Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 


It's hard to feel sorry for U.S. senators.

What am I saying? It's impossible.

Their uncontrollable smugness, married to their utter lack of productivity, makes them undeserving of even a child's sympathy.

If we're going to talk smugness, however, there is one who outsmugs them all: Ted Cruz.

I understand he's been missed about as much as having your navel removed with nail clippers while he's been out on the campaign trail.

He will, though, be returning. He's given up the chase to become The Most Intelligent President America Has Ever Seen.

So now senators will have to deal again with a man who might make Dr. Seuss buy a gun and use it.

Everyone has to deal with someone they can't stand at work. So here are a few tips that might ease your (and senators') path.

1. Be Excessively Nice To Them.

This is a tactic that's been honed to perfection in the Bay Area. You'll need to add a slight whininess to your voice as you say: "Hiiiii!" You'll need to have a whole vocabulary of fake niceties: "Hey, great tie! Where did you get that?!" But nothing confuses the loathed more than people being nice to them. Somewhere in their hearts, they know they're not the most popular. They don't mind it, because they like themselves so very much. But niceness simply makes it slightly harder for them to behave in a loathsome way. Slightly.

2. Explain To Them Why You Can't Stand Them.

This is a little trickier because it requires honesty, rather than acting. So senators might find this falls on the spectrum between confusing and impossible. However, clearing the air (at least for you) might release you from any guilt associated with shunning the hated party in the future, should they not change their behavior. There is a 1 percent chance that the hated party has no clue that no one can stand them. I'm not sure that applies to Ted Cruz.

3. Try And Focus On Their Good Points.

You might not be able to stand them, but they could be, say, very efficient. They could be an excellent salesperson. They could be very good at handling a certain type of meeting, event or client. Again, this might not apply specifically to Ted Cruz. But senators must try and find a way to use his obvious intelligence and naked ambition for good. Perhaps they could use him to coach them in speechmaking skills. After all, he won a lot of debating competitions as a lad. Go on, senators, give it a try.

4. Avoid Them Completely.

This doesn't seem terribly positive, does it? But if all your positive thoughts fail, perhaps it's best just to do what you've always done with family members you can't bear: Become stunningly unavailable to them. Make sure you're put on projects that the hated party can't touch. If you have to communicate with them, do it by email or Slack. And if you see them in the corridor, speed up your walk and offer them your best fake smile as you go by.

5. Avoid Those Situations Where They Annoy You Most.

No one is loathsome all the time. They're just not. Somewhere within them, there's that tinge of humanity that first appealed to their spouses and makes their children refrain from throwing shoes at them. Find that and stick to it. Let's face it, you have your own triggers too. You aren't so perfect. Are you, senators? So think about those situations when they're most likely to annoy you and avoid just those. Yes, even if means never going to a Senate cocktail party or church service again, senators.

6. Befriend Them.

This one's tricky, but the rewards are enormous. At first, your co-workers will look at you as if you've attracted a virulent green scurvy. Sometimes, though, the hated party is extremely misunderstood and even loathes their own habits and mannerisms. Befriending them -- and then whispering to them where they might improve their social interactions -- might be a vast benefit for not only you, but them. Of course, this might only work with some people. Who knows, Ted Cruz might be great fun once he's had a few Rieslings. He might be. I suspect few have ever tried to find out.