For the last year and change I have been dealing with the most toxic coworkers! I, like most people, prefer a positive work environment but some folks love to bring the drama at all costs. If you care about your job, it is very hard not to bring that toxic energy home. Lately, there have been some mind-boggling disagreements at work that has left me mentally and emotionally exhausted. If you find yourself in a similar situation…here are some tips to help you maneuver out of the mess and keep you running towards your peace of mind! 10. DRAMA FROM HOME BROUGHT INTO WORK! The toxic coworker is almost always transferring negative energy that is really coming from their personal lives. I have seen it time and time again…folks getting a divorce or just going through a breakup and a simple good morning from a friendly coworker can turn into World War 2! ? Ladies and Gentlemen (referring to the toxic folks here) keep your personal lives AT HOME or at least outside of the work place! I am so sorry your man or woman left you but that has nothing to do with the rest of us! Most of us just want to earn our paychecks in peace! ??Keep that soap opera mess to yourself! And if you are feeling extra unlovable because you are not able to find somebody who loves your ass…you may want to start working on yourself!!! Your coworkers have nothing to do with your loveless personal life. Check that shit at the door. 9. WITH AGE DOES NOT COME WISDOM! Do you remember my coworker, Poison Ivy, that I mentioned in my last corporate America blog? The one with all the dents in her face that is in her 50s but looks 70s?! ? You would think she has better things to do than gossip about me but she doesn’t. I often walk into a room…finding her at the tail end of talking about me to new coworkers. Child…. I thought with age comes wisdom? I guess not because that’s really some high school mess to spend most of your work day gossiping about folks! Check yourself! It seems the older SOME folks get….the messier and the more bitter they get. Everyone is competition for them (referring to bitter older folks but not all older folks). Ivy hates me because I am a beautiful young black woman who is educated and confident. I can’t help her with those dents in her face! Child…I have better things to do like preserve my beautiful chocolate skin so I don’t age like Ivy. ?? 8. THERE WILL ALWAYS BE FOLKS THAT DO NOT LIKE YOU AT WORK! No need to be a people pleaser because sometimes just your breathing will have folks at work hating on you! ?? Like…can I live? There have been times I issued an apology to a coworker (who was totally undeserving of it) for the sake of keeping a positive work environment. What I have noticed is five minutes later…those same people are back to gossiping about me to other coworkers and my boss. ??♀️ The lesson here is…that if your coworkers decide they are going to exhibit toxic behavior towards you…no amount of “niceness” can fix that. All you can do is if it escalates to an unsafe level…report them to your Human Resources Department, your boss, and/or the police if need be. Some folks are really that unbalanced that they may try to physically harm you. This is totally unacceptable behavior at work and in life! ✌?7. YOU CANNOT CONTROL THE GOSSIP MILL! It is terrible when rumors are consistently being spread about you but what can you really do? If you report every single bad thing you ever heard about yourself at work you may come off as petty and messy to your boss. When gossip is flying around, you really have to pick and choose which ones you follow up. Anything threatening your job and/or life is worth reporting but other smaller issues (you have to be the judge of what issues are small) you have to let roll off you back. 6. DOCUMENT ISSUES! If you aren’t sure what issues are big and small, I suggest starting a journal using your own personal paper that documents dates, times, and incidents with your toxic coworkers in case all the information together rise to the level of reporting. I have done this twice in my life and both times my well documented notes came in handy. One time I spent a year documenting the racists behavior of my Associate Director towards myself and other coworkers. ONE YEAR! ?? Other people had reported her many times for single racist incidents. No formal investigations were ever held (to my knowledge) prior to me reporting her. Thus, she got away with firing black and brown people for no reason for YEARS until there was me. I was always on time and so great at my job that I got promoted in my department and was now under a different Associate Director. However, that did not stop me (promotion or not) from reporting her racist behavior! A year’s worth of incidents mentioning dates, times, and persons involved were taken very seriously by my Director and my Human Resources Department! ?? 5. READ YOUR HUMAN RESOURCES MANUAL! Every employer should have a written harassment and discrimination policy in place. They should also have a procedure listed of how to report these incidents. Make sure that you read those sections before formally reporting a coworker or boss. Following procedures will ensure that your complaints are taken seriously. In my work example from number 6, all the previous reports to my Director had been made verbally which according to our manual…he did not have to report them to Human Resources. My complaint, however, was written and well documented…and emailed to my Director five minutes before our scheduled meeting. Thus, by following my HR manual, my Director had no choice but to report his friend, my racist Associate Director! 4. BAITING! Understand that when folks do not like you…they will try to get you to act up at work. They may bait you into conversations that seem positive at first but are meant to be a negative transference of energy! If you can, try to avoid conversing with toxic folks at work unless you have to. Last week I had a similar situation occur at work! It was so frustrating to me to think my negative coworker was turning a positive page only to get further trapped into her negative bully energy! ? Do not be fooled! “A leopard hardly ever changes its spots!” This phrase applies just at much at work as it does in life. If you are baited into a negative conversation, take a deep breath, stop talking, smile, and politely excuse yourself from the mess! 3. DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN GOSSIP YOURSELF! You did not like it when people were gossiping about you, therefore when you get the chance…shut down any ounce of gossip that makes it to your desk! Remember that “a dog that gives a bone also carries a bone.” Meaning if coworkers are gossiping about someone with you…they sure will be gossiping with someone else about you! And if that phrase does not ring true to you…remember to “treat others as you would like to be treated!” This will help minimize the gossip mill. 2. HOLD YOUR HEAD UP HIGH! No matter what…always hold your head up high and handle yourself professionally when coworkers are aiming low by gossiping about you or are sabotaging your work. The negative trolls want you to step out of character and act a fool. Do not allow them to steal your joy and your peace of mind! ?? I know this is easier said than done but you must try. Negative coworkers are going to be in every work setting. You cannot hide from them. All you can do is try to rise above it. And trust me…I know that’s hard. 1. THIS IS ONE SCENARIO WHERE IT IS THEM…AND NOT YOU! We have all heard that famous breakup phrase “it’s me not you.” Lol. Generally, this means the person breaking up with you wants to take the easy route on dumping you so they put all the “weight” of what went wrong on themselves instead of having an honest conversation about why the relationship is no longer working for them. ?✌? In an employment environment where you have to constantly deal with gossipy and backstabbing coworkers…I am here to tell you…it’s them not you! For one to be so messy at work they must be suffering from narcissism, low self esteem, jealousy, or self hate…or perhaps even suffering from all of the above! ? You may never know why toxic coworkers exist and the good news is it does not matter. Leave them in their own mess and protect your peace of mind. ?? ~KJM guiding you through the Land of Pimps and Hoes on Charm School Monday?