You know that person that makes their job their whole personality (at the cost of acting like a normal, decent person)? Likely the same person who wore a suit and brought a briefcase to class every day during your MBA for absolutely no reason? Yup, that’s a hardo.
Unfortunately, you probably have a hardo coworker, and as you know, working with that person isn’t always easy. So, here are some tips on dealing with any hardos you might find on your team.
Get Their Perspective
Hardos are easy to identify. They are classic one-uppers that have somehow turned themselves into one-dimensional work drones. Like the vegans of finance (no offense, vegans), they have to constantly bring up work and how they put up crazy numbers and hours. When you have one of these people on your team and they’re starting to wear on your nerves, try to gain some insight into their perspective.
Why do they act the way they do? Typically you’ll find that something in their background drives the way they behave.
Maybe they’ve been passed up on promotions in the past and don’t want that to happen again. Maybe they think the more they show face and throw themselves at work, the quicker they’ll work their way up the ladder. Or maybe they’re just overcompensating for something else.
Whatever the case, realizing that they have their reasons beyond just being insufferable and trying to annoy you, will help you brush them off and stay focused on what you need to get done.
Don’t Try to Out Hardo the Hardo
When dealing with a hardo, you might think the best way to shut them up is to beat them at their own game. Don’t.
Sure, you can stay extra late, come super early, and go on and on about how many hours you worked. But at the end of the day, everyone loses, especially you.
While the idea of showing them that you can be a decent human and put in crazy hours (spoiler alert, they might be working longer, but they probably aren’t working better) can be tempting, you don’t want to turn into the very thing you despise.
Read the Room
Before going crazy trying to figure out how you can deal with a hardo, try and get a sense of how others feel about the person. If it seems like you aren’t the only one bothered by them (and you probably aren’t), then you can work collectively on finding a solution. Especially if the hardo is going beyond annoying and is actually being a detriment to the team.
Sometimes hardos do what they do to feel some weird sense of superiority. One of the best things you can do is just keep your head up and stay unbothered. If they’re bragging about their hours, congratulate them and let them know they’re doing a good job. (Again, working unnecessary hours usually means they just take longer than they should, but that’s not your problem.) If they think they’ve already impressed you, or realize that they won’t get that feeling of superiority over you, there’s a good chance they tone down any hardo theatrics in front of you.
Share Your Thoughts
If you’re comfortable enough and the opportunity arises, don’t be afraid to share your thoughts with them (no, not the mean thoughts). If you can gently communicate how their behavior is affecting the team, and possibly bring awareness to how they are being perceived because of their actions, you might be able to have a breakthrough.
Make sure to be careful with your wording though, so as not to make the person feel attacked. Rather than saying “you only ever talk about how much you work” try something like “I find it hard to focus when you talk about how many hours you’ve put in this week.”
Hardos aren’t always malicious, sometimes they just need a nudge to help them realize they’re being difficult to work with.
Limit Your Interactions
Depending on your office and team setup, it might be difficult to limit the amount of time you’re exposed to the office hardo. But, if you see an opportunity, such as getting outside for lunch or throwing on a pair of headphones, take it.
Furthermore, don’t feel obligated to go to any social events like drinks with that annoying VDR sales guy after work if you know the person is going to be there. The less you deal with their hardo-ways, the less it will wear on you.
Accept Them for Who They Are
If the hardo on your team isn’t actually doing anything wrong or harming the work of others, you might have to just accept them for who they are. A reality of life is that we aren’t going to like every person we meet, and sometimes those people happen to work with us.
The best you can do is try and focus on any positive aspects of the person. And if you can’t do that, then just find the humor in how outrageous the hardo personality is.
At the end of the day dealing with a hardo on your team usually comes down to ways you can manage an annoyance.
Whether it’s reframing your perspective, communicating your thoughts with them, or just straight up trying to ignore them as much as possible, every situation will be different. The best thing you can do is focus on yourself, and try your best not to let the hardo affect your headspace.
The good news, being a hardo is hard, so they tend to mellow out or burn out pretty quickly, meaning the problem often solves itself. If you find yourself facing workplace problems beyond an annoying coworker, check out The Grind by CapLinked for more tips on dealing with work-related issues.