Holy 2020 Canna Fam! What an absolutely insane year this has been. Between natural disasters, a pandemic, protests against racial injustice, losing many influential people, an election, and many more factors; nobody can say this has been an easy year. While dealing with everything this year has thrown at us, it is even more important to be making sure we are doing everything we can to avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety. For many people, the amount of negativity we tolerate on the daily can be excessively high. Unfortunately, when this is a factor in your work environment, it is a little harder to continue to tolerate something when you dedicate a majority of your time to it. With this blog, I challenge you to make a change within yourself to improve your work environment. While sometimes walking away completely will be the right answer, there are also other ways to contribute to a positive work environment and to no longer accept toxic behavior within that work environment.
One of the great things about being a human is that we are in control of our actions, and our reactions. While it has taken me a long time to learn this, not everything that we come across deserves a reaction. I cannot tell you how many times I have been in an excellent mood, just to let someone ruin it because they themselves are not having the best day. When you are working with people, it is important to understand that not everyone handles stress the same. While you may be able to professionally handle the level of things that get put on your plate, others may not cope as well being given the same amount of work. As an outcome, the overall office vibes can become pretty stressful. Now, I know for some it may be easy to assess from that example that the person who does not cope well should possibly choose another job. While I would not entirely disagree, I also think there are other solutions to lessen high stress environments. For me, I find a TON of joy in music. I also find it to help with my overall productivity most days. On days where others are just simply being a “buzzkill”, grab a pair of headphones and put on a song that gets you in a great mood. Sometimes we take a bad moment and turn it into a bad day by feeding into the toxic behavior, but by ignoring it and creating your own mood, you can avoid the negativity altogether.
Another favorite of mine to keeping things positive is “killing someone with kindness”. I was taught from a young age that even if someone wasn’t the nicest to me or I didn’t really like them that I should still be kind always. I have a few choices when a customer calls me having a bad day and are fully prepared to take it out on me: A) Act Defensive, B) Apologize, or C) Kill them with kindness. When I try and respond to hostility with love, it is pretty amazing to see the hostility fade, at least in the majority of cases. For most of us, when we are possibly projecting, it is usually in reaction to something (or somebody). If you encounter someone already frustrated, and then you also react frustrated, it tends to never end well and cause a spiral effect instead of deescalating the situation. Now, on the other hand, if your kindness is not responded to well, then I do recommend letting that person know that you will not tolerate being spoken to that way so you at least have established a boundary to what you will allow in that work relationship. It should be the bare minimum to want to go to work each day and be treated with decency and respect.
I feel like in every toxic work environment, we all have that one person we can open up to or talk to. Now unfortunately if you are unhappy at work, this can lead to a huge negative gossip fest on the daily with this person. However, sometimes it can be good to have somebody to vent too that understands your situation. It is just important to be cautious of how much time you spend trash talking, and how much time you spend actually offering up positive solutions to the problems you have. To take this a step further, depending on how bad the toxicity of your environment is, sometimes it becomes important to speak to someone in charge. While I know the fear can be legitimate when throwing any of your coworkers under the bus to your boss, but it also becomes concerning when you cannot walk into work without experiencing anxiety or stress due to the members on your work team. If you have someone professional and respectful in charge, I guarantee your voice will be heard, and more importantly the situation will most likely be handled. If your concern is with the person in charge, and you do not have another outlet, unfortunately I would recommend walking away completely. This industry is extremely small, and you risk more by your work being affected negatively in a toxic environment, then you would be leaving a job that no longer fills your cup.
If you have ever found yourself being fed up enough to finally leave a bad job, you know the joy and relief you feel when finally joining a new healthy work family. If you have been around negativity long enough, you may actually find yourself waiting for things to get bad or for somebody to yell at you again. If this is the case for you, this is the perfect opportunity to recognize your role in that past toxic work relationship you have just left. Sometimes when dealing with toxic people, it is easy to pick up and match this behavior. You may find that you have increased your amount of shit talking, or you show up to work expecting the worst, or just maybe you feel a little more negative than usual. A toxic work environment can continue to have an impact on you after you have even left it if you do not stay present with yourself. It is always healthy to check ourselves and recognize any toxic traits we might have carried on from the experiences we have gone through.
Accountability is extremely healthy, and it allows us to take our negative situations, and turn them into positive lessons. Like I said in the beginning, I challenge you to change your work environment if you are currently unhappy. Only you know if the right choice is simply a much-needed conversation, “killing someone with kindness”, or possibly just leaving altogether. If you are in this situation, know that you are not alone, and that I am hiring (only kind of kidding). 2020 is hard enough without us hating our jobs on top of it all. Cheers to choosing an environment full of positivity, kindness, love and overall peace.
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