MONEY Workplace

8 Tips for Coping with an Angry Coworker

illustration of angry coworker throwing papers and supplies off desk
Sarina Finkelstein (photo illustration)—Getty Images (1)

How to deal with a difficult — and potentially dangerous — bully at the office.

Although discussions of workplace violence in the wake of the Virginia shooting have centered around how employers can handle volatile employees, this isn’t just an issue for managers: The people who have to work side-by-side with short-tempered or confrontational workers also need tools to cope with these difficult colleagues.

Obviously, the vast majority of people — even the most unpleasant ones — never commit violence, but working with them can be mentally and emotionally draining. Some of this behavior may fall into the category of bullying, which the Workplace Bullying Institute defines as “abusive conduct that is threatening, humiliating, or intimidating, or… which prevents work from getting done, or verbal abuse.” It says up to one-third of people in the workforce have been a bully’s target at some point in their careers.

Talking to your boss or human resources department and documenting instances of hostile or inappropriate behavior is the standard advice. And yes, you should do these things. But you also need to be able to handle these people on a day-to-day basis (at least until the person causing the trouble is terminated or leaves of his own volition).

We asked career and HR experts how to handle angry, volatile co-workers, and they suggest several steps you can take.

Remember the problem is them, not you. “The source of the problem is external,” the Workplace Bullying Institute says, and it recommends people dealing with a toxic colleague to remind themselves of this regularly: “You did not invite, nor want… psychological assaults and interference with your work. Think about it. No sane person wakes up each day hoping to be humiliated or berated at work.”

Don’t try to fix them. It’s important to remember that there are some people you just can’t reach, says Lorene Lacey, global clinical manager at Workplace Options. “His or her behavior, whether it’s whining, sniping, taking up too much of your time, or something else, is deeply rooted, and may have been going on for years,” says Lacey. This can be a tough realization for some, but trying to “rescue” a perpetually angry colleague is likely to just leave you feeling defeated.

Stay cool. “Displaying self-discipline can deescalate a situation because [you] are aware of [your] attitude and behavior and can make adjustments accordingly,” says Lisa Barrow, a consultant and speaker on workplace bullying. Yes, this is easier said than done, especially if you’re the target of put-downs or other verbal abuse, but you have to remember that if you take the bait when an individual is trying to pick a fight, you’ve given them what they want. “[Don’t] respond to the angry coworker with anger, as this will only escalate the situation,” Barrow says.

Focus on their behavior rather than arguing. “Stop talking about the content of the disagreement,” David Maxfield, an author and speaker on human behavior, advises. Rather than getting sucked into a squabble, take a figurative step back and tell them, “I need for this to be a professional conversation,” he says. Keep the focus on how they’re behaving — tell them that you don’t want to continue a discussion if they’re raising their voice, slamming their hand or an object on the desk, cursing, and the like. “This prevents the other person from ‘winning the argument,’ and focuses on their inappropriate behavior,” Maxfield says.

Use their name. “Hearing our own name causes us to stop and pay attention, and using it several times is a way to subtly take control of the situation,” says Catherine Mattice, owner of consulting company Civility Partners.

Take a timeout. “When tempers flare, adrenaline flows,” Lacey says. This cranks up your heartbeat and breathing rate, and primes your body for a fight-or-flight response. If you’re trying to avoid responding to an attack with an aggressive reply of your own, physically remove yourself out of the situation. “It takes several minutes for adrenaline levels to recede, so cooling off time makes sense,” Lacey says. Take a walk around the building or around the block — just don’t stop for coffee or a cigarette, since stimulants will keep you on edge longer.

Put safety first. There are a few safeguards to remember when dealing with someone who’s very angry, Mattice says. If you’re in your office, don’t allow them to sit between you and the door, and keep a distance of three arm lengths between you and them. “Do not touch the individual, and do not engage in any threatening nonverbal behavior such as pointing your finger or getting in his or her personal space,” Mattice says. You might also consider meeting with them in a public place or “neutral territory” in the workplace, and having another person in the room or nearby.

Don’t try to intervene in a physical altercation. Just like you wouldn’t step in front of a speeding car to stop it, experts say getting involved in a physical confrontation is a bad idea. “Confronting an individual who may be a threat or prone to violence is not a good idea,” Lacey says. “If there is an immediate threat of violence or if that sort of behavior has already occurred … report it to management or the proper authorities.”

