A field guide to spotting office jerks

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The Loud Talker

The Loud Talker (Fuse/via Getty Images)

Habitat: Usually the boss's office, stabbing you in the back.

Description: Mac the Knife is perhaps the worst of all workplace jerks. Mac is a soulless being with an alluring personality and seemingly genuine interest in collaboration and good work. Trust develops, and then is shattered when you realize Mac has been bad-mouthing you.

Defense: None. You rarely see Mac coming. The only hope is a warning from one of Mac's previous victims.

Meeting Motormouth

Habitat: Conference rooms, the boss's office or any place people meet.

Description: The Meeting Motormouth feels constitutionally obligated to talk — often at length — during a meeting. A patient creature, the Meeting Motormouth will often wait until the waning moments of a meeting to speak, and then will spiral off on multiple tangents. Because Meeting Motormouths are generally nice enough, it's difficult to tell them to put a sock in it. So precious moments of our lives are consumed for no reason.

Defense: Early identification and bold leaders. Figure out who the Meeting Motormouths are, and shut them down quickly — and politely.

There are so many more out there, but I'm out of space. Please email a description of workplace jerk species you've encountered to ijustworkhere@tribune.com. It just might come up in a future column.

And please, be careful out there.

TALK TO REX: Ask workplace questions — anonymously or by name — and share stories with Rex Huppke at ijustworkhere@tribune.com, like Rex on Facebook at facebook.com/rexworkshere, and find more at chicagotribune.com/ijustworkhere.

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