Thursday, October 16, 2008

How to Make Your Boss Happy on Boss's Day

A guest entry from my boss:

Today is boss's day. How do you make the boss happy? Take her out to lunch? Give him a card? Those things are nice, but the best way to please the boss is to not be a PITA. It's really not hard--show up on time, do good work, and stay on top of your projects. Nothing makes me happier than someone who takes initiative and gets things done.

My 85-year-old father, an electrician for 35 years, talks about being complimented by his boss for good work. Dad eschewed the praise by saying, "You're paying me to do a job."

In these days of layoffs, salary freezes, and, yes, PITA bosses, it's hard to expect employees to show complete love and loyalty toward their employer. But if you're getting paid to do a job, do it. And save the pitas for that boss's day lunch.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Another Bread Analogy in Honor of Rosh Hashanah

Author Laurence Shatkin totally digs the PITA type metaphors in our book. Today he's sharing an e-mail meme that relates different types of bread to different types of sins to be atoned for:

On Rosh Hashanah, there is a ceremony called tashlich. Jews traditionally go to the ocean or a stream or river to pray and throw bread crumbs into the water. Symbolically, the fish devour their sins. A few years back some wag came up with suggestions for breads most appropriate for specific sins and misbehaviors. Although most Jews with e-mail have seen this list at least once, it may be new to a lot of your readers. Anyway, here's the list:

  • For ordinary sins: White bread
  • For complex sins: Multigrain
  • For twisted sins: Pretzels
  • For sins of indecision: Waffles
  • For sins committed in haste: Matzah
  • For sins of chutzpah: Fresh bread
  • For substance abuse: Stoned wheat
  • For use of heavy drugs: Poppy seed
  • For committing auto theft: Caraway
  • For tasteless sins: Rice cakes
  • For ill-temperedness: Sourdough
  • For silliness and eccentricity: Nut bread
  • For not giving full value: Shortbread
  • For excessive irony: Rye bread
  • For particularly dark sins: Pumpernickel
  • For dressing immodestly: Tarts
  • For causing injury to others: Tortes
  • For being holier than thou: Bagels
  • For dropping in without notice: Popovers
  • For overeating: Stuffing
  • For raising your voice too often: Challah
  • For pride and egotism: Puff pastry
  • For sycophancy: Brownies
  • For laziness: Any long loaf
  • For trashing the environment: Dumplings
  • For telling bad jokes/puns: Corn bread

Friday, September 12, 2008

PITA Boss Story: You Make the Call

Bill writes in to tell us a story of a PITA boss:

I once was required to report to a supervisor who was known throughout the company as a vicious incompetent who would sell her own mother in the street if it meant her next promotion. This person had so little grasp of workplace ethics that she called me [offensive epithet] behind my back, and was so poorly educated that when I asked her if a new company policy was a fait accompli, she flew into a rage and angrily demanded that I not speak French to her.

You make the call: What kind of PITA was this boss? How would you have dealt with her? If you said "Talk to HR," that's good. But that's what Bill did and nothing happened. He ended up having to leave the company to get away from her.

Friday, September 5, 2008

BusinessWeek on Dealing with Toxic Bosses

We found during last week's radio tour that a lot of people are especially interested in learning how to cope with toxic bosses. Bob acknowledged that having a PITA boss is particularly challenging because of the power diferential between you and him (or her). He suggested pursuing PITA interventions from the book with extra tact and respectfulness.

Meanwhile, an anonymous contributor to BusinessWeek has some great suggestions for managing a particular Crusty/Rigid Combo PITA. Read all about it here.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Penn State Live Article

Penn State University's alumni news source, Penn State Live, profiles The PITA Principle this week (read the article here).

Friday, August 29, 2008

Bob and Dulin Meet Joey Reynolds Tonight

Late-night radio talk-show host Joey Reynolds has summoned the PITA guys to New York to join his Royal Order of the Night People tonight. You can tune in to hear the interview between 10:45 and 11:45pm ET on WOR-AM 710 in New York, and syndicated across the nation. If you're like me and just don't stay up that late, you can find podcasts of past shows here.
Joey's motto (and the title of his memoir) is "Let a smile be your umbrella--but don't get a mouthful of rain." He's a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and even has his own cheesecake.
Join Joey, Bob, and Dulin tonight as they explore what makes a person a pain in the ass and how to deal with him (or her).

