Sucking the Joy Out of Life

Nothing drains the mind faster than working with a contentious person who, if only they could clone themselves would single-handedly solve all the problems with ________.  You fill in the blank.  In many cases they are bitter critics of everyone’s work except their own.  They live a double standard imagining themselves superior to all others.  The more success they have whether by chance or skill they assume to be signs of their inherent superiority.  People frequently compliment their criticism with statements like, “Thanks, you’re keeping everyone honest here” in hope of appeasing them as if being likeable will bring fewer stinging arrows — the opposite occurs, it only brings more of the same because you have rewarded their obnoxious behaviour by attempting to appease them, which, as experience has taught me, is impossible.  My approach when dealing with people like this is to never compliment them, make sure my own work is tight and detailed oriented and ruthlessly attack their errors and acknowledge quality of their work only when it is accomplished without them trashing everyone else’s efforts.

In my experience they love sweeping generalizations and emotionally charged accusations.  “No one is”, “you always”, “you never,” etc.  or speak of themselves in heroic terms even when belittling others “I had to”, “No one else will step up”, “If no one will say it” etc.  Executives frequently love employees like this because they can use them as a bomb thrower then play the saintly moderator.   When your work has been a particular target of their animus you may find yourself saying “I guess I could have done better.”  That is always true, everytime  because there is no perfection to be found this side of death. And depending on where your level of neurosis it can be life destroying.  People who by their nature are pleasers and appeasers are eaten alive by this type.   If they are a woman they are frequently single, or married to a weak man, and if they are a man they are bully at work and at home.  In both cases they suck the joy out of life.  They can turn “I love what I do” into a elevator free fall into hell.  If you have to work with people like this find another job or learn to enjoy ruthless Machiavellian attacks.

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