The Certified A**hole Test

Today is Friday, so this post is on interpersonal competence.

A while back, I did a post on an interesting book The No A**hole Rule, by Robert Sutton a professor of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford.  To me it is axiomatic – you cannot be interpersonally competent if you are an a**hole. 

I was rereading the book the other day and got a kick out of the Certified A**hole Self Test in Chapter 4. 

Dr. Sutton says that if you answer yes to 15 or more of these statements “you sound like a full-blown certified a**hole to me; get help immediately.  But please, don’t come to me for help, as I would rather not meet you.”

If you answered yes to 5 to 15 of these statements “you sound like a borderline certified a**hole; perhaps the time has come to start changing your behavior before it gets worse.”

If you answered yes to 0 to 5 of these statements: “you don’t sound like a certified a**hole, unless you are fooling yourself.”

Here is the test.  Be truthful.  No one has to know how many of these statements are true for you.

Certified A**hole Self Test

  1. You feel surrounded by incompetent idiots – and you can’t help letting them know the truth every now and then.
  2. You were a nice person until you started working with the current bunch of creeps.
  3. You don’t trust the people around you, and they don’t trust you.
  4. You see your coworkers as competitors.
  5. You believe that one of the best ways to “climb the ladder” is to push other people down or out of the way.
  6. You secretly enjoy watching other people suffer and squirm.
  7. You are often jealous of your colleagues and find it difficult to be genuinely pleased for them when they do well.
  8. You have a small list of close friends and a long list of enemies, and you are equally proud of both lists.
  9. You sometimes just can’t contain your contempt towards the losers and jerks at your workplace.
  10. You find it useful to glare at, insult, and even occasionally holler at some of the idiots at you workplace – otherwise they never seem to shape up.
  11. You take credit for the accomplishments of you team – why not? They would be nowhere without you.
  12. You enjoy lobbing “innocent” comments into meetings that serve no purpose other than to humiliate or cause discomfort to the person on the receiving end.
  13. You are quick to point out others’ mistakes.
  14. You don’t make mistakes.  When something goes wrong, you always find some idiot to blame.
  15. You constantly interrupt people, because, after all, what you have to say is more important.
  16. You are constantly buttering up you boss and other powerful people, and you expect the same treatment from your underlings.
  17. Your jokes and teasing can get a bit nasty at time, but you have to admit that they are pretty funny.
  18. You love your immediate team and they love you; but you are all at constant warfare with the rest of the organization.  You treat everyone else like crap, because, after all, if you’re not on my team, you either don’t matter, or are the enemy.
  19. You notice that people seem to avoid eye contact when they talk to you – and they become very nervous.
  20. You have the feeling that people are always very careful about what they say around you.
  21. People keep responding to your e mail with hostile reactions, which often escalate into “flame wars” with these jerks.
  22. People seem hesitant to divulge personal information to you.
  23. People seem to stop having fun when you show up.
  24. People always seem to react to your arrival by announcing that they have to leave.

Well, how many of the items got a “yes” answer from you? 

The common sense point here is simple.  Avoid acting in a manner described by items 1 – 18.  If you find items 19 – 24 to be true for you, think about what behaviors you need to change – and then make those changes.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website for more common sense.  Check out my other blog: for common sense advice on leading people and running a small business.

I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand – my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.