Don’t Be a Jerkface

I don’t consider myself a guru. I don’t put myself in the pro category. I like to consider myself “in training” in the world of HR.

My first 2 1/2 years in talent acquisition was good learning but the amount of growth that has happened in the last year working in an employee relations capacity has been unreal.

The most valuable lesson I’ve learned from the business I support is this: Don’t be a jerkface.

I’ve learned to become a really good listener. I used to feel like I needed to solve everyone’s issues. Now, I listen, take notes and, when the associate takes a breath, ask what support they need from me. Sometimes it ends up being a coaching session for the associate and sometimes the conversation just ends there as they needed an ear.

There is a caveat to not being a jerkface though. I’ve been told I am much too empathetic. I find myself to be very, “Ms. Fixit” in my world. And the box I have to work in is very small. I’ve had to learn how to draw lines in the sand and say, “What can I feasibly do here?”

So here’s what I’ve learned about me, associates and <not> being a jerkface:

  • If you are a jerkface, I will tell you take a chill pill and talk to me with respect;
  • If you are being unreasonable, my “claws” will come out as I get very matter-o-fact; and
  • If you try to blame me for your issues, I will hold you accounatble for your actions.


  • If you talk to me calmly, I’ll tell you an awkward joke to break the tension;
  • If you are patient and listen to what I am saying, I will continue to try to help you; and
  • If you realize I cannot solve your problems for you and won’t be kissing your ‘boo boos’ we’ll be good pals.

I’ve watched so many people talk to associates like they are idiots or like they aren’t human and I just won’t do that. I try to put myself in their shoes and do the best I can to listen, advise and assist while not being a total jerkface.

Photo credit iStockphoto

About the Author

Cindy Janovitz

Cindy Janovitz works for a great Fortune 500 company in Minnesota. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Communications and Spanish from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. Cindy has a passion for working with and helping people and a love for organizational culture. Three words Cindy uses to describe herself are energetic, passionate, and driven. You can connect with Cindy on Twitter as @cindyelizabeth



Seems pretty basic but oddly enough, there are lots of jerkfaces out there. Sometimes folks don’t even know they are being jerks. Maybe that can be a future post “Tell-tell signs that you are a Jerkface” what do you think?


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