How can I rise above the nasty people I work with?

Hi Sharon -

I love your site!

My issue is that I am surrounded by nasty, sarcastic and sometimes, just downright mean people at work. If I was responsible for attracting these people to work with, I need to know how to stop. It is increasingly hard for me to go in everyday, wondering what drama will unfold.

In the meantime, I dream of operating a successful on-line business from home, to not only get away from the negativity, but to spend my time tending to my home and family, especially my young son.

Any advice or insights that can help me through this?

Thank you!!

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Aug 06, 2011
Rise Above The Negativity
by: Sharon

Mary, thanks so much for your compliment and also for reaching out for help. I'm sure many people have this problem.

I understand where you're coming from. It is very draining constantly being in that type of environment.

Understand that these people are probably very unhappy within themselves which is why they behave the way they do. They more than likely believe that to build themselves up requires they tear someone else down. But, as you know, they are just tearing themselves down in the process.

As such, they deserve your sympathy not condemnation because their lives will continue as they are unless they change.

So, how do you rise above it?

By changing your focus. Get very clear on WHY you work there.

My guess is that your answer will be something along the lines of "because I need the money." Now while that's true money, despite popular opinion, is not a very good motivator and nor does it inspire people to do great things.

This means you have to delve a bit deeper and describe what having that money means to you. Also feel gratitude that the workplace gives you the opportunity to earn the money that enables you to _________ (you fill in the blanks but some example might be).

  • food, clothing and shelter which means my family and I are safe and comfortable

  • extras for having fun which means I can afford to take my young son to fun places, or go to the movies with girlfriends every couple of weeks

  • save money each week to put towards my internet business which means that I can work from home and spend more time with my family

So, while your focus is on feeling gratitude for the opportunity to work there because it's actually helping you achieve what you want; and your focus is on the end result of having money your focus CANNOT also be on all the bitching and sniping that is going on around you.

Our minds simply are not capable of focussing on more that one thing at once.

At first, you'll find it extremely difficult to change your focus but that's OK - don't worry about it because it takes practice.

Every time you find yourself getting caught up in the negativity just gently move your focus back to gratitude and the end game of WHY.

And just so you know - I don't know if it's even possible to always be in a state of gratitude so don't beat yourself up AT ALL for any slip ups.

And keep your dream in the forefront of your mind, but just keep it to yourself until it begins unfolding in the physical world because dreams are fragile and easily broken.

You'll have many people (and they'll even be well intentioned) explain the reasons why your dream can't possibly work. What they're really explaining is why your dream wouldn't work for THEM. So, just to be safe, be very careful who you share your dream with and certainly don't tell anyone at work about it.

Hope all this has been helpful.


Aug 06, 2011
Nasty Co-Workers
by: Anonymous

Wow, Sharon, thank you. This is just about the best advice I could ask for.

I try not to get pulled into the negativity, but it is really hard not to when you're surrounded by it for 40 hours a week from so many different angles.

I am very grateful for my lunch hours, where I can get out of there and clear my head, so I do try to focus on things other than the bad vibes.

I really have to put your advice into practice in terms of not beating myself up for slipping up and letting it get the best of me, which I tend to do. I hate that I am constantly giving my control to them, and letting their rotten attitudes affect my mood, productivity and feelings in general.

I have printed out your response and will keep it with me. I have decided that every time I feel myself getting sucked up into the nastiness, I will grab my sheet and read it, which should really help make it easier to regain my proper focus. I hadn't thought in terms of WHY I am there other than for money - and this is a very helpful redirect.

As for my dreams of being my own boss, I really don't share these ideas with others. What I do know for sure is that one day, my dreams will be realized and I am taking action towards this goal every day. Sometimes I get frustrated that it is taking so long, and that may be part of my problem in wanting to get out of there so badly but am feeling trapped at this time.

Anyway, thank you very much for the great and helpful comments that I can and will use.

I'll report back within the next couple of weeks to let you know how things are going. I feel better already!

Warmest regards,

Jan 30, 2012
Very Helpful.
by: H

I am bookmarking this to read while I am at work making money to save for my husband and I's future child. I only have to work here long enough to pay off my debt, then to save a bit for baby expenses. Then, I'm blowing this popisicle stand.
Thank you for your words of great wisdom and heartfelt advice. It is very appropriate and also very thoughtful.

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