If you follow my blog, you probably know that I didn’t grow up in a neighborhood with two car garages and well-manicured lawns. My upbringing included a cast of rough characters and sometimes uncomfortable and scary situations that would cause you soil yourself if you had to read them, so I’ll spare us both by not writing them. This sort of upbringing provided me with lots of things like resilience, a ferocious sense of justice, loyalty and the ability to fend for myself as if I have super powers. In all sincerity, I am grateful for my upbringing. With all these valuable tools I am one scrappy, fearless chic who takes bullshit from absolutely no one. Life is full of jackasses, but how I managed these self-important bullies in my youth has changed over time.
In my exuberant, bulldog-like youth I would rip the head off of a jackass with more art and skill than Ozzie Osborne could ever hope to behead a bat. I’m not particularly proud of this, but I could wither life forms with my look of disgust and my words were so sharp that I’m fairly certain I caused people to bleed without every laying a finger on them. Come to think of it, I probably should have looked into getting myself into the Guinness Book of Records for that achievement. What I learned was that while effective in many ways, this gang like prison behavior while well suited for say Sing Sing or San Quentin was a little excessive for everyday use. It was like wearing an evening gown to breakfast, astonishing and impressive but a little garish and out of place.
I learned that once you eviscerate someone it’s rather challenging as it so happens to continue a positive and productive relationship. Said eviscerated being is frightened and quite unlikely to want to grab coffee with you or collaborate or say, go up in an elevator alone with you. Fear is effective in the short term but fairly limiting as a long-term solution for growth.
It was not lost on me that jackasses are people too and the world is in no short supply of these people so I needed to work through their jackassness by means other than annihilation and yet still demand the respect every human deserves.
Gone are my days of beheading. Today the moment someone behaves like a jackass, I make it clear that this is will not work for him or her – turns out jackasses come in both sexes. I use my words. I speak in a tone that is unmarred by emotion and is as clear as glass. I don’t raise my eyebrow to the clouds and use sentences that begin with, “Excuse me” but end with a rhetorical question assuming their fondness for continuing to live. My ability to address unsavory behavior has been carefully developed and I’m proud to report that I have some very excellent working relationships with recovering jackasses. Some jackasses, particularly the unethical variety are swiftly excised from my business because there is no way to recover once someone has revealed a penchant for flexible ethics.
If you find that you try to play nice with a jackass who continues his or her jackass behavior I recommend you get very clear very quickly. Don’t endure bad treatment. Even when I worked for some else I didn’t tolerate being treated poorly. Jackasses require collaboration and tolerance and feed on the weak. I acknowledge someone’s frustration and point out that if they want to continue a discussion I require more respect. This almost always works except for when it doesn’t in which case I walk away. It’s a great shock for a jackass to confront someone who won’t play doormat or punching bag. It’s really no fun to be a jackass alone so the ass will generally come sniffing around with an apology at which point you graciously accept, shake hands, say “all is forgotten” and mean every word of it. With this you can reset the clock and proceed like two equal humans operating from a place of mutual respect and decency. I welcome your questions on jackass management. May the force be with you on your journey to a jackass free life!