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It would be very hard for me to "check out" and not be able to complete an important project. It's not because I think I owe it to my boss or my company, but more of a personal achievement.

However, I have dreamed of the day that I hit the lottery and tell my boss to f-off. A little verbal abuse would be fine with me, as long as I know I wouldn't need them in the future for a reference.


Can't escape from an asshole? Then try for relief.

Account Deleted

I think part of the deal with working is I agree that as long as I take their money I'll work for them.

To ditch an assignment and then quit when it's due and I've done nothing is me being dishonest. I wouldn't do that.

When it's time to quit just do it. Don't do it like that. That's dishonest. Sure, the bad-guy boss might 'deserve' it but that's not something I could do. I'd lose respect for myself if I did that.

I think the closest I've come was putting all my work keys on their own keyring and when the evil boss asked why I had two key rings I answered, "So next time you treat me like you own me I can throw them at you without having to ask for my car keys back." He didn't think it was as funny as I did. He wound up losing his job eventually and the new boss was much better.



the reason to not leave a mess behind, like the other two gentleman have said, is to avoid becoming the very thing you are ostensibly rejecting as unacceptable. To say that "he derved it" is a very weak argument for poor behavior.

To have principles, a moral compass that does not change according to circumstances is essential to have a sense of self that will serve one well in life, particularly in dealing with assholes.

I do enjoy reading your blog but it seems to have become mostly about assholes (and your book) lately. How about more on design, management, collaboration and achieving things?


Bob Sutton

Fred and Frank,

I hear your perspective about not leaving a mess behind. But there is also an argument that if people and workplace really do treat you like dirt, why do you owe them anything? Note that there is plenty of evidence that treating people badly drives them out, makes them sick, and so on. I understand why honorable and civil people deserve not to be left in the lurch, but am not quite sure why assholes deserve the same courtesy. If the only answer is "to protect your own reputation," I guess I understand that is how life is; but the prospect of owing anything to demeaning person or place makes wonder.

I do love Fred's solution: Come back as a consultant (and charge them a fortune I would add... aka "asshole taxes.")

Thanks for the comments.

Frank Booth

> Then, if you get into a
> disagreeable situation with your
> boss or company, just walk out.
> And better yet, if you can time
> it, wait until you've been tasked
> to put together some sensitive
>information for a big project or
>presentation, then walk out the
>morning it's due, after having done
> practically nothing.

Wow. Talk about becoming what you most hate. That kind of ill-conceived move transcends Asshole, and lands you squarely in the realm of Giant Douchebag.

Moves like that will always come back to bite you in the end.



There is a saying from sailing ship days: One hand for the ship, one hand for yourself.

I can't endorse leaving a company with sabotaged projects. That can get you a reputation as an asshole very quickly.

The best reason for leaving projects in good order is that this is the ethical and professional thing to do. You are not the asshole; that designation should belong solely to the people you are leaving.

The second best reason for leaving things in good order is that you might be back (!!). I worked as a contractor to finish projects my asshole boss couldn't handle after I left. It's much easier to pick up again if the work and relations with the customer were left in good order.

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