TIME titanic

This Is How Much the Last Titanic Lunch Menu Is Expected to Make at Auction

Sinking of the ?Titanic?, 14 April 1912.
Science & Society Picture Librar—SSPL via Getty Images An artist’s rendition of the sinking of the Titanic after hitting an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean in 1912.

Two other artifacts will be auctioned off

The last lunch menu that was saved from the Titanic is being auctioned off at Lion Heart Autographs and is expected to go for $50,000 to $70,000, the Associated Press reports.

The Sept. 30 auction, which will also feature two other Titanic artifacts, will mark the 30th year after the debris was discovered at the bottom of the Atlantic.

The menu was saved by Abraham Lincoln Salomon, a survivor who escaped on Lifeboat 1. It’s signed by Isaac Gerald Fraunthal, who was said to have had lunch with Salomon the day of the tragedy. He also kept a ticket from the ship’s Turkish baths, which recorded a person’s weight using a specially designed chair. There are only three other weighing-chair tickets left as far as we know, and this one is expected to sell for between $7,500 and $10,000, the report said.

The third artifact Salomon saved was a letter he received from Mabel Francatelli six months following the tragedy, estimated to bring in between $4,000 and $6,000. Lifeboat 1 was better known as the “Money Boat” or the “Millionaire’s Boat” because Francatelli’s husband, Lord Cosmo Duff-Gordon, was rumored to have bribed the crew to row away rather than saving others. The lifeboat supposedly only held a handful of first-class passengers, but had room for 40 people.

The seller claims to have received these artifacts from a direct descendant of a Lifeboat 1 survivor.

MONEY

Gas Prices Plummet in Many States, Down 30¢ in One Week

A gas attendant at a 19 Petroleum gas station pumps gas on August 25, 2015 in Woodbridge, New Jersey. Some places in New Jersey are seeing prices under two dollars as the price of gasoline continues to fall.
Yvonne Hemsey—Getty Images

After the spike in the Midwest, gas prices dip sharply.

When oil prices drop, so does the cost of filling up at the gas station. That’s how things work normally. But the exact opposite took place in much of the country in August, as gas prices soared in the Midwest—rising 40¢ overnight in some locations—despite oil prices dipping to six-year lows.

The blame for the odd, frustrating situation was cast on problems at the Midwest’s most important refinery, located in Indiana and run by British Petroleum. Now that the industry has had time to cope with the outage, prices are retreating—in some cases, almost as quickly as they shot up.

In Michigan, the statewide average dropped 32¢ per gallon over the past week. Average prices in Chicago fell around 30¢ too, though because the Windy City is so reliant on the Indiana refinery, prices remain roughly 40¢ per gallon higher compared with the rest of the state. Prices have dropped steeply in states such as Wisconsin as well, falling nearly 35¢ in Milwaukee over the past week.

The price crash in the Midwest has pushed the national average southward, reaching $2.47 as of Monday, according to AAA, down roughly 12¢ in the last week. Barring more refinery problems or other issues that could derail the current trend, the national average should keep inching toward the $2 mark this fall, as analysts have forecast.

TIME Apple

Apple Just Took a Swipe at Google With This New Feature

Apple just ad-blocked Google

Apple is setting itself up for a confrontation with Google over its talked-about ad blocking feature that is set to be introduced in its latest mobile operating system.

Apple’s latest iOS 9 will allow third-party developers to introduce apps that will enable ad blocking on Safari, its mobile browser. If millions of Apple’s mobile users utilize this for a faster browsing experience, the move could disrupt a growing $70 billion mobile-marketing business, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

This cripples revenue for publishers and tech firms that are already facing losses from present-day ad blocking. A study by Adobe and PageFair shows ad-blocking extensions in desktop web browsers result in $22 billion in lost revenue to the websites that host ads.

Any form of ad blocking on mobile devices will hit Google especially hard. A Goldman Sachs report estimated that the company earned around $12 billion in mobile search revenue, with 75% of it generated from users of iPhones and iPads. Online advertising contributes around 90% of Google’s annual $66 billion revenue.

The ad-blocking feature also doesn’t include blocking within apps, a distinction that benefits Apple, since it takes a 30% cut on money generated from apps.

“It seems like this is part of the ongoing tussle between these two entities,” Peter Stabler, a Wells Fargo analyst, told the Journal. “It’s yet another arrow that Apple can put into the ankle of Google.”

TIME Minecraft

Minecraft Inventor Markus Persson: Being a Billionaire Is Lonely

GAME British Academy Video Games Awards - London
Yui Mok—PA Wire/Press Association Images Swedish programmer and creator of Minecraft Markus Persson.

