How to Deal with Petty Bullshit at Work (& Life)

I’ve never been that girl at work.  I’ve certainly never been that guy.  You know the type.  The one who workplace drama and just crap at work seems to be drawn to, attracted like a magnet.  It’s like they can’t get away.  Whether its work place gossip, drama, or just general petty bullshit, this person’s involvement can never escape.  That’s kind of how I’ve been feeling lately about myself.  These last two weeks have been a tough one.  Drama can’t seem to escape me, or maybe I just can’t escape the drama.  Like how many licks it takes to lick a tootsie pop, it’s really one of those answers to a question the world will really never know.  Mostly, I won’t know.  It just does.

Dealing with Work Place Gossip and Drama

Drama in work and in life is never fun.  It causes stress on you, your co-workers, and your family.  Stress at work puts you at risk for increased heart attacks.  In fact, Europeans with high demanding jobs with stress and little autonomy to make decisions were shown to have an increased chance of heart attack by 23%.  While I personally, have more than enough decision making autonomy being self-employed, I’m thinking I might just make an extra effort for meditation especially since I’m the drama magnet as of late.  And maybe a massage. . .

A couple weeks ago my friend went ape shit.  Abruptly shutting me out after serving as her confidant for many years.  The ranting voice mails, texts, and emails are more than I can handle.  It was hard to focus on work.  Now I realize that all the drama and conflict she described among clients, co-workers, and friends stemmed from one single source, herself.  While glad to be rid of the drama, I’m hurt as I’ve lost a friend, and that is never fun.

While I’m one for creativity especially at work, work place gossip is where I draw the line.  Another friend was personally attacked but kept squarely out of the loop as people close to him invented stories, added to the gossip mill, and general nonsense while he was completely clueless as to the conversations, creative imaginations, and back-handed-ness of those involved.  I’m talking about accusations including involvement in a porn ring, a handful of felony convictions, and male prostitution.  I am stuck in the middle of this fiction-filled work drama.  Someone has a career as a fiction writer because they’ve crafted quite the story.

The problem is that people thrive on this stuff, when I just want to run away.  Shut yourself off from humans and maybe just hold up in your home office blogging, tweeting, and writing feverishly like me. I quickly realized that I must face this head on.

How to Avoid Work Place Problems

  • Focus.   As juicy as the tales of felony convictions and porn rings are, I am staying the course.  I’m focusing squarely on my work and removing myself from conversations or involvement in said drama.  Politely excusing myself from the conversation while keeping a clear and level head.
  • Perspective.  Time heals all wounds does’t it?  Your professional career is a marathon not a sprint.  Small events seem important in the present but it’s really the body of work that matters.  Look at the big picture instead of this moment, the short term especially if the gossip, rumors, and drama include you.
  • Create a Trusted Board of Advisors.  Or as I like to call it a personal board of directors.  Find a group of people you trust and surround yourself with.  You’ll spend a lot less time fueling the grapevine with idle chatter, wondering, and wishing you’d kept your mouth shut by going to your go to group first.
  • Be True To Yourself.  Gossip in a lot of ways is like breathing.  As humans, it’s really what we do.  While I prefer celebrity gossip, it’s my guilty pleasure, I think it’s important to place yourself in the shoes of other from time to time.  This is about you, your reputation, your friends, and your business.  Don’t involve yourself in unnecessary crap or drama that isn’t for you.  Quietly and kindly remove yourself from those toxic workplace situations.

Workplace Drama is Like Breathing

As long as their are humans, there will be drama and gossip at work.  I hate admitting that.  It’s a part of life.  Like breathing you can consciously control drama in most cases but only for you.  They key to dealing with petty bullshit in work and life is to remember surround yourself with family and people you love, keep your head down, and remember that your best really is enough for you.

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Comments

  1. This article hit home with myself. I work for a company that runs summer camps and have over 600 staff working for us around the country. And at a lot of our sites we see this happening with our staff. Your four points are a good foundation to build off of. It is amazing to see how all that drama can really cause a difficult work environment.

    ” They key to dealing with petty bullshit in work and life is to remember surround yourself with family and people you love, keep your head down, and remember that your best really is enough for you.”

    I couldn’t have said it better.

    Reply
  2. Just know corporate and gov jobs are 2 very different breeds. I worked with various corporate companies and always exprience the same bull. Managers and directors lazy and over work their team and treat them as disposable. This is why I got away from corporate environment and worked for the government where it’s more relax. Power and money really change people’s ego and bring the worst in people.

    Reply
  3. I really appreciate this article. I recently got involved with some very serious BS at work, where folks may be losing their jobs. I’m very maternal and folks often come to me when they are upset with their managers, specially one who is an incompetent bully, who for some reason, HR is afraid to fire. I used some of your points to prepare a statement in case I get called in to my managers office for my small involvement. sigh….

    angiega |
    Reply

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