Monday, August 25, 2008

Radio Support Has Been Overwhelming

Well, Pita man and I have currently done 3 radio shows with the major radio tour occuring later this week on Thursday and Friday. We continue to be fascinated with how well we are being received and how much our hosts just love the topic. Its seems that practically everyone can get in touch with the hassles of working with a PITA. It was very liberating for Cynthia from Starstyle to say "pain in the ass" over the radio. We are glad we could help her over that hurdle. :-) She was a great sport! Most importantly, the radio programs are generating some incredible discussions about ways to effectively intervene with our most problematic employees, supervisors, coworkers and even clients. We are very excited to be reaching audiences all over the nation this week as we discuss the nuances of this very important topic.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Saturday with Maury

Readers in Cleveland, be sure to tune in tomorrow morning at 8am for Maury's Market on WERE-AM (1490).
Maury Feren has been a fixture on the Cleveland business scene for decades. He's best known as an expert on the food industry, but he also likes to interview book authors.
And that's where we come in. Even though our book isn't about edible pitas, we're sure there will be some lively conversation about the different PITA types!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Orndorff and Clark on Starstyle with Cynthia Brian

Be sure to listen Thursday night at 6pm ET (3pm PT) for Bob and Dulin's live interview with Cynthia Brian on Starstyle (listen to the broadcast here or look for the archived podcast on the various syndication networks listed on her site).

You're in for a treat as our authors meet personal growth success expert Cynthia Brian, whose show focuses on various topics related to lifestyle, personal growth, animals, show business, health, travel, design, gardening, finance, success, business skills, children, philosophy, and adventures.

Starstyle is part of the largest radio network in the world, with a reach of over 5.5 million listeners and currently syndicated on 13 other networks and podcasts.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Five Things the Chicago Tribune Learned from PITA

There was a very nice article by Stephanie Reynolds in yesterday's Chicago Tribune (read it here). The five things she learned from the book are these:

  1. Anyone can get along with hardworking, good-natured co-workers, but a true professional has decent relationships even with sullen, disorganized or self-centered colleagues.
  2. Emotional intelligence––a solid self-awareness of thoughts, feelings and behaviors as well as how one's actions affect others––is the basis for effectiveness in the workplace and particularly as a supervisor.
  3. Different work styles are suited for different job functions. "There are salesmen and bean-counters, those who plan the party and those who are the life of the party."
  4. It's not the job of the supervisor or co-worker to diagnose how the PITA came to be a PITA, only to develop a strategy for dealing with that person.
  5. Successful managers stay calm and confident under stress, take responsibility for errors and are able to get along with different types of people.

Friday, August 15, 2008

LeadershipNow's Leading Blog Features PITA

Michael McKinney on the Leading Blog recently wrote about The PITA Principle in his post, "Are You a PITA?" He says the "PITA" moniker has been around since the '80s, but that it still resonates today--perhaps even more so than it did then.

McKinney also includes our self-assessment for determining your own PITA type and tendencies.

You can buy the book from LeadershipNow's LeaderShop, as well as all local and online retailers.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Young Blogger's Take on The PITA Principle

Victoria, who blogs at sexy-mexy thinks..., advocates that we all recognize and embrace our inner PITAs. She likens it to the Biblical parable of removing the plank from your own eye before you try to remove the speck of dust from your neighbor's eye. She totally gets it--one of the main points of the book is that although other people might be bugging you, you might be playing a role in that and bugging others as well.

Thanks for the shout-out, Victoria!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Media Blitz Is Coming

Bob and Dulin are gearing up for their radio tour on August 27 and 28. See the sidebar to the right for stations and shows. We will add more stations as they are confirmed.

The authors will also be in New York City on August 29 for an appearance on Weekend Today in New York, as well as The Joey Reynolds Show. Be sure to tune in!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Publishers Weekly Reviews The PITA Principle

Publishers Weekly is the trade publication for the publishing and bookselling industry. We are thrilled to announce that they have reviewed our book today. Here's the text of that review:

