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7 Signs a Colleague Is a Jerk

If you identify the jerks quickly, you won't waste your time trying to work with them.
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In today's hectic business world, you must decide quickly whether you want to hire, sell to, or buy from somebody. Unless you enjoy being miserable, it's useful to spot the jerks quickly, before you commit. Here are the seven "red flag" behaviors:

1. Badmouthing

Only a jerk--and an insecure jerk, at that--would attempt to make himself (or herself) look better by disparaging others.

2. Littering

Anybody who throws something on the ground and expects somebody else to bend down and pick it up is automatically a jerk.

3. Rudeness

Curtness to underlings and anyone else who "doesn't matter" is always a sign of deep-seated jerkitude.

4. Undertipping

In the U.S., waiters and waitresses make $2.13 an hour. Any customer who doesn't tip at least 15 percent (regardless of service) lacks either a heart or a brain. Either way... jerk!

5. Ostentation

Jerks think showy watches, fancy cars, and expensive office furniture set them above the hoi-polloi.  In fact, pricey accoutrements simply scream "jerk!"

6. Profanity

The occasional expletive is forgivable but repeated use of the F-bomb reveals anger at the world and fundamental disrespect to everyone listening.

7. Aggressive driving

People who risk other people's lives simply to shave a few seconds off their own schedule are inconsiderate jerks.  And dangerous ones, at that.

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IMAGE: Getty Images
Last updated: Feb 25, 2014

GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist

Geoffrey James was recently named a "Top 40 Social Selling Marketing Master" by Forbes, and his blog has won awards from the Society of American Business Editors and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. His writing has appeared in publications as diverse as Wired, Brandweek, and Men's Health, and he is the author of numerous books, including The Tao of Programming, Business Wisdom of the Electronic Elite, and, most recently, Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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