Got Jerks? 3 Ways to Cope

“In less enlightened times, the best way to impress women was to own a hot car. But women wised up and realized it was better to buy their own hot cars so they wouldn’t have to ride around with jerks.”
Scott Adams, cartoonist

 not everyone knows how to deal with difficult peopleJerks. They’re the ones who seem to go out of their way to make your life miserable. And chances are you’ve got a few of them in your workplace and in your family.

To make matters worse, “Not all jerks are created equal.” As Ron Zemke, the senior editor of “Training” magazine put it, “There are jerks, and there are JERKS.”

That’s true enough, but how do you deal with the jerks in your world?. You have at least three choices when it comes to handling jerks. Live, Lobby, or Leave.


1. Live

You could learn to live with the jerks. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, you might take comfort in the knowledge that there could be some value in having a jerk around once in a while.

Michael Lombardo and Morgan McCall, researchers at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina, have found that the most successful executives worked for jerks at some time in their careers. And while a few escaped through the transfer or resignation of the jerk boss, the majority of them toughed it out — and profited from the experience in the long run.

The successful execs who had worked for jerks adopted the attitudes of “This, too, shall pass” or “I work for the company, not for this jerk.” Then they redoubled their efforts. Their perseverance paid off.

(I address this critical topic of attitude in greater detail in my new book coming out in early December, entitled “The Payoff Principle: Discover the 3 Secrets For Getting What You Want Out Of Life And Work.” Click here for a sneak preview and a free download about deflecting negativity.)

Others in the organization came to respect and admire them for answering the question, “How can you stand working for that jerk?” with a shrug and a simple, “Aw, he isn’t anything I can’t handle.”

So your first choice in coping with jerks is simply deciding to live with them. After all, as Mardy Grothe, coauthor of “Problem Bosses: Who They Are and How to Deal with Them,” points out, some jerk bosses don’t know any better. “Most bosses never got any training. Others were promoted to being boss because of their technical talent or expertise.” In either case, those bosses never intended to be jerks; they just didn’t know how NOT to be.

2. Lobby

Your second choice is to lobby the jerks. Try to change them in some way.

If the other person is a mild jerk, you could tell him that you’re uncomfortable with the way he is treating you. For example, if the jerk criticizes you and you know that he has a valid point, don’t dispute the criticism. Instead, tell him how you feel when he talks to you in a certain way, in front of others or about specific issues. Let your mildly jerky boss know that he has every right to find fault with your work, but he doesn’t have to yell at you or use sarcastic remarks to make his point.

If the other person is a real JERK and levels unfounded attacks, ask for specific details. If, for example, a coworker insists you don’t work as hard as she does and you know you work as hard if not harder than she does, ask her why she thinks that way. You may learn that she resents your personal phone calls and has no idea that you stay after work to make up for the time you spent on those calls.

You could also ask the jerk to help you improve. If your boss criticizes your performance unnecessarily, you might respond by saying something like this: “I feel I’m working as well as I can, but I value your opinion. Could we go over what I’m doing that’s right and wrong?” By acknowledging that he’s the boss, you boost his self-esteem and may discourage any pointless insults in the future.

Truth be told, there are several more strategies that will help you to deal with jerks more easily and more effectively. You can pick those up at my webinar on November 13th at 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. To register, go to

Of course, you may feel like you couldn’t possibly learn to LIVE with the jerk, and you may feel your efforts to LOBBY the jerk to change would be useless. Then you’ve got one more choice. You could…

3. Leave

You could “leave” some distance between the two of you. Let other people know that you don’t necessarily agree with all your jerky boss’s or coworker’s ideas and behaviors. Leave some space so other people in your organization don’t mistakenly think the two of you are alike.

That doesn’t mean you should run off to lunch with an acquaintance from another department and start spilling your guts about “what that jerk did this time.” As Zemke notes, “Your boss may be pond scum, but it’s still stupid to run around speaking ill of him/her.”

You could also “leave” by banding together with your fellow sufferers and go over your jerky boss’s head to his boss. I do not recommend this approach, but a calm, rational, and well-documented presentation to the big boss might have the desired effect — if the desired effect is to get the jerk boss transferred or fired.

However, this is a dangerous move. If it backfires, you can say goodbye to your job. And if it works, breaking the chain of command could make you an “undesirable” in the organization. Only a very secure manager will take you on as a subordinate after you’ve led a revolt.

Your other choice is to leave “leave.” Jump ship. Get out. Quit your job. Find another job. As one employee-assistance director says, “If it appears that getting away from a raging maniac of a boss is the only way to keep your own sanity, by all means do it. And do it sooner than later. Putting up with behavior you know to be irrational over a long period of time will utterly destroy your self-respect and confidence.”

If you’re working or living with jerks, don’t ever tell yourself “there’s nothing I can do about it.” Yes there is. You can live, lobby, or leave. And the right choice will make a huge difference in your overall happiness and success.



How will you lobby to change someone’s behavior?

Dealing with Difficult People

Dealing with Difficult People

Dealing with Difficult People

How to Spot Them and Stop Them

LIVE Webinar

Thursday, November 13th, 2014
2PM-3PM Eastern Time


If you’re like most people, you’ve got at least one difficult person in your life or at your job. Perhaps several. They could be called coworkers, vendors, customers, partners, spouses, children, in-laws, or whatever. The problem is … those difficult people are making your life a lot less pleasant and your job a great deal more challenging.