His melancholy tweets are raising eyebrows

Is it tough being a billionaire? Minecraft creator Markus Persson recently seemed to suggest he isn’t fully enjoying his financial freedom.

A series of Tweets that Persson sent out caught the attention of several members of the media, with Re/code and others claiming Persson seemed lonely and isolated while hanging out in glamorous Ibiza.

Persson, you may recall, scored a massive deal when the developer company he founded – Mojang – was acquired by Microsoft for $2.5 billion. He left the company to start his own projects, thus Persson is no longer associated with the game he created.

The deal is part of why his personal worth has been pegged at about $1.3 billion, according to Forbes.

Here’s an example of a tweet that caught the media’s attention:

After the tweets lead to national headlines, Persson on Monday chided the media, and said he’s doing just fine these days.

TIME Ashley Madison

Ashley Madison: Site Is ‘Still Growing,’ Despite Hack

Ashley Madison
Getty Images

And our women are real

The Ashley Madison website could be proof that there really is no such thing as bad publicity.

The adultery site says new users are flocking to use its service, despite an infamous hacking scandal.

Instead of being hurt by hackers publishing the private information of its more than 30 million members, the infidelity site released a statement Monday that emphasizes new growth.

“This past week alone, hundreds of thousands of new users signed up for the Ashley Madison platform—including 87,596 women,” the statement read, the last portion a response to reports that almost all the women on Ashley Madison are either bots, fakes, or inactive accounts.

The site’s parent company, Avid Life Media, also said that women sent more than 2.8 million messages on the Ashley Madison platform in the last week, and that the ratio of paying male members to active female members is 1.2 to 1.

The company didn’t offer any more details on the announcement last week, however, that CEO Noel Biderman had tendered his resignation. It also didn’t disclose whether it would still pursue an IPO, as it was rumored earlier this year.

TIME Apple TV

Apple Could Double the Cost of the Next Apple TV

Apple Launches Upgraded iPod
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

New product could include a number of new features, report says

The next Apple TV could take a bigger chunk of your paycheck.

According to 9to5Mac, the fourth-generation Apple TV could be priced as high as $149 or $199, almost double the current sale price of $69 for a third generation device. Apple TV was originally priced at $99 after its launch in 2012, and the price was reduced in March. 9to5Mac reports that Apple plans to continue to sell the third generation product as an entry-level model alongside the more powerful new Apple TV.

Much has been leaked about the new Apple TV, although the device won’t officially be revealed until an Apple event on Sept. 9, according to the report. There are hints that the new product could include a number of new features, including Siri support, a new remote control, an App Store, plus a Software Development Kit and a fresh new interface.

Apple has also reportedly been working on a “skinny bundle” where users could pay a set monthly fee to access a range of must-have programming.

TIME Autos

Here Are the Best and Worst Car Brands For 2015

A customer checks out the interior of a Lexus RX270 vehicle for sale inside a Lexus automobile dealership, a unit of Toyota Motor Corp., in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Surging borrowing costs pile pressure on the economy of the world's biggest energy exporter, buckling under the weight of slumping crude prices and the impact of the sanctions imposed over the conflict in Ukraine. Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg
Andrey Rudakov—© 2014 Bloomberg Finance LP Lexus topped the list for consumer satisfaction this year, according to latest Consumer Reports study.

Consumer Reports results are based on consumer feedback

Consumer Reports polls over 4,000 people each year to find the best and worst car brands, and the results are in for 2015.

On the whole, the results aren’t good for the automobile industry. The magazine’s American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) shows consumer satisfaction fell 3.7% this year to 79 on the index’s 100-point scale, down for a third-straight year and hitting the lowest point since 2004. The decline isn’t surprising, given the huge number of recalls—a 40% increase over 2014, according to the ACSI survey—coupled with price gains.

The five worst performing brands include Fiat, Chrysler, Jeep, MINI, and Dodge. Those brands brought up the rear, though poor consumer satisfaction doesn’t necessarily translate into lower sales. Fiat Chrysler, which owns Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler, and Fiat, posted a poor overall showing in consumer satisfaction (down 5%), yet the company’s sales have gained year over year. Last year, Fiat Chrysler sold 2.09 million cars, up from 1.8 million in 2013 and 1.65 million in 2012.

