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How one person’s negativity brings everyone down

How one person’s negativity brings everyone down

At some point in your career, you’ve probably worked somewhere with a miserable, grumpy co-worker.

Pessimists are plentiful everywhere you go, but it’s particularly energy-sapping when you have to deal with someone being relentlessly negative eight hours a day.

It’s easy to try and think nothing of it – after all, we all have to learn to live with each other in every environment. However, this is to ignore the very real cost that negativity has on a workplace.

Haters Problems GIF by Austin Mahone

Think of these characteristics: Always blames others for things going wrong. Hates having conversations with others. Never says “Please”, “Thank you” or “Great job”. Does it remind you of anyone?

If it does, consider how all of these factors contribute to workplace culture. It’s far more difficult to work effectively when you’re also coping with the ceaseless waves of misery from elsewhere in the office.

When you think how many resources are provided these days on healthy culture, it’s a wonder that this kind of behaviour is accepted and tolerated.

angry gordon ramsay GIF by Hell's Kitchen

As for what to do next, your options are somewhat limited. You’d be entirely forgiven for not wanting to go down the notoriously difficult HR path.

Otherwise, you can stay where you are or move to new pastures. Of course, the latter option is no guarantee of a stable workplace either.

Regardless, assuming that you are effectively stuck in a workplace with a negative co-worker, you can either have a chat with them (which is inherently risky given the potential repercussions) or learn to live with it.

Simply dealing with the negativity sounds like giving up, but think of it more like a personal challenge.

paul dano challenge GIF by BBC First Australia

After years spent in similar work environments, some people become so jaded and miserable that they feel obliged to vent their dissatisfaction with everything to anyone who’ll listen.

The goal for us is to not become like that. We know the value of a positive, effective workplace. We also know that one Debbie Downer isn’t enough to override what is otherwise a strong workplace culture.

To all intents and purposes, try and put on a happy face every day. Smiling is contagious and chances are that making an effort to make everyone in your area feel included and appreciated will have a profound effect.

This year has been tough enough already without putting up with unnecessary pessimism. Let’s all do our bit to make the office a more welcoming place instead.