Video: Office Survival

msnbc.com
updated 2/21/2006 12:52:38 PM ET 2006-02-21T17:52:38
TRANSCRIPT

Did you ever look around your office and wonder why you're working with a bunch of raving lunatics?  Does your boss treat you like a child?  You are not alone.  You have two options: you can quit your job tomorrow or you can listen to the advice of my next guest. 

Julie Jansen, author of the book, “You Want Me to Work with Who?: Eleven Keys to a Stress-Free, Satisfying and Successful Work Life, No Matter Who you Work With,”  joined Tucker Carlson on ‘The Situation’ to discuss what someone should do when they find themselves in stressful work situations.

To read an excerpt from their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the "Launch" button to the right.

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, ‘THE SITUATION’:  So let's say you have a boss who just doesn't care for you?

JULIE JANSEN, AUTHOR, “YOU WANT ME TO WORK WITH WHO?”:  You better figure it out, because that person can make or break your career.  So it's up to you, not your boss to get along. 

CARLSON:  So I mean, sucking up is the obvious answer, right?

JANSEN:  You want to be sort of discrete about that.  You do have to suck up on a certain level—I think to most people at work nowadays --  but I think it's more about kind of figuring out what your boss' agenda is, what are their hot buttons, why are they behaving the way they are?  You know, what makes the difference to them, getting to know your boss. 

HAMMER:  I think younger people, especially younger people who don't have nine children to support and a huge mortgage, think to themselves, you know, if it's unpleasant for me to go work, I'm quitting.  I'm out of here.  I'm on to a new job.

You're counseling sort of negotiating within the job you have?

JANSEN:  Yes.  Well, I don't think people find it easy to quit a job, though.  But you're right in that if the people are horrifying, they'll leave before they'll leave if they are really bored or unchallenged. 

CARLSON:  What of the strategies you recommend in dealing with people who are unpleasant?

JANSEN:  There's so many kinds of unpleasant people, so it has to do with whether they're disrespectful or a poor communicator. 

CARLSON:  how about this.  Let's pick some common ones. 

JANSEN:  Let's pick disrespectful, because there's lots of those.  OK?

CARLSON:  OK. 

JANSEN:   Is it a pattern?  Is this a person disrespectful just to you or are the disrespectful to other people.  Figure that out.  Document it.  Sit down and think about how you behave to people who are disrespectful to you.  Are you enabling them to be disrespectful.

CARLSON:  OK.

JANSEN:  And then it's a matter of sitting down and saying hey, you're disrespectful.  Let's focus on the business.  We have goals.  We have things we have to achieve together. 

And you're distracting from our goals. 

CARLSON:  You also here complain about co-workers who don't do their share, who sort of send their work your way and you wind up doing it and getting no credit.  And this person, meanwhile, sleeps through his day. 

JANSEN:  Right.

CARLSON:  How do you deal with that?

JANSEN:   Well, that's your fault, because you're saying yes and you're doing their work.

CARLSON:  Blaming the victim, aren't we?

JANSEN:  You give it back to them.  “It's your work.  I'd be happy to help you if I have time next Thursday.”  That's it. 

CARLSON:  Who's stealing credit for the work you are doing?

JANSEN:  Stealing credit that you sit down and talk to them and say, here's how I feel.  I feel like you're taking credit.  Here's what I've done and here's how I participated.  It's not going to happen again.  Most people are afraid to have these conversations. 

CARLSON:  Most people are way too passive. 

JANSEN:  Yes, they are way too passive.

CARLSON:  What about a boss who's not giving a raise?  I've heard so much conflicting advice about whether you plead poverty, whether you don't.  How do you get more money out of your boss? 

JANSEN:  You have to have a case.  You have to have a case.  You have to have information about what else is going on in the organization.  Who else had gotten raises?  What have been?  Nose around.  It easy to find that out, believe it or not.  And then you go to your boss and say, “I've thought about this.  Let's have a meeting.  I want you to think about it.  Let's meet again in a week, because this is what I'm looking for.” 

You don't give numbers.  You don't give percentages.

CARLSON:  Why?

JANSEN:  Because when you have a label on your forehead that says, “I want X percentage,” and that's what your boss, if he does give you a raise, will give you.  You want room for negotiation. 

CARLSON:  OK.  So you just sort of want to make the general case that you deserve more money?

JANSEN:  Exactly, and this is why.  And you have to have good reasons why.  And usually, of course, it has to do with how you've improved the business and been amazing. 

CARLSON:  You've got to brag about yourself?

JANSEN:  Yes, you do.  And most people are—it's absolutely necessary in the workplace.  There's no question.

CARLSON:  If I was a boss and somebody came in and said, you know, “I am terrific.  I appreciate just how wonderful I am.  And for that reason I need more money.” 

I'd say “Buzz off, pal.  Get out of here.”

JANSEN:  That's true.  But you need to substantiate it.  “Here's why I'm terrific.  I reduced costs.  I increased sales.  I improved morale, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” 

CARLSON:  Isn't it better just to be sort of understated, and—because people who boast about themselves.

JANSEN:  No.  It's not boasting.  It's not boasting.  And understated doesn't work.  You know, the only person who looks our for you is you.  The workplace is brutal. 

CARLSON:  What if someone is demented?

JANSEN:  Demented.  You can't do anything about demented.  You just decide you're going to deal with it or you're going to leave.  Yes.

CARLSON:  Let's say you work with someone who just isn't all there, because he has a drug problem. 

JANSEN:  Right.

CARLSON:  Or having been in journalism a long time, obviously, I've seen this a lot.  Or who's, you know, one step away from, you know, picking flies out of the air. 

JANSEN:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  Should you say anything to that person or just keep your distance?

JANSEN:  You can try saying something, but realize it's not going to make a difference.  Then go to all the powers that be above the person.  And you say, “Hey, the person is demented.  Do you expect me to work with him?  Well, if you do, either he leaves or I do.”

CARLSON:  Unless the person does become an office mascot. 

JANSEN:  Right. 

CARLSON:  Then in which case you preserve him.

JANSEN:  Then you need sweaters. 

Watch 'The Situation with Tucker Carlson' each weeknight at 11 p.m. ET

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