Jerks are people who decided, early in life, that they were going to be jerks. It was their way of trying to come out on top. It didn’t matter whose face they had to stand on, on the way up.
With jerks, it is always “me” against “them.” Every interaction is a battle. If they want something, they try to figure out how to get it by manipulating, lying, and cheating.
I long ago decided that I would not take on jerk clients. It’s a waste of time to help them anyway. There is no way they are going to do things that actually benefit customers and employees. Even if they pay lip service to goodness, sooner or later their true nature will come out, and everyone will know what a jerk they are. Policies created by jerks always benefit the jerk at the expense of someone else.
It’s pretty difficult to live a jerk-free life, but I certainly do try. On those rare occasions in our personal life when I am forced to deal with a jerk, I am reminded why I work so hard to avoid jerks in my business life.
Nothing is their fault. Everything is your fault, even when it is impossible – even ridiculous – that it could be your fault. They are combative and demanding. They do more damage than good, and when you call them at it, they just make more excuses or vehemently shift the blame.
I’m glad to see that social media is making it tougher for jerks to hide behind a flashy façade. But at the same time, the jerks have gotten better at lying and making their side of the story sound plausible.
If you suspect that someone might be a jerk, you are probably right. Back away early and often. You won’t regret it.
I recently turned down a potential new client who gave me jerk vibes. While the salesperson inside me is always reluctant to turn down a new client, I felt relieved after I did it. I knew I had escaped the endless agony of dealing with a jerk. And I would also have more time to devote to all the good people who need my help.