Reading “The Schmuck in My Office” is like taking a top psychiatrist to work with you. You’ll gain fascinating insight into the people who poison workplace culture and wreck others’ peace of mind. Even better, you’ll learn strategies for dealing with them productively.
Dr. Foster offers business people a simple, intuitive, and occasionally hilarious typology for spotting types of difficult people at work. Which type of disruptive person is this? How did they get that way? How to handle them? This book is a refreshing contribution to the field.
Foster, chair of the psychiatry department at Pennsylvania Hospital, and Joy, a psychiatry resident at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, explore a topic just about everyone in the workplace can relate to: dealing with colleagues whose habits disrupt workflow and cause a variety of problems. The good news is that these types of behaviors, including bullying, micromanaging, and acting entitled, can all be addressed and corrected. The authors show how to identify disruptions, discuss the personality traits responsible, and share effective responses. They list disruptive personality types, including “drama kings and queens,” “bean counter” types who bottleneck progress, and oddballs who just don’t fit in. They also invite readers to ponder whether they themselves are the “office schmucks.” Along the way, they share cringeworthy stories of difficult behavior and successful turnarounds that inspire. This is a timely must-read for managers and anyone who has ever had to deal with a difficult coworker; it addresses a ubiquitous problem in a proactive, positive manner that should get the desired results.
There is always one “special” employee. The challenge is that most often we spend our time talking with others about them and not directly to them. The Schmuck in My Office provides an easy to understand, practical guide to engaging those “special” colleagues whether they work for you, work with you, or perish the notion, you work for them. If you work with other humans, you need to read this book
There has been a rise in “how to manage difficult people at work” books. Has the workplace become nastier, more hostile, or simply more competitive in this second decade of the twenty-first century? There’s no clear answer, but as psychiatrists Foster and Joy point out, there’s always at least one schmuck (Yiddish for jerk) in the office. And because life necessitates getting along with all kinds of personalities, they provide this handbook for doing so. Other than the typologies of 10 disruptive individuals, labeled with clearly recognizable names, what differentiates this guide? First, an in-depth explanation of what lies underneath, along with relevant citations. The Narcissist, for instance, usually suffers from low selfesteem. Subtypes are identified in engaging story formats that teach the best and most effective techniques to handle these folks (along with a checklist at the end).
“Two Physicians on How to Deal with Annoying Coworkers” – on Forbes.com
Business Life magazine article
“Problem Colleagues and How to Deal” – in Time
“Help! There’s a schmuck amok at work!” – on Philly.com
“The Schmucks at the Office” – in The Atlantic
“From flytraps to bean counters, Penn psychiatrist has advice for dealing with the office ‘schmuck” – in Philadelphia Business Journal
“Dealing with Difficult People at Work” – on Knowledge@Wharton (podcast)
“Dealing with the Schmuck in Your Nonprofit” – on Successful Nonprofits (podcast)
“5 Kinds of Office Jerks: Are You One of Them?” – on NBC News
“Why HR should never ignore a workplace ‘jerk” in HRM New Zealand (also published in HRM Canada)
Though it’s not a handbook, this is fascinating. It may even teach you some compassion, so it’s recommended for anyone who works with others, shares an office, or is a supervisor. “The Schmuck in My Office may get you fired… up.”
Book Review in Twin Cities Business
“Dealing with ‘schmucks’ in your office” – on How to Be Awesome at Your Job
“Even if it’s ‘staycation,’ time off is beneficial” – in The Journal Gazette
“How to deal with every type of dickhead in the workplace” -on George (NZ)
Radio interview withe Michelle Joy on “Thank God for Monday,” available on iTunes under “WSOU,” show 270
How to Spot the 10 Villians in Your Office – The Globe and Mail
“BIV on Roundhouse June 13: Author Jody Foster on dealing with difficult co-workers” – in Business Vancouver
“Toxic co-workers may actually be harmful to your health” – in The New York Post
An essential handbook for anyone seeking to understand and interact with more effectively, the challenging individuals who surround us, not only at work but in all aspects of our lives. This book presents complicated character dynamics in a digestible, enjoyable and at times extremely funny form. I can imagine pulling this off the shelf for consultation regularly.
– Goodreads Review