Energy Consumption and Assholes


I’ve read a lot about how to cope with assholes, what the telltale signs of assholes are and how to be aware of when you are an asshole to other people. I even met an expert on the subject.

One of the things missing from The No Asshole Rule was how to estimate a positive worker’s contributions.

On top of operational performance there’s a fuzzy area you’d like to be able to measure, and that’s how someone’s attitude impacts the office. Do they generally piss people off? Do they encourage others and nurture growth?

This can be measured in terms of energy. I recall vaguely that a professor was experimenting with evaluations of workers by conducting surveys that measured energy expense towards an individual. For example, if talking to Mike at work is very draining and leaves you tired or frustrated, he has a negative impact on your work environment. On the other hand, if Mike is fun to work with and lifts you up, makes you a little happier every time you talk to him, that’s a plus.

And what do most people know about dealing with assholes? It’s very draining.

Sure, it’s healthy to understand and identify assholes, but it’s also worth thinking about your energy and its tangible effect on others. So next time you’re pissed off or irritated in a meeting, think — am I draining energy from this meeting or supplying it? Will the people I’m dealing with feel drained after this?

Granted, we’re not going to always be bouncy and huge balls of positive energy in the workplace. But over time, the sum of your interactions creates a net positive or negative flow of energy between you and the people you work with. I think we should strive to give more than we take.

Maybe it’s karma, but it’s definitely there, whatever it is. If we paid more attention to our energy consumption it’d make work a better place.