The costs of working with jerks

A few months ago, popular author and blogger Seth Godin mentioned eBossWatch in an excellent post titled “Be careful of who you work for,” where he discussed the importance of evaluating the workplace environment of prospective employers, referring to the decision of where to work as one of the most important that we will make in our lifetimes.  As Seth reminds us, “Work for a bully and be prepared to be bullied.”

Many studies have documented the fact that toxic workplaces are hazardous to peoples’ physical health and emotional well being.  A 2007 Zogby survey on the effects of workplace bullying found that 45% of targeted individuals suffer stress-related health problems, including cardiovascular problems, anxiety, and depression.

Last week, Seth followed up with an additional post about the corrosive effects that jerks can have on the work environment and on the organization’s ability to function properly.  I agree with Seth that the proper course of action for companies is to fire any bullies, whether or not they may seem irreplaceable, as soon as their abusive behavior becomes apparent.  Unfortunately, many companies end up waiting until the work environment becomes seriously damaged and the company’s operations become negatively impacted before dismissing the workplace jerk.

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