Here are the top 10 highest-rated car brands:

1. Lexus (Toyota)

ACSI Score: 84

Year-over-year change: 0%

2. Acura (Honda)

ACSI Score: 83

Year-over-year change: 8%

3. Lincoln (Ford)

ACSI Score: 83

Year-over-year change: N/A

4. Mercedes-Benz (Daimler)

ACSI Score: 83

Year-over-year change: -3%

5. BMW

ACSI Score: 82

Year-over-year change: 3%

6. Subaru

ACSI Score: 82

Year-over-year change: -4%

7. Toyota

ACSI Score: 82

Year-over-year change: -1%

8. Hyundai

ACSI Score: 81

Year-over-year change: 0%

9. Buick (GM)

ACSI Score: 80

Year-over-year change: -4%

10. Cadillac (GM)

ACSI Score: 80

Year-over-year change: 0%

TIME Frisch’s Big Boy

Get Ready for More Big Boy Restaurants

Frisch's Big Boy Sale
John Minchillo—AP A "Bog Boy" statue stands outside a Frisch's Big Boy restaurant, May 22, 2015, in Columbus, Ohio.

The restaurant chain is expanding in four states

Frisch’s Restaurants, a chain famous for its signature Big Boy burgers, will be adding more restaurants in a bid to court a younger crowd, according to a report by the Associated Press.

After private equity firm NRD Capital took over the Cincinnati-based company for $175 million, its new owners will utilize its trademark rights to the Frisch’s Big Boy franchise to expand into Tennessee, adding to the 121 outlets in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

Other plans for the chain include a “Frisch’s Big Boy 2.0” blueprint that will target youth, with shareable plates of buffalo wings and chili cheese fries, and possible growth into nontraditional locations like college campuses on the cards.

However, NRD head and interim Frisch’s CEO Aziz Hashim has been quick to reassure current customers that they were not being sidelined by new management.

“Our primary goal is to make sure our existing customer is totally taken care of,” he told AP. “So, no plan to alienate our current customer base; we want to actually make it better for them. At the same time, we want to make an effort to drive some new customers.”

The takeover by NRD was notable as it ended the family-ownership of a chain that had humble beginnings as a drive-through in 1939. Last month, Frisch’s reported it had $47 million in revenue in its fiscal third quarter, up 4.2% from the same year, but has been criticized for its thin profit margins in comparison to industry peers.

NRD Capital has been known for buying up food franchises, with Checkers/Rally’s and Popeyes units under their portfolio.

MONEY Education

12 Big Back-to-School Trends Every Parent Should Know

Essential reading for the start of the school year.

The 2015-2016 school year is upon us. Are you ready? To get up to speed, take note of a dozen trends around the country that are having an impact on what students are wearing to school, when your child has to get up in the morning for the start of the school day, how much families must chip in for class supplies and school activities, which kids are most likely to be left behind inside and outside the classroom, and more.

  • Later School Starting Times

    girl in bed sleeping with alarm clock
    Aitor Diago—Getty Images

    The CDC and pediatricians are among the many who recommend later start times for schools in order to assure that kids get enough sleep. And slowly, schools seem to be getting the message. Three-quarters of high schools in the northern-latitude states of North Dakota and Alaska begin the day at 8:30 a.m. or later, and a trickling of schools in places like Yakima, Wash., and Denver, Colo., are joining their ranks this fall. States such as New Jersey have agreed to study the impact of later school start times as well. On the other hand, nationwide, more than 80% of public high schools still start the day before 8:30 a.m.

  • Growing Extracurricular Activity Gap

    students in theater group
    Getty Images

    Over the past few decades, researchers have traced a trend they describe as “alarming”: The percentage of upper- and middle-class kids participating in the drama program, hobby clubs, and other non-athletic afterschool activities has steadily increased, while poor students have followed the opposite trajectory. In the early 1980s, participation in such activities was measured at 65% for low-income high school seniors and 73% for their wealthier counterparts. A decade later, the numbers shifted to 61% and 75%, respectively. By 2004, extracurricular participation rates for low-income seniors were down to 56%.

  • BYO Band-Aids

    150831_BTS_Trends_BandAids
    Shutterstock

    It’s not your imagination. Schools really are asking parents to buy more supplies to keep their kids’ classrooms stocked with the basics—everything from tissues to copy paper to Band-Aids. According to the annual Backpack Index from Huntington Bank, a family with three kids (one apiece in elementary, middle, and high school) can expect to pay more than $3,000 this year for school supplies and extracurricular activities. So much for the idea of a free education.

