Nothing ruins a great job more than having to work with a “jerk”.
First, short of health issues emotionally or physical that may arise from this stress, there is no reason to let a difficult co-worker push you out of a great job.
A better plan, wait for them to self-destruct.
It happens all the time, but unfortunately lots of good people leave careers they like just to get away from cynical, abusive, hurtful and undesirable people.
The Harvard Business Review offers some advice:
- Focus on your own reactions. “If there is someone who is annoying or abrasive, don’t think about how the person acts, think about how you react. It’s far more productive to focus on your own behavior because you can control it.”
- Keep your distaste to yourself. Complaining can send a negative message about you and you might be perceived as “unprofessional or be labeled as the difficult one.” Communicate through a support network you trust – outside of work.
- Consider whether it’s you, not them. “Start with the hypothesis that the person is doing things you don’t like but is a good person,” says Stanford Business School professor Robert Sutton to HBR. “It’s reasonable to assume you’re part of the problem…If everywhere you go there’s someone you hate, it’s a bad sign.”
- Spend more time with the difficult co-worker. Talk about taking bitter medicine! The idea is to try and build empathy. However “If it’s someone who violates your sense of what’s moral, getting away [from him] isn’t a bad strategy,” says Sutton to HBR.
- Give the person you hate feedback. “It may be that what bothers you is something that regularly gets in her way as a professional,” says HBR. Stick to the behavior that person can control and describe how they impact you and your work together.
“Difficult People are your key to self empowerment, you need to learn how to cope with them, not let them dominate and affect you.” — Janice Davies