I read this book because I was looking for someone. And I found them. In chapters 1, 2 and 7!

The book starts with a questionnaire. This is not for the feint hearted. It’s not your average Good Housekeeping multiple choice questionnaire that’ll tell you if you should decorate your study in wallpaper or paint. This is a proper questionnaire. If you take your new book to bed, expecting it to lull you to sleep – you’re in for a surprise. I’d suggest you need to start this book on the sofa, with a lap tray, pencil and paper (unless you’re happy to write in your book….(errrrrrm….). Unfortunately, I did start reading it in bed and so didn’t get round to doing the questionnaire – my bad.

Jerks at Work, Tessa West

The book sets out 7 types of jerk at work and offers full and helpful descriptors. 1 is the kick-up/kiss-downer who plays people from both sides, who is the centre of their own universe and not to be trusted by their colleagues. 2 is the credit stealer who is adept at making the most of other people’s talents and passing them off as their own – also not to be trusted. 7 is the gaslighter, who – for me, is the biggest jerk of them all. The manipulative, emotional abuser who twists words, spins situations and distorts discussions so that they come out on top and more importantly, you come out on bottom. Trust this jerk at your peril.

Throughout the book, Tessa frequently makes reference to the fact that one person may be a whole coven of different jerks in one go! This is really helpful because like me, I’m pretty sure your jerk will cover more than one phenotype.

Each chapter also has a ‘what to do about it’ section, which really needs some concentration and studying – far more than I expected, if truth be told. I thought this book would be more about stories of jerks who eventually got their comeuppance, like your good novel, but no. This is a proper, well researched, well thought though handbook of jerks and fixes.

If you’re dealing with a jerk at work right now, this book is your go-to textbook on how to deal with them. I luckily am not, but if I were, I’d be heading back to the ‘what to do’ sections, with pen and paper in hand, writing myself a to-do list and a script of how to confront, ignore, stop or get away from the jerk.

I enjoyed reading this book. It’s got swear words in the right places and tells it like it is, treating you like an intelligent, capable person who simply doesn’t have to put up with bullies, tyrants, fibbers, cheats, manipulators and jerks.

I gave it 4 out of 5 for being a good read, a textbook, a guidebook and self help for people in horrible situations. It was a 4 rather than a 5 because the questionnaire felt like something I needed to do before starting the book, but when you’re in bed snuggled in with a new book, you’re not going to get out again to do a questionnaire. If I come up against a work-jerk in the future, I will definitely do the questionnaire and read the book again

Jerks at Work by Tessa West

Find it on Amazon – Jerks at Work: Toxic Coworkers and What to do About Them