Negative employees

How to deal with a negative workplace

Working in a negative environment can and will affect you in ways you may not even be aware. Let your guard down and it’s very easy for you to become negative too. We need to be very aware of who we mix with in the workplace so we don’t allow ourselves to take on their stuff and integrate it into our own lives. Because, the thing is, you then bring that negative energy home and dump it all over your loving family and create a negative home life also. The people you work with can turn a bright, happy day into a horrible one in moments.

However, all is not lost. There are strategies you can use to deal with toxic workmates.

The whinger

Let’s start with people who really know their job at your work but are stuck in old routines. They know the job well because they have been doing the same job for years with no promotion and no changes. They stay there often because they don’t like change yet, for some reason, they always whinge about pretty much everything. They will bail you up at the cafe machine to have a negative chat. Don’t buy into it, no matter what beef you have with workmates, because you also will become a winger very quickly. You will also be seen to agree with them even if you don’t. That could put the brakes on your career. Just be polite, make an excuse and get on with your work.


Next, let’s consider the person who sits there and does nothing. They complain they are overworked yet seem to offload their work to everyone else or not do much at all. You need to have clear boundaries to work with these people. Tell them you also have a heavy workload and would love to help but can’t; then smile and exit quickly in the opposite direction.

Social butterfly

Next comes the person who is the social butterfly and, when you look at it, there is not much work getting done. If you mix too much with these people, they will hamper your career as well. They are the type of person who may also occasionally take credit for other people’s work. Again, be nice and polite but keep socialising with them to a minimum. This type of behaviour is not good in a work environment.

Working in a negative environment can and will affect you in ways you may not even be aware.

Take care as well with your “after hours drinks” companions. Remember, management has eyes and ears. They may wonder what you are saying about them when you go have a drink with the work whinger. After a couple of beers, who knows what you might be saying and who knows how that could get back to work management. Remember, it’s good to socialise, but you are in a professional environment where sometimes walls have eyes and ears so to speak.

The backstabber

This brings me to the person to avoid at work at all costs: the backstabber. They pretend to be your friend and help when you are overloaded with work, but then they get you to talk about your personal life and next thing management and the rest of your colleagues know all about it. They gossip and try to make your efforts look bad simply because they want to be in good with the boss. Don’t be friends with these people; they are not your friends. Don’t tell them anything. The only way they will change is if they realise people don’t take them in as confidants because of the way they behave.

The drama queen

Last is the person who takes all the attention. There is always a drama happening with them, either at work or at home. These people are narcissists who have a huge chip on their shoulder and nothing is ever their fault. Be careful that you are not the one in their line of blame. Often, they could be in a management position and they pass their bad work off as yours. If you can’t avoid them, make notes or record your interaction with them in some way so that if you become their victim you have some proof to get you out of hot water.


These people don’t only exist in your work environment but also sometimes in our personal lives. It’s easier to deal with in our personal lives because, if it becomes too much, we can simply set better boundaries and not associate with them. It becomes harder if these characters are part of our family, though, as in a brother, sister or cousin. But the coping mechanisms above are a great start for helping you to protect yourself from these people on all levels.

Don’t buy into the negativity such people send your way. Send them light and love. Pray and ask the angels to come in and give them clarity for their own journey. Send positive vibes to the situation you are in instead of becoming a part of their negative quicksand because, if you are not careful, it will suck you in.

Remember, it is your decision every day what you choose to be a part of and what you decide to let go.

If you have difficulty with letting go, then seek advice from a therapist, personal mentor or trusted professional to help you move forward. Don’t let other people’s negativity become a chain around your neck because, when they decide to move on, you will be the one still stuck in the quicksand as they will have helped you create lots of your own negative stuff. Move on now while you can.

Jenetta Haim

Jenetta Haim

Jenetta Haim runs Stressfree Management at 36 Gipps Road, Greystanes, and specialises in assisting your health and lifestyle in all areas by developing programs on either a corporate or personal level to suit your needs. Jenetta has just published a book called Stress-Free Health Management, A Natural Solution for Your Health available from your favourite bookstore or online. For more information and to get in touch, visit her website at Stressfree Management.

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