I don’t go into the Billfold office so I only have to see my nightmare coworkers every few months*, but some are not so lucky. How do you cope?
Rhik Samadder at the Guardian has a few admirable suggestions. His first option is “Make friends” which is obviously NOT realistic so moving on. The third option is “War of Attrition” which I really respect but just isn’t for me. The second one, though, involves passivity and delusion, two things I am GREAT at:
Have a nemesis.
Now we’re talking. All real heroes (and by real, I mean fictional) have a nemesis. A bete noire, a Skeletor, a villain who vigilantly plots their downfall. Anyone can have a nemesis though, and a nemesis can be anyone. Spongebob Squarepants has one who is literally just a dirty bubble called Dirty Bubble. Having a nemesis makes your daily workplace struggle a private narrative of heroic overcoming. Barry keeps checking your work and sort of hovering, because he is waiting for you to trip up. Gunther has scheduled another meeting on this of all days because he wants you to feel overwhelmed and have a cry. But you will not succumb. Screw those blackhearted bastards!
NB Your boss is not your nemesis if she or he is routinely being a turd to everyone else you know and barely knows your name. A nemesis must be personal, fixated on you alone, like an evil butler. They are monogamously committed to your overthrow and destruction.
Now that I no longer have bosses or coworkers really, just lovely people to talk to on HipChat during the day, my nemesis is my landlord. Which is great! I mean he’s terrible but I’m glad to have someone slide into the role. Because we all know what happens when you don’t have a nemesis…
YOU ARE THE TRUE NEMESIS. THE NEMESIS IS YOU.
*(JK they rule)