How to cope in a hostile work environment.
Does the thought of spending eight or more hours at work each day get you all wound up and sweaty?
Do you constantly find yourself wishing that Monday morning were Friday evening?
Do you feel emotionally and mentally stressed out just thinking about your job?
If these feelings have nothing to do with your ineffectiveness at work then you are probably in a hostile work environment.
What makes a work environment hostile varies largely, but it is commonly attributed to having a bad boss (this could be an understatement), co-workers who drive you up the wall, and an ineffective Human Resource Department, among other things.
The following are a few survival tips to help you hang on to your job and survive in that hostile environment until the tide turns in your favor.
Work on yourself.
As annoying as the situation may be, learn to contain yourself. Develop an internal coping mechanism like counting to ten before you respond to an annoying remark or insensitive comments. Draw strength from a higher power if you must, pray, meditate and do whatever it takes to get yourself together, calm and composed.
Remind yourself why you are at the job.
Why are you working at that company? Are you there for the money, experience or for personal fulfillment? Whatever the reason, let the objective you want to achieve give you the strength to survive each day.
Don't mix business with pleasure.
If you can help it, draw the line between your private life and your life at work. Sometimes unnecessary socialization at work can be the ammunition that makes your environment even more unbearable. A little gossip at the copy machine with a co-worker can be the beginning of a nightmare.
Acting in a professional manner seals the lips of those who may want to capitalize on your unprofessional behavior to make your life a misery. Whether you are responding to e-mails, or speaking to your boss or co-worker, calm down take a deep breath and avoid the temptation to escalate the matter.
Learn what not to do.
Since life is always about making progress and getting better, this is usually the best environment to learn what not to do, learn what not to say and who not to trust in future. If you are planning to start your own business or be in management, then this is a good place to learn about how not to treat employees or how to be a good boss!
It is amazing how hostile environments can bring out the best in you. You may begin to explore areas in your life that you never knew existed and also begin to expand your range in terms of what you want to do in life. This is usually the time to reflect seriously about your life and what matters most. Many life-changing ideas begin when people have reached the end of their ropes and start to expect better things for themselves.
Stand up for yourself.
Do not keep silent about the hostility. Speak up for yourself, defend your actions when necessary, talk to someone who might listen to you, record your complaints with HR, do whatever is necessary to set the record straight.
When it gets so bad, and after you have exhausted all options, be good to yourself and jump ship.