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Dealing with negative co-workers....
7

Dealing with negative co-workers....

Dealing with negative co-workers....

(OP)
What is the best way to deal with negative co-workers without becoming negative yourself?

The work environment I'm at now has quite possibly the lowest morale I've ever witnessed at a company I've worked for.

The workforce has been halved, we have had a few changes in management (one of the operations manager was fired and subsequently rehired a few days later) and the owner who is extremely demanding about things makes some decisions that are causing a great deal of stress for the employees. He can get very angry at employees at times and has done some things that have created what might be considered a hostile workplace.

Throughout all this, I do my best to remain calm and get my work done and forget about it. It becomes quite difficult however when I hear people complain vocally about some of these things, as it tends to infect me with their negative moods.

It has gotten so bad that after work I don't even want to go to the local pub with co-workers because I know I'll be subjected to two more hours of complaints.

I try to put my own spin on it, basically do your job and get out of there. I feel there isn't much one can do to influence management in a situation where they fire people at a drop of a pin.

Just thinking out loud on this, Have any of you been in a situation like this? I am trying to be as stoic as possible about it.

RE: Dealing with negative co-workers....

Look for an other job.

RE: Dealing with negative co-workers....

I agree with Melko.  The best time to look is also when you are at least currently employed (do the search on your own time though).  I have noticed that some hiring managers tend to attach a bit of a stigma to someone who had been laid off.  "There was a reason this individual was let go compared to others".  Since you mentioned that the source of negativity starts at the top, there is little you can do to directly change things.  The mindset of the plant owner will need to change from confrontive to communicative.

Regards and good luck,

RE: Dealing with negative co-workers....

Do what you can to stay focused on your work and do it well. Ignore what others are saying. At the same time, keep your eyes/ears open for another job.

RE: Dealing with negative co-workers....

4
Looking for another job may sound like a good idea, and I would certainly keep that as an option, but here we are talking about basically your well being until and if you get out of there.  How are you behaving when you are around your co-workers?  Are you avoiding them?  "It has gotten so bad that after work I don't even want to go to the local pub with co-workers because I know I'll be subjected to two more hours of complaints."  Are you getting frustrated when they talk to you about the situation, which is from what I understand all the time?  Why don't you try a different approach?  Why don't you try to bring in some positive thought for a change.  Instead of getting to work thinking: Oh, no... I am going to hear about it over and over again...   Why don't you go in with the thought that: TODAY IS MY DAY AND NOBODY CAN UPSET ME!   Why don't you try and make them happier instead of letting them make you more miserable.  When they start complaining to you, say that since there is nothing that YOU can do to change the situation you will not let that ruin your day.  Once they get to see that you do the same job as they do BUT you are a happy person, they will start changing too.  Slowly.  The main thing is not to bring that attitude home.  As it stands, you have nothing to lose.
Good luck!  It worked for me

Coka

RE: Dealing with negative co-workers....

Coca,

Very good advice --- I am in the same type of environment as EngineerDave and I find myself getting involved in the negativity along with the rest. I try to do exactly what you outlined in your post and it works for a short time. But by lunch time I feel like I have been in an area subjected to saturation "negativity" bombing. I can feel the frustration and even anger at times welling up inside.

I am personally looking for another position as I don't think you can undo the damage when the groceries are already infected with mold.

ietech

RE: Dealing with negative co-workers....

ietech,
Do you have a child or a grandchild?  Do you have a dog or a cat?  Is there something that when you think about it is making you extremely happy?  For me there is.  I have on my desk a photo of my niece, and I have on my computer my two dogs as the background image.  There is nothing in this world that can make me upset when I am thinking about them.  So what do I do when I get so upset that fume could be coming out of my ears?  I call to see how my niece is...  Life is too small to let your negative co-workers or anybody else get to you like that.  What do you do at lunch hour?  Do you eat with your co-workers?  If you do, take a break from them.  Check the news on the internet, plan your next vacation, plan to take up tai chi or whatever you may find interesting.  I have to go somewhere or do something different at least once a month.  One month, it is going to be a weekend up north, the following month, I will spend the weekend with my niece, the month after, I will have people from out of town over and so on.  And at least once every year, max two years, I have to go on vacation for a week.  And things like that my friend are making everything seem soooo much better for me then for everybody else.  I cannot stress enough to everybody who will read this post the importance of doing something like that.  It is as vital as breathing the air.  It is your sanity, it is your health, take care of it!  You can do it!

