Angry Guys at Work

11 May

Letterbalm Angry Man's MouthDear LetterBalm: I seem to be in the middle of a perfect storm. I work with a group of guys who have become so negative, I can’t concentrate. When they get together on a project or before a meeting, they complain about the company, the bosses, co-workers, other departments, the workload. They can really get going, including mocking and curses. When the bosses are around, they’re all upbeat and positive. I find the hypocrisy drains my energy. I’m tempted to tell them off because their bad attitude is affecting others. I need some guidance.

–Cubicle Crazy

Ms. L.B. hears from a lot of disenchanted workers, disgusted by their colleagues’ behavior on the job.  She’ll continue to offer these guidelines: Don’t fall into their badmouthing trap. Remain positive and non-committal, even if you must offer innocuous comments about the weather and sports teams. Don’t engage in toxic conversations and don’t discuss the group with others. Meanwhile, apply yourself to look for another job – make sure it’s a good one because you don’t want to sacrifice the momentum of your career for a bad choice. Get yourself out of there as fast as you can. If your company conducts exit interviews, resist the urge to come clean about your poisonous colleagues (their attitude can’t be a total secret from management).  Keep it positive, dignified and brief:

Thank you for the chance to meet. I will keep my comments brief. I learned so much from this company, and I believe I contributed value. I’ll take my experience into my next job. I’ve grown so much in my five years here, and I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity to begin my career at such an excellent organization.


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