SHOCKING STUDY: Agency People Love to Talk Shit About Each Other

By Patrick Coffee 

In what has to be one of the least surprising academic surveys we’ve ever encountered, staffing company The Creative Group conducted a very serious poll and discovered a dark, well-hidden secret:

“Nearly one third (31 percent) of advertising and marketing executives interviewed said a colleague has tried to make them look bad on the job.”

It doesn’t end there, though. Dr. Gary Namie, who went to the trouble to start an organization called the Workplace Bullying Institute, broke those harassers down into groups:

  • Belittlers, who like to straight-up talk shit in front of superiors in hopes of a promotion…or something
  • Credit thieves: self-explanatory
  • Finger pointers, who always find someone else to blame when shit blows up
  • Rumor mongers, who plant gossip to tear down people they don’t like
  • Slackers, who are basically super-lazy finger pointers
  • Scorched-earth managers, who probably got promoted via nefarious means and never hesitate to demean and/or fire people who threaten their precarious positions

In short, they’re the people you know and work with every day!

The most surprising thing about the survey may be that HR’s efforts to make advertising a less unpleasant place to work seem to have succeeded: while 31 percent of respondents reported harassment from colleagues this year, that number was 50 percent in 2008. And those are only the people who chose to admit it.

There’s also a nifty little infographic outlining the ways in which agency folks should deal with all those haters. Seems that, in the past, people were straight-up starting fights in office hallways.

Today, however, would-be brawlers are more interested in filing complaints with HR.


We agree on a personal level that passive aggression is the BEST kind, but we wonder whether internal teams will really help complainers or simply tell them to shut the hell up and enjoy their six-figure salaries.

Alternately, one can simply leave spiteful anonymous comments anytime the offending executive’s name appears on this friendly web log. We’re not sure how effective that would be, but it’s probably more gratifying than emailing HR.

If you need proof that this study’s findings are accurate, we suggest three simple steps:

1) Scroll through this blog chronologically

2) Find and click on a story with more than 50 comments

3) Enjoy the hate!

Do you have any other malicious stock characters in mind? We’re all anonymous here.