How to notice when you are dealing with “a-holes”?

If we notice beforehand, or have a hunch that in a new workplace or in a new position there is a danger of working together with an a-hole, there are some ways how we can help ourselves.


With the following techniques you can make sure whether this is the case or not. And if yes, you can make the decision whether you will go ahead with it or not.

  • Google the person – you can never know what useful information the internet will show you.
  • The trustworthy gossip is golden – ask people who worked there previously or who are still working there, what have they heard about the boss or colleague. the inside opinions can be very valuable.
  • Past victims, enemies – do you know anyone who has already been a victim to this person? Or who is this person’s enemy? It is worth listening to their opinion as well.
  • exposure to other a-holes – has this person already worked together with infamous a-holes or maybe (s)he is still working with them? How does it affect him/her?
  • Negative first impression – no comments, it is what it is.
  • Negative second impression – if you didn’t listen to the first one, maybe it is time to listen to this one already.
  • Compliments about the person which are more like curses – if others do not open up about their opinion regarding another person, that can also be a sign. A.k.a. blurring.
  • There is only broadcast but no reception? – does this person let you speak at all? Or they only push their own things? What is the question-affirmation ratio?
  • Shall I only first put my toes only into the water? – if you have the opportunity, start with a probation period at your new workplace or only for a project. With this you give yourself the chance to quit if your intuition turns out to be valid.

Source: Robert I. Sutton – The Asshole Survivor Guide

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