Coka

RE: Dealing with negative co-workers....

On more than one occasion, I have told coworkers that I don't have time for their negative B.S.    I do my best to keep my personal B.S. from fouling my coworkers' work environment.  I insist they do the same for me.

"Great ideas need landing gear as well as wings."--C. D. Jackson
http://www.EsoxRepublic.com

RE: Dealing with negative co-workers....

Let's see here... the workforce has been halved, coupled with management changes and an owner whose behavior is erratic and abrasive.  Sounds like your company is circling the drain.  Get a new job.

In the meantime, here's a couple of survival tips from someone who's been there twice.  Do not allow yourself to be drawn in to whine fests.  Do your job and do it well regardless of anything else.  Sitting around complaining will not accomplish anything useful and could cost you your job.  Document everything.  Documentation is the only thing that can save you when a scared and capricious manager decides to offer your head up on a platter.  Everything is about the numbers.  Don't get caught up in politics.  Survive it until a better opportunity comes along.  Good luck!

RE: Dealing with negative co-workers....

Coka,

Thanks again for the great advice.

Yes two grandchildren, three children a dog and still have a young daughter and a dear wife at home.

The things you mention do help alot --- but to my chagrin reality in the workplace always seems to muscle its way into the picture.

One thing works well for me --I NEVER take work PROBLEMS home with me or even think about them. I will, occasionally work at home, there it is actually easier to accomplish work because I can leave all of the negativity and similar problems behind.

Respectfully

ietech

RE: Dealing with negative co-workers....

COKA -

Very good approach and advice. I follow as best as I can to keep a positive attitude. It works out great! Besides, a smile and a good attitude can be very contagious. Plus it keeps the co-workers wondering why I'm in a good mood.

I keep my attitude by remembering what I'm working for: kids, family, dreams, etc. A negative attitude would only bring me down and cause me to lose sight of the things that make me happy (been there, don't want to go back).

RE: Dealing with negative co-workers....

(OP)
Great tips from all, I appreciate the feedback.

What's most important is our own reactions to stress, but as far as looking for another job, that is important in the big picture. I think it is important to know when to look for a new job as compared to when to tough it out. People need to judge that based on alot of factors.

RE: Dealing with negative co-workers....

As one of the 'negatives' I don't like the attitude of people who are negative to the people who are being negative. Two negatives might be seen as a plus when you're outside the bracket but in reality only adds to the problem.
Being negative at work is a team effort where the group can focus and moan about their problems, and anybody else who is out of the room at that time. Not joining the negative focus group at the pub is a mistake as basically you're treated as 'not being in the room'.
Join the group and invite the owner of the company along too. It's surprising to hear them moan about their middle managers. Listening to their staff also complaining about them will generate a sense of togetherness. You'll find that people who have suffered together are much closer.

corus

RE: Dealing with negative co-workers....

engineerdave

In times like this, I am reminded of the story of the sparrow.  It goes like this:

When Winter came, most of the birds flew South, to warmer climates.  One little sparrow ignored this practice and decided to stay put.  Winter set in and the days got colder and colder.  The sparrow found it harder to find food and started to have difficulty fying.  At this time, the sparrow decided to fly South and took off in a Southerly direction.  During the flight, when the sparrow was directly over a farmer's field, its wings froze and the sparrow fell down onto the field.  The sparrow started to freeze to death when the farmer's cow walked by the bird and crapped all over the sparrow.  The warmth of the cow's crap thawed the sparrow's wings and made the bird feel preety good and the bird started to sing.  The bird's singing was overheard by the farmer's cat who pulled the bird out of the crap and promptly ate the sparrow.  Now for the moral of the story:
1)  Anyone who gets you in crap is not necessarily your ememy.
2)  Anyone who gets you out of crap is not necessarily your friend.
3)  And most important, when you are warm and happy in a pile of crap, "keep your mouth shut".

This should lighten your day!

ubrales

RE: Dealing with negative co-workers....

Or,

Non illegitimus carborundum

RE: Dealing with negative co-workers....

"What is the best way to deal with negative co-workers without becoming negative yourself..."

I always like to tell a joke or point out an amusing story from the daily news papers and in time the negatives of my fellow workers always seem to melt away...smile be happy and above all don't let the system grind you down..and if you do decide to find another job and are successful don't tell your new co-workers how miserable you were at your last job...tell them a joke and smile.

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