Anyone who knows me knows that I am a people person. I love meeting new people and hearing about their life experiences. Especially the older generation who have decades of stories. I like making friends with everyone and It bothers me when people don’t like me and I am especially bothered by people who cut me off in an instant without even explaining why, but finding out someone who you thought was a friend talks about you behind your back, that’s brutal. So recently when I was confiding in my manager about how co workers who I thought were my friends let me down, she said to me “These people are not your friends”. In my heart I was asking “well why not, Why can’t they be?”. Sadly in my head, I knew she was right. I recently had a few things go wrong for me and I confided in people who I thought were my friends in the workplace and later realized I was wrong. I wasted a whole year on confiding in people I shouldn’t have, believing in people I shouldn’t have, and trusting people I definitely shouldn’t have. However, I have not allowed this experience to change the way I feel about people, It just changed the way I approach workplace friendhsips.
Situations like the one I shared are everywhere and it’s what creates toxic atmospheres in the workplace. Once you know how to read people you work with, listen to your gut and exclude yourself from the gossip, things can be easier on a daily basis. When I was working in applications I was in going in and out of Ultrasound Labs, I was not surprised at how many I felt had a toxic atmosphere, you could walk in and just feel the bad energy. Toxic workplaces are filled with people who are selfish, judgmental, and manipulative. There is a scientific reason that you feel like you are about to burst into tears at your desk every day. “A toxic environment keeps people in a fight or flight mindset. The constant pump of cortisol, testosterone, and norepinephrine generates physical, emotional, and mental stress. You can’t do your best work when you work in a toxic workplace, and your health and well-being is at risk.
One important way you can weather a toxic work environment is to find one or two good friends you can trust in your workplace and offer each other support and a place to vent. Now I know I went on about trusting and confiding in people in the paragraphs above but I did have one person, one work friend that I knew I could trust and we could confide in each other to get through the day. Just make sure to choose your friends wisely and only speak candidly with people you trust too.You don’t want to share everything do you?
There will always be hater’s in the world, when you start to succeed they will dislike you even more. It stems from jealousy and fear weather it’s admitted or not. You will know who your true “work friends” are when they stick by you when you are at rock bottom fighting your way back up. When you no longer work where you met and they continue to call and want to talk or get together. It’s important to keep in mind that our career is a big part of our life’s journey, that being said, people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime, and when you figure out which it is, you will know exactly what to do.