What about the boss who is a jerk? It depends on what kind of jerk he is. Let's start with the most notorious kind of office jerk, the sexist male who makes life miserable for his female colleagues or subordinates. I don't want to minimize how trying and even frightening it can be to deal with such a situation if you are a young woman new to the workplace and the jerk is a much older senior employee. But if you find yourself in such a situation, remember two things. First, even the hint of a formal sexual harassment complaint scares the employers, who badly want to avoid the legal hassle and the financial costs that a complaint entails, and should scare the sexist jerk even more -- his job can easily be in jeopardy. Second, you shouldn't assume you have to do battle all by yourself. Every office I've ever worked in has had sagacious women who would have been wonderful counselors and advocates for a young female employee who is being harassed. And let me put in a word for male curmudgeons. Most of us see ourselves as gentlemen. You don't have to approve of our antediluvian mind-set, but there's something to be said for having a senior male in authority who detests men who maltreat women or take advantage of underlings. You can come talk to us too.
Next, we come to jerks who are merely unpleasant . . . .