Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Guide to Surviving Sociopaths in the Workplace

I've certainly had my fair share of horrid work experiences: the sexually harassing coworker, the bitchy boss, the inept HR department, and my personal favorite-the corporate firing. (And all those were from the same den of misery mind you.)

My latest workplace disaster involved a character type I've yet to come across and pray I (or you) never do again. Nothing personal to all those sociopaths out there, but let's face it. Who wants to work with flagrant liars who throw you under the bus at every turn?

Ms. CP was a breath of fresh air at first impression. CP was sassy, animated, and a seeming straight-shooter. We even shared a passion for buying shoes. She was hired to sell ad space. By the close of the first issue I shared with her, this assumed powerhouse was running into critical magazine errors. Her clients were backing out at the last minute. She came in without signed contracts. If I made an attempt to reach her clients, I'd never get a call back. This should have been a red flag. A new client is generally responsive and excited about their ad. They appreciate the attention!

Needless to say, we delayed press and scrambled to pick up her slack. Come next month's ad planning she was on serious probation. Being a small mag, we literally don't have room for this sort of sloppy account management.

The magazine team was on her side. We loved CP. We wanted her to stay on board and move through this rough patch as she was such a delight to have in the office. She'd tell us stories about her former lovers and her mom she affectionately referred to as 'The Terrorist.'

It seemed she was reforming her process to make it work. She was conservative about mentioning possible leads. She went on sales calls every day and was out of the office most of time. Soon enough she had us thinking all would be well.

To Be Continued...

No comments: