So you’ve decided to return to work or make a new career move and you’ve suddenly found yourself in a situation where you have to deal with a toxic co worker(s). If you are wondering if your co worker is toxic…read my article on 7 Signs Your Co Workers are Toxic. If you’re wondering what you should do at this point one of the best things is to stay neutral. Staying neutral in a toxic work environment isn’t easy but it is possible. When there are co workers who have built up bitterness and toxicity within their work relationships generally that is already pre-existing before you ever come into that environment. So one of the most important things to remember is that you have nothing to do with their internal battles. You’re there to do one thing. Your job and to do it well. One of the easiest strategies to stay away from toxicity at work is to avoid those people. Yes be polite and courteous. Be professional. But don’t pay attention to their negativity. FOCUS on your work. Your work ethic doesn’t have to be affected because of the chaos that can come with a highly competitive workplace. That being said, when you’re in a competitive work environment often times that can foster bitterness and strategic moves by other co workers to make you look bad or to set you up for failure. Other times a work environment is toxic because the people are just that. Toxic. And they feed off of toxicity, negativity and drama. Don’t be sucked in to the game. Here are some ways to help guide you through this.
- Keep organized and focused on your work.
- Avoid fostering close relationships. Unfortunately, this is a hard one and very unfortunate but necessary. There are so many amazing places to work and a big part of those businesses being so amazing is that they have created a close knit, trusting, and wonderful relationship among their employees. This not only makes the work environment a great experience but it helps the company grow toward their goals because everyone is working together. Sometimes though this just isn’t a reality for some work environments and so you just have to stay in your own zone.
- My grandma always said “Kill em’ with kindness”. Smile and keep smiling. Be polite and let them know they have no effect on you. Even when they are blatantly rude or have sarcastic comments. They’re only displaying how they truly look on the inside.
- Make a difference by staying positive and being yourself. You may not be able to have such an impact that the entire office atmosphere shifts, let’s be real. But whatever you do, don’t let others plant the seed of bitterness or gossip in your heart. Believe me they will try. Choose to rise above it. And if you happen to get caught up in it or slip, take a moment to reflect on that and challenge yourself to do better.
- Practice self care at work. I don’t expect you to set out a massage table and have wine and a full on spa treatment. But do your research on the benefits of essential oils (see my article on the amazing benefits of essential oils), breathing techniques, yoga, and keep your Bible or inspirational reading close at hand or in your desk for easy access for a quick pick me up. With a toxic co worker there is an abundance of tearing others down, passive aggressiveness, destructive gossip, and negativity. When you are surrounded by this daily it can really start to drain you and effect your own self worth. I personally think this demoralizing effect is the biggest danger to staying long-term in any toxic environment, and to combat this you will have to find ways to daily remind yourself that you are not a reflection of your current surroundings. Placing positive and uplifting quotes on the wall of your office or cubicle that will help keep your spirits lifted can be very beneficial. Its amazing what you can do on your lunch break to help release yourself from the negative energy. Go for a walk. Close your door and do some yoga. Listen to music. Aggressively sniff some lavender. You’ll get through this!
- Lastly, don’t take your work home with you. Meaning don’t take any of the crap that happens at work and bring it home to take out on your family or friends. Go ahead and vent to your bestie or to your partner. But remember they are the ones that love you and look forward to seeing you when you get home. Make the best of the time you have with them and don’t let a toxic environment or work relationship ever steal that time away from you. It is imperative that you learn to separate the negativity you are swimming in daily from your moments of peace and joy in your home life.
I hope you find these suggestions helpful. I would love to hear any other suggestions or personal tips! Please share them 🙂
Fair Minded Mommy