If you work, if you have a social life of any sort, if you volunteer or walk out your front door with any regularity, you will encounter the toxic personality. Outside of the workplace, these people are, relatively, easy to avoid. And that is the best defense, avoid them. Sometimes, however, avoidance is not an option. The workplace is one of those “sometimes” occasions.
I figure, after 30+ years in the working world, meeting thousands of different people, of different cultures, religions, backgrounds, I can comment with a bit of authority based on life experience.
First and foremost – do not try to fight the toxic co-worker.
You cannot fight an ass-hat. It would mean diving down into the colon of their existence and sometimes the stink sticks. By all means, stand up for what is right, moral and ethical but state your case, then walk away, lest you slip in their excrement.
Although the following may seem self-evident, putting it into practice requires – well. Practice. Do not, under any circumstances, allow these people to impact on your psyche. Don’t bring them home with you. Think of it as a battle if you prefer – bringing them home or allowing them to disrupt your “chi” or “ka” or inner “you” grants them a victory. The temptation to sink to their level may be almost overwhelming but don’t you do it. Asshats have chosen their cesspool, it is their choice – don’t make it yours. Keep your head up and your dignity intact.
I can hear you now – “Oh but you don’t know this one! He or she is EVIL. Dick or Donna Dastardly incarnate!” Sorry, but I’ve met ’em all. None of them are as bad, as evil as our minds would have us believe. As annoying, as maddening and as frustrating as they may be – they are human beings. They squat like the rest of us. Okay, so maybe a few of them cast no reflection or hang from the rafters to sleep but they aren’t immortal. They are simply the brat from elementary school or that annoying pain in the arse from high school, the one that always ratted you out when you skipped a class or gossiped just for the malicious pleasure it brought to their, otherwise, boring lives. They grow up and they don’t undergo some sort of wonderful metamorphosis and turn almost human. They just grow up to be the same detestable personalities but in full sized format.
I find the best way, for me, is to do my job to the best of my ability, and avoid these pimples on the ass of my work life.
If you allow these infections to annoy you, they will continue to grow until they reach the size of a carbuncle. There are so many things to do when you are employed, so many ways to occupy your time in a constructive manner that there is no excuse for stressing out over the behaviours of a toxic co-worker. You can update your skills on your break or during lunch. You can read a book, catch up on untended e-mails or files. Tidy up your inbox. Take a walk outside, clear your mind, and concentrate on your blessings. This is only corny if you want to be the victim. If you want to be a target. When compared to the lot of a good majority of this world, the antics of your toxic mental midget co-worker is not even worth a second thought. Consider the fate of the people of the Sudan. Of Thailand and the flooding. Of the Congo. To permit someone to try and piss on the incredible wealth we have, the opportunities granted to us by endeavoring to create drama when there is none. To manifest trouble where none should exist, is to spit in the faces of those who would give up their right arm to enjoy just a fraction of what we take for granted.
Personally, while I may get to a point where my temper starts to boil – it doesn’t take me long to realize that if this is happening, someone on a lower rung of the evolutionary ladder is gaining on me. I need to gain perspective. Remember my own sense of worth, my own skills and my sense of personal dignity. I pull up my ethics and a life time of moral understanding. No one has the right to invade my space, to piss me off or dull the shine of a day. They can only do this if I allow it to happen.
What was it Chekov would say on Star Trek? …. “Shields up Captain?” Absolutely. Shields up, different perspective, and goals for that moment created and the toxicity has been neutralized.
The bottom line is that these personalities only have the power that you have handed over to them, yourself. You allow them to anger you. You allow them to frustrate you. You are allowing them to best you. Rise above. You are better than they are. You have morals. You have ethics and you have personal dignity. Let them wallow. You have no time to waste – your life is ahead and it has promise, while their lives? Their lives will always float about in the sludge and mire of their own construction. Karma or whatever you wish to call it, always wills out. Always. It may take longer than you may prefer but it will happen. Moments spent devising and plotting pain on another, will forever translate into personal pain, disappointment and failure. I guarantee you of this.