by Colton Campbell

Schmuck. Most offices have one.

How do you deal with a schmuck (a Yiddish term for a contemptible person) who upsets the workplace, confuses coworkers and causes concern throughout the office?

Dr. Jody FosterA psychiatrist who’s written a book on the subject will speak at the University of West Georgia on Monday, April 9, as the next installment in the Richards College of Business BB&T Lectures in Free Enterprise series.

Dr. Jody Foster will summarize her book, “The Schmuck in My Office: How to Deal Effectively with Difficult People at Work,” during the lecture, as well as explore how and why conflict happens during an eight-hour shift.

The lecture will be held at the Townsend Center for Performing Arts at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 9. Required tickets are free and can be picked up at the box office beginning Monday, April 2.

Dr. Brad Prince, associate dean of the Richards College of Business, said the college is excited to have Foster speak on a topic that applies to employees and leaders of any organization.

“New business ventures are started in the mind of an entrepreneur, but are carried out by the people who make it happen,” Prince said. “Sometimes, the dynamics of these working relationships cause even the greatest ideas to fail.”

Prince said he’s looking forward to hearing more about how to deal with individuals whose personalities create challenges for an organization.

“Dr. Foster’s book is all about those people and how we can work with challenging individuals rather than work against them,” Prince said. “This BB&T Lecture will benefit employees at any level who work in organizations of all types and sizes.”

Foster said she plans to outline conflict resolution principles that can be taken outside cubicle walls, too.

“The workplace is just another place where people interact,” Foster said. “There’s an abundance of literature out there about dealing with conflict in a personal relationship, but we spend the bulk of our time in a day at work, where we have to deal with a whole spectrum of personality types in a professional setting.”

In her book, Foster identifies 10 basic personality types that can be used to predict how someone will react to a situation or conflict. Two basic ones she plans to highlight in her lecture at UWG are narcissistic and obsessive. Foster said a single individual can infect an entire team or company.

“If you can get your arms around these types of personalities and figure out what's driving them to act a certain way, you'll do better at work,” Foster said. “We’ve all had a conflict at work and it’s affected how we feel about going to work the next day or at least distracted us from doing our jobs, which affects productivity. That’s why I think it’s extremely important to address these issues because they can be very destructive.”

Foster is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. She serves as vice chair of clinical operations for the Department of Psychiatry in the University of Pennsylvania Health System and as chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Pennsylvania Hospital.

In addition to her current role as psychiatry professor, Foster also serves as the executive medical director of Penn Behavioral Health Corporate Services and manages the Professionalism Program at Penn Medicine as the executive clinical director. She was elected to Penn Medicine’s inaugural class of the Academy of Master Clinicians and has been named a “Top Doc” by Philadelphia Magazine.

Students, faculty, staff and community members are welcome to the BB&T Lectures in Free Enterprise series. Past speakers have included Stu Thorn, David Daniels and Stephen Young.

For more information about Foster, visit

Posted on April 2, 2018