Thursday, June 24, 2010


I try hard to be a relatively nice person. After years of being tormented in grade school and middle school, I'm pretty well aware of what is hurtful. I try never to cause any person or animal suffering. I may joke occasionally with someone in a teasing manner but I try to make sure I don't hurt any feelings or if I do I apologize quickly.

That said, I have a countdown going for the number of hours that I have to deal with a coworker of mine. She's retiring today and I'm literally counting down the hours. I feel crappy about saying that but it's true. I've met a few negative people in my life but this woman takes the cake. She's what most psychologists would consider a toxic person. And to be honest, the negativity coming from her office has been starting to affect me.

When I first started at the office, four years ago, I was a bit worried to hear deep heavy sighs coming from the office across from me. The first time or so I walked over to see if everything was okay. And after listening to 45 minutes of everything that was wrong in her life, I backed away and didn't come back. Now I realized that she sighs all the time, hundreds of times a day. I don't even hear it anymore. I've heard this woman swear at customer service personnel in some of the nastiest ways. I've heard her complain to coworkers over and over about how nothing is going right in her life. I've even had her approach me a couple of times to ask how I'm doing just so she can rant about how terrible everything is for her. And even when things are going fine she can always find something to complain about.

And it really is starting to affect me. I try not to let anyone else dictate my mood but it's been hard to listen to her verbally put people down over and over without finding myself smirk a little at her misfortunes. If she was even a bit sweeter I would try to befriend her. I assume that she's lonely but I've heard nothing but nastiness come out of her mouth. Everyone hates to come to ask her for anything. So I roll my eyes when she starts yelling at yet another person. I smirk a bit when she complains to a neighbor about her financial/health/relationship/work...woes. And I hope that when she's finally gone, I can stop being so mean. I feel bad about disliking her. I've even gone as far as calling her a troll. But I think her toxicity is wearing off on me. Luckily I only have about four more hours to go with her. I think I'll breath a sigh of relief when she's gone. Heck I may even give a deep satisfied sigh.


Emilie Grzybowski said...

That doesn't make you a bad person Cat. You can't befriend everyone in this world. My 40 hour per week co-worker is EXTREMELY negative as well and it is hard to not let it affect you. It's hard enough to stay positive in this world without the constant reminder of how easy it would be to just slip into constant negativity.
I've developed a system for dealing with my sometimes negative co-workers. I only answer positive statements. It makes for a lot of silences but I think it sends a message without being confrontational. Rather than answering, "oh, I slept so horribly last night" with sympathy or "I hate her" with a turn-that-statement-around statement. I choose silence. I don't know if it works but it keeps me sane.
Congratulations on her retirement and stay positive!

Cat B said...

Thank you, my dear! That means a lot.

Dealing with coworkers like that can be challenging. I like your approach. What I tried is instead of sympathizing with her I turned everything positive. If she mentioned that she couldn't sleep well last night I'd follow up with "well, you'll sleep well tonight since you're tired." Once she realized that I wouldn't complain with her, she stopped coming to me. Of course now I don't have to deal with her.

Good luck with your coworkers. That's tough. But you're smart and amazing. And I know you handle things (particularly people) better than I do.

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