  • More and More Student Fees

    children boarding school bus
    Jamie Grill—Getty Images

    It’s not just increasing school supply lists that are pinching parents. Families are also facing new or significantly higher fees for things like riding the bus or parking a car at school, and participating in sports and other programs. Some schools simply asked students to arrive on the first day with a $50 check to serve as payment for vague “activity fees.” School districts usually cite budget cuts as the reason fees must be instituted.

  • The Lunch Lady Goes Gourmet

    150831_BTS_Trends_dietary
    Getty Images

    Forget about Sloppy Joes. Increasingly, parents and school cafeterias are catering to the dietary restrictions and preferences of young people today, with more gluten-free, organic, and vegetarian options. The cuisine at some school cafeterias is growing increasingly sophisticated as well, serving everything from butternut squash ravioli to made-to-order smoothies, and featuring bistro-style breakfasts and carving stations.

  • Free Lunch for More Students

    150831_BTS_Trends_lunch
    Getty Images

    As of the 2012-2013 school year, 21.5 million kids in American schools received free or reduced-price lunch, as part of the federally funded National Lunch Program. In most cases, free or reduced-price lunches are provided based on the student’s household income levels falling within a certain limit. And the number of students eligible for free lunch is on the rise thanks to an increased income threshold, as well as the expansion of communities that can simply forget about the paperwork and provide free lunches to all students. When 40% of the local students qualify for free lunch, the entire school system becomes eligible, allowing vast student populations in parts of Michigan, Massachusetts, Oregon, Idaho, and beyond to get free lunch at school without any stigma, and regardless of their household income.

  • Back-to-School Spending Shrinks

    school supplies
    Getty Images—iStockphoto

    Over the past decade, back-to-school spending has increased 42%, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). So the anticipated decrease in spending this season—estimated at an average of $630 per household, down from $669 last year—is perhaps more than anything else an indication that parents are realizing they’ve gone overboard in the past.

  • More School Uniforms

    Young student; school uniforms
    Getty Images—Getty Images

    One of the more interesting trends cited by the NRF for the 2015-2016 school year is that 28% of surveyed parents say their kids wear uniforms in school. That’s the highest rate ever in the poll’s history.

  • First-Day-of-School Fashion Stress

    school children chatting in hallway
    Nancy Honey—Getty Images

    According to a survey conduced for Ebates.com, a coupon and cash-back shopping site, parents and teenagers are in agreement that the most stressful category of back-to-school shopping is clothing. In the comment section of the survey, parents lamented, “My son is so picky,” and explained that “Having to negotiate what [my daughter] can and cannot wear to school” is what makes shopping for school clothing so stressful. As for what stresses out teens about clothes shopping, the two top factors cited were “My parents can’t afford what I want” and “My parents don’t agree with what I want.” No wonder more schools are resorting to uniforms.

  • Common Core Backlash

    Standerdized test
    Tetra Images—Getty Images

    The Common Core initiative seeks consistent educational standards throughout the country. That doesn’t sound like such a bad thing. But the Common Core and the standardized tests that come along with it have come under enormous criticism from conservatives and liberals alike. Many teachers and parents aren’t fans either, largely because the one-size-fits-all approach and the narrow focus on test preparation undermines the teacher’s ability to cater lessons to individual students, potentially leaving some kids in the lurch. Movements to opt out of Common Core tests have gained traction in New York, New Jersey, California, and Colorado, among other states, and according to a recent poll, the majority (54%) of public school parents say they oppose teachers using Common Core standards to set the agenda for what they teach.

  • Bye-Bye Lockers

    150831_BTS_Trends_laptops
    Getty Images Laptops in school

    As more traditional books disappear from schools thanks to e-books and web-based learning, schools are finding that there is less need for the lockers that have lined school hallways for decades. The disappearing locker trend began several years ago and has picked up steam around the country since. And what are schools doing with the extra space once occupied by lockers? Some are installing laptop charging stations.

  • Nobody Knows How to Pay for College

    College student
    Getty Images—Getty Images

    It’s a good thing that many colleges offer heavily discounted tuition via grants, scholarships, and such. After all, the vast majority of Americans say they could not afford the full “sticker price” college tuition. According to a new poll conducted for the financial services firm Edward Jones, a whopping 83% said they couldn’t afford the full cost of college for themselves or a loved one. Even among well-off respondents earning $100,000 or more annually, only 37% said they could cover the entire cost of a college education.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com