BossBitch: Negative Neds (And Nancys)

Dear BossBitch,

My coworkers are VERY negative. I mean depressive levels of negativity, mostly from the men in the office. It’s to the point where I feel like a total dork for liking my job because everyone else is such a hater. I haven’t been there too long, a few months, but everyone acts like it’s the worst place ever. How do I combat this negativity? And should I be worried?



Dear Positive Polly,

Honestly? (Duh, this is an advice column). Yes, I think you should be a little worried about this. I doubt it’s an accident that SO many people in your office are down on their jobs. And I doubt you’ll be immune to that negative energy forever. One person can’t change the office climate (depending on the size - if it’s just two people then yes of course they can). You can be as optimistic and chipper as a Walt Disney hummingbird on amphetamines that just chugged a Diet Coke, but if you are alone in that hyperactivity you are shit outta luck. In my experience, the bros will continue to systematically sip that hater-ade (I can’t believe I just used that term) until everyone is sick on their second-hand sadness. You aren’t going to change these people. Don’t try. You’ll just frustrate yourself and feel more like a dork. Which is fine. Be a dork, like your job, enjoy your time there. But just know that as long as the vast majority of your co-workers are shitty misanthropes, you probably can’t sustain. I wish you could. I wish I could.

I wish we didn’t pick up on the energy of the people around us. Good and bad. But we do. Full disclosure, I’m especially susceptible to the energy levels of others. I don’t mind a little negativity. I particularly enjoy the humor that can come from a smidge of bummed-out vibes. But there’s a line. There’s a line between “Blergh! I can’t with this day” and “Everything is the worst. When will death come?” I can’t tell you that your job is or isn’t worth the bad attitudes of the people around you. Maybe in six months you’ll realize there’s a reason everyone is so unhappy. Then the answer may present itself. But as long as you are still content with your job and the people around you haven’t completely hijacked your happiness, then I say stick with it. Your co-worker’s crappy outlook isn’t really your problem. If negativity isn’t your jam then don’t engage in that shit. But if (and when) it starts to affect you, it might be time to start looking for greener pastures and happier people.