’t by yelling at each other.

#3's can be rampant. I'm around the 1-2 range, more 1 than 2; however, when surrounded by 3's, as in this company, there's just a complete lack of respect for others that’s prevalent. What’s more, as in my case, if the VP actually encourages others to be 3's and thinks that everyone should be like that... yep - time to go, as fast as is humanly possible. I did exactly that – start work in 10 days at my new job. I’ve never been so relieved to be out of a place.

Thanks for the article, look forward to reading the book.

Bob Sutton

Dear Anonymous,

Your point is on target and in fact I too have some experience with this kind. They often have great political skill and emotional control, timing their abuse for moments when they can't get caught. I talk about some of the ways to surivive such people in one of the chapters, but the best way is to find a way to get out if you can.


Please allow me to remain anonymous, as I would fear for my job if my name or my blog details were disclosed.

I have been reading your blog for a while and really appreciate it. Your No Asshole Rule sounds great. I have not yet read your book but I shall soon.

The only problem I see with the no asshole rule is when you are dealing with a psychopath boss, who manages to very often make you come accross to the rest of you deparment/unit as an asshole, whilst you are only trying to defend yourself against someone who is really an asshole, but a covert one, who is using deception, manipulation and outright lies to attempt to destroy you.

On the psychopath boss, see: Oliver James, "Is your boss a psychopath?", The Guardian, 18 April 2005.,,1462339,00.html

Jeff the Poustman

Great system. Intriguing use for signalling a need to both increase and deacrease assholery.

ann michael

It's also nice to see that Marge was able to adapt. Unfortunately, I've seen some good people ruined by being in companies with a high nastiness factor for too long (especially if they got there when they were very young).


The old Army was full of assholes, the new Army not so much.


Excellent piece of writing!

I am taught to never be an asshole. Thank you for bringing be back to earth.

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