About Me

Ithaca, New York
MWF, now officially 42, loves long walks on the beach and laughing with friends ... oh, wait. By day, I'm a mid-level university administrator reluctant to be more specific on a public forum. Nights and weekends, though, I'm a homebody with strong nerdist leanings. I'm never happier than when I'm chatting around the fire, playing board games, cooking up some pasta, and/or road-tripping with my family and friends. I studied psychology and then labor economics in school, and I work in higher education. From time to time I get smug, obsessive, or just plain boring about some combination of these topics, especially when inequality, parenting, or consumer culture are involved. You have been warned.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

#18: The No Asshole Rule

The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't, by Robert I. Sutton (New York: Warner Business Books, 2007).

Coming soon

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: What Workplace Assholes Do and Why You Know So Many
  • Chapter 2: The Damage Done: Why Every Workplace Needs the Rule
  • Chapter 3: How to Implement the Rule, Enforce It, and Keep It Alive
  • Chapter 4: How to Stop Your "Inner Jerk" from Getting Out
  • Chapter 5: When Assholes Reign: Tips for Surviving Nasty People and Workplaces
  • Chapter 6: The Virtues of Assholes
  • Chapter 7: The No Asshole Rule as a Way of Life
  • Epilogue
My Take:
Books like this are why I love the library. The cover caught my eye, the content had a few interesting points to ponder ... but there wasn't THAT much substance there even for a first read, and certainly not enough that I'll want to refer to it again, recommend it, store it, or dust it.

The author's argument? Jerks (I try to keep my own writing PG, though direct quotes that get a bit saltier are OK) at work are bad news. You know the type; the guy or gal who you always walk away from feeling belittled and humiliated, and who seems to take special delight in heaping abuse on those lower down on the food chain. Well, they're bad for workplace morale, bad for productivity, bad for employees' health, bad for client relations, and even a danger to themselves. If you can, don't hire them; if they sneak in anyway, make 'em shape up or ship out; if you're stuck working with a bumper crop, detach as best as you can till you can polish off the old resume and find a new job. Obviously, beating them by joining them should be out of the question.

Probably the most interesting piece of this thesis is Sutton's assertion that, in his words, "assholes breed like rabbits." If nasty, vile behavior is tolerated, even rewarded, well ... people who don't act like that will leave or be corrupted; people who do and are in positions of power will hire others just like themselves, and, well, you get the idea. I've been in a sufficient variety of workplaces to know that our behavior is very much shaped by our environment, so this piece resonated with my own experience. (Vague, yes, but this is nominally a public forum.)

Th-th-th-th-that's all, f-f-f-f-folks.

No comments:

Post a Comment