I caught a colleague doing something a bit unethical against me and called him on it. He was shocked and when he recovered he called me a bad name and stomped off. He must have thought that I would just let him continue taking advantage of me and that he was a clever enough chap to pull it off.
Wrong. He picked on the wrong stooge because the older I get the less I care about offending. A jerk can't be offended,is not rational and will not give up when giving up is the rational, decent thing to do. That's why they are called jerks...
I thought back over my many years and realized the years were filled with jerks. There was the guy that was upset when I caught him going through my mail. There was the female executive that bad mouthed me behind my back.
There was a release prisoner working on our shift that purposely kept us from getting production bonuses. I can think of dozens and dozens of jerks that have blessed my life with their irritating presence.
Young, old. Black, white. Smart, stupid. Male, female. It seems there are jerks of every shade...a sort of jerk diversity. Maybe there's a gene or some sort of complex involved because the disease is so widespread.
There's the guy who steals the waitresses tip and the woman who makes business promises she never intends to keep. And then a relative's friend that turns on him when he sees can take advantage...jerks make lousy friends and even lousier relatives.
There's the partner that rats out his partners when things don't go his way.
The woman that sleeps with her brother-in-law. The man that sleeps with is sister-in-law. The child that steals from her parents. The woman that destroys her ex-husband's business for revenge even though her kids suffer. The sensitive phony that secretly revels in others misery.
The leader that steals from his followers. The customer that asks many questions and never buys. The customer that asks many questions and then buys somewhere else if it's cheaper. The woman with a baby that cuts in line because she is in a hurry.
The 'good friend' that charges full retail plus when you patronize her business.
The young woman that feels the world owes her everything because she is pretty. The young man who is presumptuous because he is young. The fool that has it all and doesn't know it. The neurotic who spends most of his day trying to convince himself and others that he has always made the right decisions...every single time.
The progressive liberal that is as prejudiced as the reactionaries he hates. The mother that uses her children to get what she wants. The father that reluctantly spends time with his children. The father that avoids child support and thinks he is being thrifty.
The politician that cares more for himself than his constituents. The neighbor that is always bragging about their new junk. The homeowner that won't shut up about cabinets and tile grout.
The businessman that always inflates his sales in an attempt to impress. The liar that can concoct a good one no matter what the subject...hey, it's a skill that takes decades to develop!
The art expert that once took a junior college class on drawing. The blonde, blue-eyed Anglo that thinks anything else is less. The religious bigot that informs you that you will be going to hell because you don't believe what she does. The socialite that always looks away when speaking to you.
The antiques dealer that promotes a reproduction as an original. The webmaster that steals your articles and puts their name on it. The employee that tells her boss whatever the boss wants to hear. The boss that sees employees as costs.
The waitress that forgets to tell you today's special is out because she is on her cell with her boyfriend. The parents that see their children as lifestyle inhibitors. The assistant manager that lets you know just what a powerful authority figure he really is.
The advertising salesman that tells you how many people will hear your ad but not how many will buy your product.
And of course the list can go on and on but that would take years. Suffice it to say that jerks can be found where people are found.
And finally getting back to my jerk colleague. I saw him the other day at a meeting and he was clearly avoiding me. He must have felt like some kid that was caught and being punished. I'm curious to see how many months and years will go by before he speaks to me again. Maybe never. I won't mind.
I can't think of a single jerk whose company I miss...it's always a happy occasion when jerks say good-bye.
After knowing so many jerks from so many walks of life I finally came up with the big insight: being a jerk is its own reward.
The jerks don't know this yet but it sure makes me feel better...
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Jack D. Deal is the owner of Deal Business Consulting. Related articlesmay be found at www.jddeal.com and www.freeandinquiringmind.typepad.com
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