Working with You is Killing Me by Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster is a wonderfully helpful about dealing with the emotional and political entanglements of the office / general workplace. According to the introduction of the book, Katherine Crowley is a psychotherapist and Kathi Elster is a well known small business expert and their long standing partnership has made them an experts in the area of navigating workplace relationships.
Working with You is Killing Me is interesting because it looks at all kinds of different relationships and how to deal with it. This included different types of managers you might have or different types of coworkers and different types of people you might have to manage if you’re a manager. One aspect is that you can consider if you yourself are like that or if you work with people who are like that. Another aspect that I loved was the concrete examples / anecdotes that were structured around “so-and-so is having this described type of experience at work, it makes them feel like this, here are the 4 or 5 steps they went through to deal with it.” Those sort of examples really helped me because it helped to frame many of the work place people interactions in a really interesting way.
Let’s face it, we’ve all worked with people who can be, hm, difficult to deal with. I would say “frustrating”, “annoying”, “maddening” or “upsetting”, just to name a few other words instead of difficult. No matter how you spin it, I’ve learned that it would be super naive (or optimistic, if you prefer) to hope that every last coworker (client, boss, etc.) will be a perfect match for you. That’s ok though, that’s why people like Katherine and Kathi end up writing books like Working with You is Killing Me because we all need a little insight sometimes into how to deal with those people in a way that is constructive and positive.
No matter where you are in your career, whether a student or a CEO, I think that this is a good read. It’s also not very long; 224 pages on my iPad (the physical book might differ in length by about 20 pages).