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Toxic Co-Workers

Some people will never be happy.  You know who they are.  You see them every day.  They are the grumpy person at work that never smiles and always complains about everything.  Some people just can’t be helped.

Turn down the noise.

What really bothers me is how their negative mood can bring everyone down.  The hours of sulking and expressionless blank stares in the office are unnerving at times.  The unmotivated communication and lack of effort in day to day interactions gets old.  Sometimes I wish we could help them do a job search for a new position. 

I’ve witnessed a toxic employee who takes the cake.  They were always complaining about the same people in the office.  Not only that they were building coalitions of hatred towards that person.  Even though the person in question wasn’t the best, they were far from the worst person in the office.  They were just different and socially awkward. 

So what do you do with the toxic employee?  You’re stuck with them because they aren’t going to leave.  They aren’t going to leave because as bad as they hate their lot in life, they are petrified to move on to the unknown. 

The only thing you can truly change in this equation is you.  If you find yourself avoiding this person more and more, stop.  Engage them even if it’s just a quick smile or a short conversation and be personable.  If that doesn’t work, well you can engage HR or their boss if you really want to.  In the end you can only control your attitude and reactions to a situation so try and make the best of it.

Don’t get swept up in the water cooler and lunch table discussions about how horrible or weird other persons might be.

The toxic employee is akin to an adult bully.  No one likes a bully.

  1. January 14, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    What you describe here Matt are what I call the Chronic Complainers/Naysayers. Some are also jealous. You are right on target when you say the only thing you can change in this equation is you. Leaders do have some other options — yet co-workers not as many.

    Here are two posts that expand your great post for further discussion:


    I welcome your comments there as well.


  2. January 19, 2011 at 11:29 am


    The only thing we can truly control is our self. Great posts. Thanks for sharing those links.


  3. Kaut
    January 30, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    fascinating blog about Toxic Co-Workers Reiter Thinks. I read it twice.

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