Are you the Toxic Co-worker in your workplace?


It’s easy to point fingers at other people at work. This person’s a jerk, that one kisses up to the boss, this one is a bi-atch….What about you?  What would people say about how you handle yourself at work? You might be unpleasantly surprised that the way you come across isn’t as professional as you might think.

Do you sulk and talk about people when you get passed over for a promotion that should have been yours? Do you complain about how much work you have to do all day? Do you gripe about how you don’t make enough money? That sucks. It’s irritating. News flash: no one cares about your problems. No one cares that you have allergies and your husband is cheating on you and your kid has autism. No one wants to hear that.

People are happiest when they are surrounded by optimists. In fact, of all personality types the “downer” is the most toxic colleague. Pessimism affects everyone and not just the pessimist. That’s probably why someone coined the term “misery loves company.”

Then there are people who have to show everyone else up. There was a Kindergarten teacher in my school like that once. I happened to like her and think she was very cool. Her colleagues did not. She went out of her way to exclude her co-workers from projects that involved parents and the school community. She kissed up to the administrator. She worked quietly so no one would know what was happening until it was too late to join in. That really angered people. But it worked to her advantage. Bottom line was she still got a lot of recognition from the boss and she didn’t care if she was popular with her colleagues or not.

When you don’t care about your co-workers and whether or not you are liked at work then it’s easy to do what you need to get where you want to go. That’s not always the best approach at work but as long as it doesn’t eventually bite you on the behind then success is almost a given.

The opposite – the slacker – is equally odious for opposite reasons. They have a great talent for avoiding work yet somehow looking busy. I once found a hilarious template on the internet. It was set up to look like a budget. While you were online playing video games, should the boss walk by with a flick of the + button, you could pull up the bogus budget chart and appear to be working. Some people build a career on it. Eventually it must catch up to them but in the meantime, they’re having a great deal of fun getting paid to not work.

The braggart is another party un-favourite. People know when you land an account, get promoted, make a profit for the company and whatever else it is that you do well. But for some of us, that isn’t enough. We need to advertise it. We have to show up everyone else. In that sense they’re a lot like the sneaky colleague who leaves everyone out of Projects that get them Promoted but rather than keeping quiet, braggarts can’t stop talking about themselves. Well at least they make it easy for everyone to know their business and thereby predict their next career move.

The gossip is in a love-hate relationship with everyone. People like to hear gossip. It’s human nature. The thing is, if you’re the gossip no one usually trusts you. They aren’t stupid enough for that. And they know when their backs are turned, you are also talking about them. That’s just stupid. Unless you’re feeding the boss information in which case that might help get you promoted. So long as you don’t care what anyone else has to say about you (irony) then your success might be guaranteed.

If you are the toxic co-worker in your office you probably either don’t recognize it or you don’t care. Which makes me wonder why you’d even read this blog. Maybe it feels good to see your profile in writing, rather like a job description. After all, it’s all about you and even from a warped perspective, that could be the cat’s meow in your opinion.





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