The PITA Principle: How to Work with and Avoid Becoming a PAIN IN THE ASS

Robert Orndorff and Dulin Clark. JIST Works, $22.95 (224p) 9781593575519

Despite some self-help jargon and overuse of quotation marks, this book will educate readers about personality types and how to work with them. The authors work the PITA acronym (Pain In The Ass) in seemingly every way imaginable, for example designating people Sealed (closed-off), Crusty (grouchy) or Overstuffed (self-important) PITAs. Happily, these metaphors work, describing accurately and simply common defense reactions and how to manage. Psychologist Clark and long-time educator and consultant Orndorff are gentle in their approach, encouraging readers not to attack or dismiss difficult coworkers: “[It] helps to understand that defense reactions are to a degree shared by everyone. No one is exempt from feeling defensive.” Most surprising is the authors’ emphasis on self-reflection and accountability in their readers, offering easy-to-understand methods to change your own PITA qualities. This traditional, considerate and well-organized handbook should prove valuable for people struggling to spend their work days more peacefully. (Aug.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Perilous Time to Be a PITA

Thanks to author Laurence Shatkin for his guest post today:

According to the BLS, June was the sixth straight month in which employers trimmed their payrolls. The loss of 62,000 jobs marked the worst four weeks of job losses since 2003. As of the end of June, the blizzard of pink slips that began in January had piled up 438,000 deep. July is not expected to turn this trend around.

In a book that will be coming out in October, 150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs (JIST), I offer some pointers about how to recession-proof your career. For example, I recommend focusing on the core mission of the business rather than playing a peripheral role. I talk about the need for high productivity, visibility, and mentoring.

And I also point out the importance of being pleasant--in other words, not being a PITA. Being a PITA in a time of economic downturn can cost you your job. If I’m an employer who needs to lay off a worker, I’m going to lay off the PITA rather than a comparably skilled worker who is easy to get along with.

Then there’s the problem of finding that next job when openings are scarce. We’d like to think that a good resume will work wonders. But wrapping a soggy PITA, a crusty PITA, or any other kind of PITA in fancy paper doesn’t make it any more appetizing to employers--at least, once they’ve checked your references and found out that you don’t fit in well with co-workers.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The PITAs Made Him Do It

Today more light was shed on the situation of that San Francisco IT guy who was jailed because he wouldn't give anyone the passwords to the city's network. Why did he do it? He says he was "surrounded by incompetents and supervised by a manager who he felt was undermining his work."

So, the question becomes this: Are Mr. Childs' coworkers a bunch of Sloppy PITAs, and his boss is an Overstuffed PITA? Or is Mr. Childs just a Sealed and/or Crusty PITA?

The story goes on to explain that there is a lot of sympathy for him among his coworkers because he is under pressure because his department had suffered cuts and was demoralized.

See the full story here.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Jerks at Work

Nancy Germond writes on AllBusiness about the hidden costs of employing jerks (read the article here). The jerks described in this article (which quotes heavily from Robert Sutton's No Asshole Rule) are of the Crusty variety.

Costs associated with allowing jerks free reign in the workplace are the risk of losing other valuable employees, alienating customers, and downgrading everyone's productivity.

Although this type of PITA is the most visible, everyone knows that the workplace is filled with many other types of PITAs who can run off good employees and drag down the entire operation. They might not be throwing tantrums, but they are every bit as counterproductive as those who are.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Listen to the PITA Podcast

You can hear authors Bob Orndorff and Dulin Clark discussing The PITA Principle in their Book Expo podcast. I was eavesdropping outside the booth as they recorded it and I thought they did a great job!

Monday, July 14, 2008

PITA Now Available at Amazon

The PITA Principle is now available online from (see here). It shipped from the printer a little earlier than expected. You will be able to find it at major bookstores in August.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Obama's Emphasis on Personal Responsibility serves as a major underpinning of The PITA Principle

The Reverend Jesse Jackson’s crude remarks about Barack Obama undoubtedly resembled crusty behavior; the real story in this current saga, however, is the emphasis on responsible personal behavior – a topic which serves as the foundation and underpinning of The PITA Principle. While Senator Obama’s discourse on personal responsibility predominately resides in the context of fathering, personal responsibility serves as the springboard for success in the workplace as well. The purpose of The PITA Principle is to encourage and empower professionals to take personal responsibility for managing relationships with difficult coworkers (Pain In The Ass coworkers) and for minimizing their potential to become a PITA coworker themselves.

So, in addition to offering success stories for working with crusty coworkers, let us know what you think about the importance of personal responsibility in the workplace. I'm glad it's getting the attention that it is, for it reinforces the reason why we wanted to write this book in the first place!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

PITAs in the News: Jesse Jackson

This week the Reverend Jesse Jackson was caught muttering nasty sentiments about Barack Obama when he thought his mic was turned off. What a PITA he became for not only his son and Mr. Obama, but also the entire Democratic party!

