And when I do, there is a disturbing trend that I’m seeing.
Are you seeing it? And hearing it?
It is a colossal increase in people saying nasty things about other people.
Specifically people they work with and are supposed to be getting along with in the office.
They complain. And I’m tired of hearing it.
Almost every time I’m out, my ears pick up a nasty tone from the table behind or to the right. It’s usually a table of two. Two employee members of the same department who don’t like the boss. Or the new gal in accounting.
And instead of trying to find a way to adjust or a way to succeed together, they take the easy road:
Find a sympathetic employee to commiserate with for an hour. Someone to help feed the fire.
Where rumor and innuendo are the kindling and the constant lunches and coffee breaks are the oxygen to keep the fire burning.
I can’t imagine something more toxic than two employees going to lunch, bitching about a fellow employee over a cobb salad and then returning to the office without a thought. But it happens all the time.
If the company was like a car, it would be like stabbing a knife into all four tires. And slowly letting the air out.
Sure the car will still roll. But momentum is lost. And everyone is looking around wondering why everything feels so wobbly and bumpy.
If this is true, they might as well wear a t-shirt to work that says “Negative” or “Toxic Attitude”.
Now let’s assume this happens to some extent every day in most companies. That all departments are being savaged by employees wielding conversational knives. And not realizing the damage they’ve done.
So why are these meetings happening? And is the “complain rate” as bad as I’m suggesting?
If so, what’s causing it to get so bad?
Well, gosh, let me think.
The average employee feels unhappy. Unsatisfied. Unappreciated. And the only pleasure available some days is to open up a big valve on the septic tank and take a bath in the stench of a negative conversation.
The scariest part? The tone of voice of the protagonist is one of celebration. As they detail the mistakes of the gal in accounting or there is a weird vibe as each detail is communicated. And the other party says: “I know. I hate that too!”.
So we need more people to find jobs they can truly love in environments where they feel enabled and utilized. And we need to say “no” to the toxic conversations about another employee. Not easy to do as they are very tempting.
Especially during a bad day, a complain fest probably feels like an umbrella in a rainstorm. But it’s not.
What’s your view as to why this is such a big issue? How have you reduced this toxic activity in your department?
Thanks aturkus for the great photo via Flickr
Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
Tags: bitch | breaks | cobb salad | coffee break | complain | employee | fellow | fellows | habits | ill | labor | profanity | succeed | toxic
Categories: Keeping A Positive Attitude In Life