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Sick of negativity

Dear Asad,

I am a 25 years old guy who just started working in a multinational company a few months ago. This is my first job after completing my studies. I have started at a good post and the future prospects look very promising.

There is one problem though. The culture of my workplace is quite negative. There are many negative people in my office who are always grumbling and complaining about something or the other. I like my work, I enjoy it and have no reason to complain about anything or feel negative about my company. But the constant complaining of other is getting me down and I have begun to feel stressed. I definitely don’t want to leave this job as there are many opportunities for me in this company but at the same time I don’t want to stay and work in the current negative work environment. What should I do? Shall I complain about these negative people to my senior manager? Do you think that would be helpful?

Sick of Negativity

Dear Sick of Negativity,

The moods and thinking of negative people are pervasive – nervous energy, anger, sadness, complaints, and clinginess – a view of the world constantly tinged with negativity. And if you happen to be caught up with negative people daily in your life, by letting their negativity get to you, it can erode your own sense of self and deflate even the most optimistic outlook. Constant negative emotions can lead to illness and a shortened lifespan – negative people are not healthy for themselves or for you. And since misery loves company, miserable people will try to drag you into their fold; however, take charge of defending yourself and learn how to break free from negative attitudes around you, to sustain your healthy, fulfilling, and optimistic outlook.

The atmosphere in your workplace is negative. This negativity can be because of varied reasons but it will have an impact on you because on the average an individual spends about 40 to 60% of time during weekdays at work place. Here are few steps to deal with negativity at workplace:

  1. Look into the reasons for the current situation. The reasons can be because of external influences like unhealthy competition, bullying by colleagues at work place, unsupported boss, difficult client, technical issues etc. You can visit the sequence of incidents which had led to the situation. Jotting down the points or incidents will help you analyse the situation. Also this jotted list can be used for discussion with the people concerned.
  2. Try to get to know negative people a little better. Talk to them. May be they are not aware of it. Make them aware of it. Ask them why they are so negative. People who are negative usually have self issues, such as confidence or low self esteem. Talk to them and ask them what’s wrong, and find a way you can work around their negativity.
  3. Try to bring positivity in their life. Perhaps there is something that you could do that would make them happy and not be so negative. Find out what that is and if possible, do it.
  4. Listen selectively when engaging in any conversation. Seek to hold onto the positive and constructive aspects of any conversation. Train your mind to consciously throw out the bad essence of the conversation. It becomes a matter of choosing what it is you wish to dwell on; allow the good side to hold stronger for you and to serve as the thoughts you focus and ponder on. When a negative person starts getting really trying, return positive energy through positive words or suggestions that are supportive. Doing this creates a space between you; while the other person may be internally struggling to refute to your positive insistence, it is clear to them that you aren’t going to be won over to the dark side!
  5. If all else fails then avoid them. Ignore negativity. For example, if you are at work and you are in a group and they start going on about how bad the job is, just walk away or listen to some music instead. Disengage yourself from their company politely by minimizing contact until a healthy distance can be maintained. You need this time to ponder and reflect on saving and preserving yourself, drawing on the optimism, hope and positive energy you have within.
  6. Remind yourself (silently) that you are a wonderful, unique, kind, helpful, special person. Keep repeating this to yourself in your head as you talk to that person.
  7. Remember to realise that just because someone else is negative does not mean that you have to be. Realize that your life is positive and that you are in control of your emotions. Do not let their negativity rub off on you. Maintain a positive attitude no matter what.

Talking to your senior manager could help but do it in a tactful way. Instead of downright complaining about the negative people in your office, suggest ways to make the atmosphere more positive in your office. You could do this by volunteering to organise a workshop on positivity. You could call in an expert who can come in and give helpful tips on how to avoid negativity and be more positive in life. Not only would this be helpful in improving the atmosphere in your office, you would also get credited as being someone who is proactive and encourages a good working environment; qualities that senior management is always looking for in their employees.