My instant reaction was that this is classic Crusty behavior: "negative, cynical, mean-spirited, grouchy, and pessimistic." I chatted with Bob Orndorff just now and he added that this is also Sloppy behavior because he wasn't thinking through the consequences of his actions. So he might really be a Combo Crusty/Sloppy PITA.

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to deal with a Crusty/Sloppy PITA? And what tips do you have for Jesse to try and avoid being so Crusty and Sloppy in the future?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

PITA On-Sale Date

The PITA Principle will be available in retail stores on August 26, the official on-sale date for the book. Listen for national radio interviews with the authors around that date. We'll let you know when we have specific times and stations!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

BOOKVIEWS Gives PITA the Thumbs Up!

BOOOKVIEWS is an online book review site from veteran reviewer Alan Caruba. We got a nice surprise today when he posted his practically glowing review of The PITA Principle as one of his picks of the month.

Says Alan: "I would suggest, if you’re just entering the workplace or have encountered a lot of interpersonal problems in the workplace, you better get in line to buy this excellent book."

Friday, June 27, 2008

Mark Long Joins the PITA Fan Club

Mark Long is the Publisher at TSTC Publishing at Texas State Technical College in Waco. We've become cyber-friends through our blogs, and today he was kind enough to drop me a line about PITA:

I just wanted to say that I finally came across the PITA blog by way of Booksquare and it looks totally hip. I look forward to the book coming out . . . the school has an ever-rotating list of management type books for us to read so this is going to by my suggestion to add to it!

Thanks, Mark!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Blogger Loves PITA

Blogger Bill Bradley loves The PITA Principle--and he hasn't even read it yet! See what he had to say here.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Take the PITA Quiz

Want to find out what your PITA tendencies are? Take our quiz!

Monday, June 23, 2008

PITA Gets a Mention at Joe Wikert's Publishing 2020 Blog

Joe Wikert, VP and Executive Publisher for Wiley's Professional/Trade Division, has a very popular blog about the business of book publishing. He's fast becoming the voice of authority when it comes to talking about the intersection where books and technology meet. Occasionally he reviews a book there, as well. Last week I sent him an advance copy of The PITA Principle for him to possibly review, and already he's mentioning that he got it and is eager to read it (see here).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

PITA Authors a Big Hit at Book Expo

The PITA Principle authors Bob Orndorff and Dulin Clark made one of their first public appearances connected to the book a few weeks ago at Book Expo in Los Angeles. They were on hand to sign copies of the book for a receptive stream of booksellers and librarians. Many of them commented along the lines of "I need 25 copies, please--my whole office is a bunch of PITAs." One brave soul even proclaimed proudly: "I am a PITA!" You go, girl!

Here are some photos of Bob and Dulin at the event, including the one in which they met up with other famous author Jamie Lee Curtis!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The PITA-with-Chips

Thanks to our Pita blog friend, dyvingduck, we have a new PITA Type to talk about: The PITA-with-Chips: that coworker who over-uses technology as THE answer to everything. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, I believe that many professionals move too quickly to incorporate technology as the solution just because they CAN, without asking and thoroughly assessing if they SHOULD. One very common, daily example of this is using email to "discuss" important issues that need resolved. Email is a wonderful thing, but it's not always the best means of communication for each and every work situation. Sending numerous emails back and forth when trying to work out a disagreement with a coworker, for example, might be a more COMFORTABLE means of expressing oneself, but I argue it's not the most EFFECTIVE means. There's no substitute for face-to-face communication when resolving conflicts if approached in a tactful and respectable manner. You're able to pick up on non-verbal cues and read your coworker's mood when communicating in person.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Sampler Platter of Honorable-Mention PITAs

In addition to the seven primary PITA types, we've identified a bunch of other annoying PITAs you might work with. They are the following:

