“I’m Just Trying To Get Away From People That Suck!”

A few months ago I had some time in between clients and I called Jason to share an, as Oprah would call it” ,”A-HA” moment.

In the weeks and months leading up to that call, I had been spending a lot of time reflecting on every step of my career to gain a better understanding of why it took me nearly 15 years to find something that I love to do every day.

I reflected on why I took each position over the course of my career, what my mindset was at the time, what I thought was important (size of company, salary, etc.), and so on. I also spent a lot of time analyzing the motivating factors that led me to leave each of those positions.

Going through the process taught me a lot about my career, but taught me even more about who I am as a person and what is core to my DNA. One of the most important lessons I learned is something that opened my eyes in more ways than one and helped lay the foundation for making real, positive, and lasting change in my life. The exact words I told Jason to describe this, and what I now believe is one of my secrets to career and life happiness, is this:

“I’ve realized that, my whole career, I’ve just been trying to get away from people that suck!”

Jason laughed (as does every single person I tell the story to) because he knew exactly the type of people I was talking about. And I’m guessing you do too. Now I’m not literally saying that these people are bad people, have ill intent, or don’t have redeeming qualities. What I am saying is that there are certain characteristics about people that suck vs. people that are awesome. The sooner you learn to identify one vs. the other, the sooner you will become a much happier person in your career….and in your life.

Now that I have been fortunate enough to have learned this valuable lesson (way later in life than I wish I would have, but better late than never, right?), I feel it is my duty, my responsibility, in fact I believe it’s part of my calling, to share it with you so that you don’t waste one more second of your time on these type of people. I realize that my definition of “people that suck” may be different than yours and that’s OK. In the end, my goal in writing this article is simple and honest: I want you to get to your place of happy quicker than I did.

One of the most difficult things about this process is you are going to have to make some hard decisions. You need to know that “people that suck” come in all shapes and sizes. They could be coworkers. They could be managers. They could be neighbors. They could be business associates. They could be CEOs. They could be friends. They could be family members. Whoever they are, it’s  important to know that your goal through this process is to remove as many “people that suck” from your day-to-day life and replace them with “people that are awesome”.

That may mean a job change. That may mean changing the way you’ve always done things. That may mean letting some people go that have been a part of your life for a long time. That may mean having some difficult conversations. That may mean being honest with yourself and with other people in your life in a way that you haven’t been before. That very likely will mean taking some calculated risks. It’s not an easy road. Not by any stretch of the imagination. But trust me when I tell you that it is absolutely, positively a road worth traveling.

Ok, so how do you identify them? Take a look at the two lists below, one focusing on “People That Suck” and one focusing on “People That Are Awesome.” This is nowhere close to an exhaustive list (my fingers would get tired of typing!), but it should help get you started.

10 Characteristics Of People That Suck
1. They don’t return calls in a timely manner.
2. They don’t respond to emails in a timely manner.
3. They attend networking events or groups with a “selling” mindset instead of a “helping” mindset.
4. They are TAKERS who routinely try to befriend GIVERS.
5. They don’t do what they told you they would do. Lack of common courtesy and accountability.
6. They rarely make an effort to do anything more than the bare minimum.
7. Their #1 priority in virtually every situation is “What’s in it for me?”
8. They make excuses. Lots of them. About everything.
9. They have a unique ability to rarely, if ever, look in the mirror and realize that they are a part of the problem.
10. They fight CHANGE with every fiber in their body. Their mentality of “that’s just the way things have always been done” or “that’s just the way I’ve always been”, as if sucking is in their DNA.

At the same time, it’s important to know how to identify people that are awesome. When you surround yourself with people that are awesome, that is when the magic happens. You know it when you see it. In fact, I “feel” it when I’m around these type of people.

10 Characteristics Of People That Are Awesome
1. At their core, they LOVE helping people…without expecting anything in return. Helping is core to their DNA.
2. They give more than they take.
3. They return calls in a timely manner.
4. They return emails in a timely manner.
5. They CONSISTENTLY do what they tell you they are going to do. Accountability and common courtesy are built into the way they live their personal and professional lives.
6. They tout the success stories of other people around them.
7. They always say “Thank you”.
8. CARING is in their DNA.
9. They look at the bigger picture and understand the real value in raising other people up instead of just themselves.
10. They are natural connectors/referrers.

What do you think? What other characteristics have you witnessed from people that suck and people that are awesome? How have you gone about finding happiness in your career and in your life? I welcome and encourage your insight.

27 replies
  1. Doug DeLisser
    Doug DeLisser says:

    Mic,

    Let me start by saying if I did not give you feedback on this article, like you asked me to do at the Professional Connections event on Tuesday, than that would make me a #5 on your suck list. I would would much rather be #5 on your awesome list :)

    Actually, I believe that you and I talked quite a bit about this when we visited at my office a couple of weeks ago.

