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The Daily

The Bad Guy: an Essential Part of Any Office

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Oct 14, 2015
footsteponguyThey're a fixture at any company of an appreciable size: the office bad guy. They're the ones who don't really care about your feelings when they point out flaws in your plan. They're the ones who take on the task of firing well-loved but sub-par employees. They're the ones who make the decision to kill a project that just isn't working despite the howls of protest from other workers. People may not like them, but an article in the Wall Street Journal says we need them anyway. This is because not everyone, indeed not even most people, are capable of absorbing the negativity that comes from making an unpopular but necessary decision for the good of the company. 

It can be a lonely life. While other co-workers are meeting for happy hour drinks, the office bad guy is not invited to come. Wherever the office bad guy walks, conversations suddenly become hushed or even stop entirely until he's well out of earshot. They are unlikely to get cake or even a card on their birthday. 

But, said the Journal, many who have resigned themselves to this role eventually learn to thrive within it, because they know that they have a valuable skill: to make decisions unclouded by personal relations in the long-term interests of the company itself, whether it's having to let people go, or ax a project, or implement a new policy that the directors know no one will like but needs to be done anyway. 

Still, knowing this doesn't exactly make it any easier to interact with them. But to the office bad guy, that really doesn't matter anyway.