  • The Moldy PITA: That coworker who is resistant to change, hiding out in his or her office doing the same old, same old.
  • The Cheesy PITA: Those person who makes your stomach turn by constantly using all the cheesy, catch-phrase-of-the-year words like “synergy” or “seamless transition.”
  • The Hot-n-Spicy PITA: The coworker who is overly dramatic and highly emotional. Everything’s a major moment and a big deal.
  • The Loaded PITA: Involved in everything and can’t say “no” to anything.
  • The To-Go PITA: Similar to the Loaded PITA, the To-Go PITA is constantly on the run. The difference, however, is that the To-Go PITA isn’t on the run because he took on too much; he's on the run because he was born this way and knows only one speed: high gear.
  • The Porta-PITA: Just like a porta-potty, the Porta-PITA is full of crap. Porta-PITAs exaggerate points, embellish stories, and make lame excuses.
  • The BLT PITA: Part of the Cheesy PITA family. But instead of using annoying catch phrases, the BLT PITA annoys people by overusing acronyms, making everything sound like alphabet soup.
  • The Overcooked PITA: Belabors points, beats things into the ground, and overanalyzes everything. Due to their long-winded responses, you start to avoid asking Overcooked PITAs questions because you know it’s going to be 15 minutes before you’ll be able to get back to work.
  • The Mushroom PITA: Just as mushrooms grow best and flourish in the dark, Mushroom PITAs like to keep their coworkers “in the dark” on many topics. They do this out of insecurity and the need for power, since as you know, information is power.
  • The Edgy PITA: Frequently says things that are on the verge of being inappropriate or politically incorrect. Edgy PITAs like to push the envelope on controversial issues and delicate topics such as sex, race, and politics, making you feel uncomfortable being in their company.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Seven PITA Types

The PITA Principle presents seven primary types of PITAs:
  • The Sealed PITA: A Closed-off Coworker Who Doesn’t Want Your Feedback
  • The Crusty PITA: A Negative, Grouchy Coworker
  • The Overstuffed PITA: A Full-of-Himself Glory Hound
  • The Soggy PITA: A Needy Whiner
  • The Sloppy PITA: Disorganized and Oblivious
  • The Make-Your-Own (Rigid) PITA: Picky and Inflexible
  • The Royal PITA: A Pampered Prima Donna

Of course, there's always the possibility that your particular PITA is a combination of the preceding types, so we also devote a chapter to the Combo PITA. We end with a chapter of Honorable-Mention PITAs that serves as a bite-sized appetizer menu. (Please feel free to e-mail us at if you have suggestions for new PITA types.)

The PITA Principle gives coping strategies for working effectively with each PITA type--and tips for overcoming these tendencies in yourself.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Purpose of This Blog

  • To introduce additional PITA types: This is your chance to be creative in introducing completely new and different PITA types and descriptions not already included in The PITA Principle.
  • To share readers’ coping strategies: Although we’ve offered many strategies for working with difficult people, other people no doubt have additional ideas. We want to hear about any strategies you have found to be effective when working with specific personality types.
  • To share self-improvement success stories: It’s just as important to identify your own PITA behaviors and how you manage them. If you have been successful in curbing your PITA tendencies, how have you done so? We’d love to hear.
  • To participate in the general discussion: We’ll talk about the importance of self-awareness (an accurate understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, and motivations) to having constructive workplace relationships.

E-mail us at with your suggested new PITA types, coping strategies, success stories, and general discussion topics.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Welcome to the PITA Blog!

Do you work with a pain in the ass?
That person you work with, the one who’s always complaining about something, taking credit for your work, or constantly bragging about himself. You’ve tried to be nice and give him the benefit of the doubt. But come on: He’s being a pain in the ass and he’s making your life at work miserable. Short of gluing down all of his desk accessories or tattling to the boss, how will you cope?
Through entertaining stories and real-life work situations, The PITA Principle describes the different kinds of PITAs (Pains in the Ass) you might encounter at work—from the Crusty PITA, who hurls negativity in all directions; to the Royal PITA, who thinks he or she is entitled to special treatment. Then Drs. Orndorff and Clark expose possible motives for your coworker’s annoying ways, offer practical strategies for understanding each type of difficult coworker, and share ways to get along with them—and better yet, get the most out of every PITA.
You’ll chuckle when you realize how many of your colleagues actually match up with the PITA menu. And you’ll begin to see that maybe even you—yes, you—can be a PITA at certain times. After assessing your own challenges, you will master the tools to get along and get ahead that will lead to more success—and perhaps a little more sanity—in your career.
Ultimately, you’ll join the ranks of a different kind of PITA: Professionals Increasing Their Awareness—people who are courageous enough to look at themselves honestly, realize that no one is perfect, and be open to exploring ways to address their interpersonal and communicative deficits.