    On Tuesday you made a comment dureing your presentation that rings true. “People want to do business with people they trust and respect”. You’re on the awesome list when you consistantly build that trust and respect. If you dont, well….. you on the other list. :)

    Thanks for “giving” your time and information by writing this and other articles on your blog!!

    Doug

    Reply
  2. Kyle Vitasek
    Kyle Vitasek says:

    Too true… I think others have put it, “If you want to be successful, spend time w/successful people.” The opposite of that being, “If you want to suck, hang around people who suck the life out of you.” The inbetween being, “Spend your business/value add time w/people who make you better. Spend your ministry time w/people who need care (ie – those who have needs that cause them to be suckers).” Hope this is helpful. Good blog post!

    Reply
  3. Mike Jones
    Mike Jones says:

    Mic: Awesome article. People that suck are like black holes… Draining all energy and light around them and never giving it back. Stay out of that gravity and life is great. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  4. Terri Hurd
    Terri Hurd says:

    Mic,
    I simply must add to your list of characteristics of people who suck. They do not listen, they wait. We call them “waiters.” In a conversation, all they do is think about what they want to say next instead of actually hearing you. Congrats on your epiphany… thanks for sharing!
    Terri

    Reply
  5. James Smith
    James Smith says:

    Dear Mic,

    Thanks for the article! Over the years, I have met some of these people. This is a valuable resource that I can share with my family and friends.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  6. Shane Duvall
    Shane Duvall says:

    Mic,

    Love the article and what you type is very true. I have known this for many years and never thought of sharing it with others, my bad. That should be on your awesome list as well.

    Thanks again,

    Shane

    Reply
  7. Amy
    Amy says:

    As a ‘counselor in training’ I’ve come to realize that there are about as many natural helping type people in the world as there are those looking out for only their own personal gain.

    How much of this is affected by environment/experiences and can people that ‘suck’ be coached into people that don’t suck?

    Amy

    Reply
    • Mic Johnson
      Mic Johnson says:

      Great thoughts, Amy, and I agree. There is no doubt that environment, experiences, etc. impact an individual’s “suck level”. :) And I, for one, absolutely believe that people that “suck” can be coached into people that don’t suck….but it takes a great mentor/manager/etc. and it takes the willingness of the individual to work hard at it. It’s not easy…and there are some people that will just keep sucking….the key is to be able to identify those types of people and avoid them as much as possible in your personal and professional life. Thanks again for reading and taking the time to comment.

      -Mic

      Reply
  8. Keri Abell
    Keri Abell says:

    The worst thing about people that suck, in my opinion, is that they turn me into a suck, too! When you are around them, those sucky things rub off and you really must fight the suckiness coming out in you. Which is why awesome people are so much better. Their awesomeness rubs off and makes me more awesome at my job and at life. It took me a long time to figure that out, but since I did I’ve been purging the suck from life, and it’s making me a more awesome person. Love the blog. Thanks for the links today!!

    Reply
    • Mic Johnson
      Mic Johnson says:

      Keri: I couldn’t have said it better myself…in fact, I could have sworn I wrote your comment it was so “on point”!! You and I have A LOT in common…It took me far too long to realize it as well, but I’m just glad that I finally did…and that this blog lets me share it with others! Thanks again! -Mic

      Reply
  9. Scott Meineke
    Scott Meineke says:

    Mic, first off great meeting you last night at the game. This has been something I’ve been seeing in my workplace for years and have never had a way to describe it. Thank you for putting this epidemic to words! There are WAY to many people that suck out there and again thank you for helping me classify these “Sucksters”! I will for sure be alienating myself from these parasites lol! Take care!

    Reply
    • Mic Johnson
      Mic Johnson says:

      Great meeting you as well! Enjoyed our conversation…..

      Let me know if I can ever help in any way.

      Oh and be sure to read “41 Lessons To My 21 Year Old Self” on our blog too!

      Take care.

      Reply
  10. TA
    TA says:

    I sure wish I could send this to my supervisor and a colleague or two… you totally nailed it. I have bookmarked this as your secret to career and life happiness is pure truth!

    Reply
  11. Maggie
    Maggie says:

    Mic, What a great read! There is such truth in this. I think we can too easily fall in to the trap of the “people that suck.” Lets all be AWESOME people and we will attract more AWESOME people to full us.

    Reply
  12. Gordon Ho
    Gordon Ho says:

    Mic- I saw you re-posted this the other day and I just got a chance to read it again and will share. So true and great stuff. Here is to you, awesome people, sushi, and triple overtime wins. RCJH!

    Reply
    • Mic Johnson
      Mic Johnson says:

      Thanks Gordon! I really appreciate you taking the time to read the post again and share it! And yes, absolutely….cheers to you, awesome people, sushi and Triple OT wins! ha,ha

      Reply

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