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I think you are doing a commendable service to mankind, really I mean it, in constantly reminding us how best not to let our short life go waste.

I was working with a bunch of real asshole bosses many years ago in a company which otherwise is known to be very respectful - Tata Engineering, now Tata Motors, in India. Thinking back of those time you know what you should have done.

I will suggest better to have a good deal of thinking before going into any confrontation, as we care about our pay.

- Think. Take a paper and do a SWOT analysis of your life in present. What alternatives you have. This all points to "escape if you can" dictum.
- If you are close with any of other colleagues, talk with them and know their opinion. Will the asshole harm you if confronted or leave you alone. You too must be knowing him or her to certain extent and will let you know it.
- Bid time. Meanwhile work hard in learning or training in things which can help you esape.
- Try to know what kind of replies or reactions will stop him/her from being an asshole, and remember to keep your self-respect. Sometimes it can be just a "yes sir". Sometimes it's a report with his name in bold.
- Try to know what he or she fears. Try to use it subtly to your advantage.
- sometimes laugh it off, preferably with a colleague who feel the same and on your side. This will help in the emotional detachment dictum.
- Always try to show off subtly that you are a dignified human with self-respect. Use body language - stand tall, use firm voice. Learn facets of your current work as deep knowledge. Use knowledge as power.

Bob Sutton


No doubt that everything can be taken too far -- but having documentation is a lot better than pointing at someone and saying "you are asshole," but not having any facts -- especially if lawyers and/or HR get in the picture. Yes, taken to it's logical extreme, such behavior is really paranoid and I have seen and heard about some pretty crazy people -- including an unnamed professor years ago that tape recorded every conversation she had with getting permission from others -- which is against the law in many states.

Thanks for the comment, it is always important to have someone who is sane remind us when these things go too far.

Marty Andrews

Hi Bob,

I've seen you mention keeping an asshole diary before, but for some reason this time I was reminded of the scene in "Rain Man" where Raymond documents that "Charlie Babbitt squeezed and pulled and hurt my neck in 1988".


Marty Andrews

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