The Asshole Survival Guide | Robert I. Sutton

Summary of: The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt
By: Robert I. Sutton


In this summary of ‘The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt’ by Robert I. Sutton, we explore the different types of assholes we may encounter in our lives, particularly in the workplace, and discuss effective strategies to deal with them. From temporary to permanent assholes, and from those who demean and oppress to those who simply annoy, the book provides practical advice on how to navigate these difficult relationships. By understanding how someone makes you feel and discerning between temporary and continuous cases, you can better manage your responses and minimize their impact on your life.

Dealing with Assholes at Work

Learn how to identify and handle workplace assholes with these practical tips.

If you’ve spent some time in the working world, you’ve undoubtedly encountered an asshole or two. But what exactly makes someone an asshole in the workplace? The answer isn’t as simple as you might think.

In a recent study, the author asked people to share their experiences with workplace jerks, and the results were, well, pretty repellent. From bosses who play favorites to coworkers who constantly interrupt, it’s clear that assholes come in many different forms.

But not all assholes are created equal, and it’s important to learn how to separate the annoying ones from the truly toxic. The first step is to pay attention to how you feel after an encounter. If you feel hurt, discouraged, or oppressed, it’s a sign that someone may be behaving like an asshole.

To gain some control over the situation, it’s important to understand your own reactions and thought patterns. By anticipating certain responses and considering how your past experiences might be influencing your feelings, you can prepare yourself to handle the situation in a more effective way.

Of course, not all assholes are temporary. Some people seem to make a career out of being unpleasant, and there’s no excuse for that. But even in those cases, it’s possible to find ways to minimize the impact that a toxic coworker or boss can have on your life.

By following these practical tips, you’ll be well on your way to handling workplace assholes with grace and confidence. So don’t let jerks ruin your day – take control and start dealing with them like a pro.

The Danger of Asshole Blindness

Sometimes, people get so accustomed to being treated poorly by toxic bosses that they no longer recognize the abusive behavior. This is known as “asshole blindness,” and it can lead to gross misconduct being seen as acceptable. The sunk cost fallacy contributes to this acceptance, as individuals feel they have already invested too much in their emotional well-being to leave a job. Companies like Google and Salesforce recognize these issues and offer internal relocations to keep employees away from toxic bosses. It’s time to break free from asshole blindness and take control of your career.

Avoiding the Asshole Bug

Asshole behavior is contagious and can negatively impact those who are exposed to it. Studies show that negative behavior can spread like a common cold, making it crucial to limit exposure. MIT professor Tom Allen found that coworkers who sat in close proximity spent more time communicating, presenting even greater dangers now with social media and email. To avoid catching the bug, distance yourself from those who show symptoms and keep a safe distance. Steve Job’s former employee managed to cope with his behavior by keeping his distance and avoiding elevator rides with him.

Reframing Assholes

The excerpt highlights the use of psychological techniques, such as reframing and reappraisal, to turn negative and threatening situations into enjoyable challenges. It presents the story of how former US military cadet, Becky Margiotta, reframed the ritualistic hazing she faced as imaginative and funny. The passage also shares how reframing and reappraisal have been proven to be effective in improving test scores and reducing emotional distress. The author suggests that instead of blaming oneself for an asshole’s behavior, one should imagine plausible reasons for their actions and reframe the situation in a positive light.

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