DON’T BE DISHEARTENED, YOU CAN & WILL SURVIVE A MEAN CO-WORKER…
One day my kids will be in the workforce and I am hopeful they will work alongside some creative, smart, brave, and kind people. I am also confident they will at some point have to work with a jerk. I’ve been in my profession for 20 straight years, 7 states and 7 newsrooms by my choice… and I can count on ONE hand the mean people I have called co-workers. That is a huge blessing. In another way, that fact makes it’s especially difficult when I encounter a guy or gal that I find impossible to be around.
Well, I am here to say, YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOUR MEAN CO-WORKER. For all of you nice girls out there, I share this because I don’t want you to give up. Don’t let one unkind human, ruin you.
Once upon a time, I was forced to work with a real diva. Capital D. Even though she was only in her 20’s, she “knew it all.” And she made it crystal clear she did not want any constructive criticism from older, more experienced co-workers. And if entitled and cocky wasn’t bad enough … she lied about her age, her experience, and her accolades. More than anything, she was fake. Nice acting, Jesus loving, and friendly publicly… but secretive, rude, and defensive when cameras were off. At one point, she told me would never like me because I didn’t have enough melanin in my skin. The times I tried to help her, she rejected my guidance. That stung because I think I’m a teacher at heart. If you are wondering, yes … I held her accountable for the lousy way she treated people and addressed many of these things but that just made work life worse. For months, I was nauseated going into the office. For the first time in my life, I felt high levels of anxiety … even talking to friends about quitting because I couldn’t stand the negative energy.
If you truly know me, this is rare. I pride myself in being a positive and happy person, but for months and months, I dreaded each day. You could see it in my face.
Every sentence spoken to me was always in a condescending and combative tone, so I ended each day, just as I began … disheartened, fed up, and exhausted. The situation baffled me. My family could even sense the weight on my heart. (I’m not even discussing her “big offenses” because it would simply take too long.)
The most unfortunate part – the girl had real talent. I wanted so bad to help her grow. But like my daddy once told me, it takes more than talent to get a job and keep a job … you must also be nice. Perhaps why (the last I heard) – she is jobless. I’m assuming someone will offer her a gig again and I wish her well. As for me – it took me almost a year to feel fully “recovered” from the toxic environment.
So the message to all of you out there going to work everyday, dreading seeing that co-worker who spikes your blood pressure instantly, just keep breathing. Every day, every week, every month, know that mean people will eventually weed themselves out. They will keep burning bridges and keep lying – but all of that will catch up with them. Others will see and sense their lack of authenticity too.
I went to work each day, praying in my car as I drove – God, just give me the strength to keep showing up. I reminded myself that just as life had taught me – she too will hopefully learn the world doesn’t spin on her axis. Or any one persons axis to be exact. It takes all of us being kind to each other to get that kind of rotation. Looking back, I’m sure she was placed in my path for a reason. It taught me that if you can smile through the pain, eventually the smile overpowers the pain. And every hard situation is designed to make our spirit “harder” to break.
When your patience and energy feels depleted, all you have to do is look around your workplace, neighborhood or church to see dozens of amazing people, who recognize the gem you are. And at the end of the day, repeat after me ….You can survive a mean co-worker because genuine, humble and nice will always trump bratty. 100 percent of the time. Say it again. Say it as many times as you need to say it, to believe it. If you are reading this and you have not found the light at the end of your tunnel yet, remind yourself that kindness always wins out … even if karma moves slow. Trust me on this one.