In Praise of Working Alone (or in Very Small Groups)

“Workers don’t burn out just because they work too hard. Workers burn out because of people,” state Jonathan Littman and Marc Hershon, authors of a book titled, I Hate People: Kick Loose from the Overbearing and Underhanded Jerks at Work and Get What You Want Out of Your Job.

Among those who qualify as “jerks” and “oafs” in this book are the Stop Signs, “the naysayers who block your every idea”; the Switchblades, those underhanded jerks who take credit for your work”; the Flimflam “down the hall with a snarky tendency to trick you into doing his work for him”; and the Minute Man, “who steals your time in bite-size chunks that eat up your day.”

The solution, according to Littman, a contributing editor to “Playboy” and author of two books about computer hackers, and Hershon, a branding expert and comedy veteran, is to be a “soloist” — someone who “is bold enough to create the attitude, space, and time to stretch [his] career and expand [his] life,” and who “deftly works alone or collaborates with just a handful of other talented people … while artfully deflecting all the rest.”

The authors assure us that they “like and sometimes even love individuals. It’s people we hate,” and they cite several blogs and websites that support their views of the workplace, including Anger Central, Disgruntled Workforce and Team Building Is for Suckers.

For some other views of teamwork, see:

Is Your Team Too Big? Too Small? What's the Right Number?

'One for All' or 'One for One'? The Trade-off between Talent and Disruptive Behavior

Cricket Legend Sunil Gavaskar: 'The Biggest Challenge Is to Get the Team to Believe in Itself'  

Daisy Poon, President of Ajisen China: 'Teamwork Is Fundamental'

How Culture Affects Work Practices in Latin America