Nearly every workplace has one: a truly annoying employee who gets under everyone's skin and who puts everyone into a bad mood. You may actually have entertained fantasies about him being transferred to another branch office.

The office jerk is likely to display any or all of the following behaviors: loud, out of control conversations on the phone; taking credit for work he didn't do; whining about the workload even though he never steps up to the plate to help out; having the messiest workspace in the office; trying to get other employees in trouble; and pretending to be everyone's friend but then talking about colleagues behind their backs.

6 Tips to Cope

Whatever the jerk in your office is guilty of, it helps if you can:

1. Try to keep things in perspective, says Carole Lieberman, MD, psychiatrist and the author of Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn their Secrets. No matter how annoying this person is, be thankful every day that you don't take him home with you. "At least you're not related to or married to the person and you can leave him at the office," Lieberman says.

2. If the person's behavior really becomes intolerable, discuss the situation with a couple of trusted colleagues, suggests Jonathan Alpert, a New York psychotherapist and advice columnist. "If there's a general consensus that it is a bad situation, especially if it is affecting people's morale and productivity, consider going to Human Resources," Alpert says. "HR can often be your best bet in cases like this."

3. If you are considering going to Human Resources, be sure to document as much as you possibly can about the person's behavior, Alpert says. Keeping an accurate paper trail can help you prove that your complaints about a person are valid and may prompt HR to do something about the situation.

4. Be super-kind and solicitous. In fact, "kill him with kindness," advises Lieberman. "Bring doughnuts to work and make a special effort to give the jerk one or two," she says. "It's harder for them to be obnoxious when they have food in their mouth."

5. Resolve to find something positive about the person. He may be trying to get attention at work because he's not getting much attention in the rest of his life, Lieberman says. "Try to find positive things you can give him attention for, so that you can condition him, like Pavlov's dogs, to do more of the positive things instead of being a jerk," she advises.

6. If everything else fails, practice avoidance. "See if you can move your desk, and ask to be taken off projects that pair you and him together," Lieberman says. "Change your schedule. Don't be rude, but develop an attitude of benign neglect toward the person."