If you’re like most people, you’ve tried several different ways to deal with those difficult people. You’ve tried to stay away from them; you’ve tried to be nice, and you’ve tried to confront them. But nothing you’ve tried has worked all that well.

To make things worse, those difficult people take way too much of your time and energy. In fact, you may waste a great deal of your time and energy thinking about them and wondering how you’re going to deal with them. You even find them getting in the way of living your life or doing your job as well as you would like.


The good news is … you can take charge of yourself, the situation … and to a large extent … the difficult people in your world. You can learn strategies that will embolden and empower you. And you can take actions that will put sanity and productivity into those difficult relationships … when you attend …

Dr. Alan Zimmerman’s LIVE webinar on “Dealing with Difficult People: How to Spot Them and Stop Them.” The date is Thursday, November 13th, 2014, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

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In this powerful, incredible, one-hour program, you will learn strategies that will help you get the outcomes you want when you’re working with, living with, or simply being around those difficult people.

To be specific, you will learn…

  • 5 characteristics of all difficult people … so you can spot them … on the spot,
  • 8 strategies for taking care of yourself when someone is irritating you, hurting you, or driving you crazy,
  • To recognize the different types of difficult people and how they can destroy your career, your relationship, and your mental health, and
  • How to apply simple, practical, and effective communication strategies to stop Critics, Control Freaks, Martyrs, Exploders, Silent Types, Complainers, Know-It-Alls, and Tanks.

It’s time to take charge of your life, your relationships, and your career. It’s time to stop those difficult people from getting in your way, and it’s time to create a more positive, productive working and living environment.

And that’s exactly what you will learn at Dr. Zimmerman’s webinar on “Dealing with Difficult People: How to Spot Them and Stop Them.” Remember the date is Thursday, November 13th, 2014, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time (1 p.m. Central, 12:00 noon Mountain, 11:00 a.m. Pacific).


Easy! Just click the button below to reserve your place in this webinar. As soon as you register, we will send you a link to a web site, a telephone number, and an access code. You can see the webinar Power Point slides on your computer, and you can listen in by using your computer speakers or your own telephone.

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If you don’t have access to a computer during the time of the webinar, no problem. You can still listen in by telephone, so you won’t miss anything. So go ahead and register … now … because I believe this webinar will sell out quickly.

Of course, you’re wondering how much this is going to cost you. Well, I’ve got some really good news for you.


We know that you very much need to know and apply the strategies taught in this webinar, so we’re offering it … and a whole bunch of supporting materials … at a bargain basement price.


First, instead of our usual $77 registration fee, you can register for this webinar for only $57. Right off the bat you save $20.00.

Second, we’ll email you a multi-page handout that covers every point that Dr. Zimmerman makes in this webinar. Not only will you be able to follow along, but you will also have an invaluable resource to use after the webinar. We typically charge $11.97 for this handout, but you’re going to get it FREE this time. Thus, you save another $11.97.

Third, you will receive an audio MP3 recording of the webinar after it is finished … so you can review the content over and over again at your leisure. Typically, we charge another $58.97 for the recording. Just take a look at my shopping cart and you’ll see that is the case. But this time you’re going to get it FREE. You save another $58.97.

Fourth, you will receive a copy of Dr. Zimmerman’s book on “The Service Payoff” that includes an entire 30-page chapter on dealing with difficult people. You will learn such things as the words that tick people off, the behaviors you’ve got to avoid, a process for resolving problems with difficult people, and how can always give a positive response. It’s great material, and the book sells for $19.95, but you’re going to get it FREE. You save another $19.95.

It’s an amazingly good deal. You register for a mere $57 and you receive $90.89 worth of extra supporting materials to make sure you really “get” the content being taught in this webinar.

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With the low registration and with all the extra materials, you have nothing to lose except some of the stress you’re having with difficult people. So register now.


People always ask if there is a discounted rate for a group of people. Yes there is. If you register 10 or more people, the registration fee drops to $47 per person. And each person will receive the entire package of materials.

Lastly, some of you will want an MP4 recording of the webinar. In other words, instead of simply having the MP3 audio recording … which your are receiving free of charge … you may want the entire webinar, sound, slides, the whole works to play on your computer for future use. You may want to share the program with your team or your family or whomever. Click here to get it all for only $199.97.

There’s only one thing left for you to do … and that is sign up before all the places are taken. Remember:

Time: Thursday, November 13, 2014 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time (1 p.m. Central, 12:00 noon Mountain, 11:00 a.m. Pacific)

Presenter: Dr. Alan Zimmerman

Features: Live offering of this webinar, not a replay of a previous event

Extras: Lowest cost ever and several free gifts

We’re looking forward to having you join Dr. Zimmerman on Thursday, November 13th for what will be a great investment on your part.


Q – Can I register multiple people at the same time?

A – Yes. Simply enter the number of people you want to register, then email Aaron the list of names and email addresses.

Q – What if I’m unable to connect to the webinar?

A- No Problem.  We will provide a phone number so that you can dial in and follow along.

Q – Can I test my connection before the webinar?

A – Yes.  Click here to find out if your computer will connect to GoToWebinar.

Q.  Can I connect through my mobile device?

A. Yes!  GoToMeeting has an app in each app store, iPhone, iPad and Android.  However, we do recommend being connected through Wi-Fi.

Q. Can I get a Continuing Education credits for taking this course?

A. It depends.  We  can provide you all of the information you need to submit to your association/organization.  Approval is up to the individual association or organization.

Have more questions?  Call 800-621-7881 or email Aaron in our office.  We’ll answer your question immediately and we’ll post the questions and answers as they come in.

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