In the world of work, little is more terrifying than the prospect of losing your job. Though many workers who end up losing jobs were either at fault or were simply, unluckily cut during layoffs, there are times in which co-workers seek to sabotage. This is particularly common during economic hardship, when people eager to hold onto jobs may be willing to throw others under the bus to do so, suggests Sarah E. Needleman of "The Wall Street Journal." If you feel like co-workers may be hatching a plan to put you out of a job, how you handle this aggression could determine whether the sabotage succeeds or fails.
Keep your temper in check. While it may be tempting to blow up at that blatant workplace-problem-causer, doing so is absolutely inappropriate. As Vicki Oliver, author of “Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots” cautions, striking out in anger reduces your appearance of professionalism. Instead, keep a cool head.
Practice avoidance. Don’t allow the workplace bullies or saboteurs to win. Instead, simply walk away, not giving these individuals the pleasure of engaging in the conflict they seek. Often, if you simply ignore them they will tire of focusing on you as a target because you won’t be giving them the potentially explosive reaction they seek.
Think about whether you could be part of the problem. Before you assume that your co-workers are out to get you, think about their likely motives. By considering the role you could be playing in the conflict, you may find ways in which you could modify your behavior and reduce the workplace tension. If you are doing something to perpetuate this problem, cease or change your behavior to reduce the conflict.
Share your concerns with your supervisor. While you don’t want to run to your boss after every sideways glance, if the co-workers' attempt at on-the-job sabotage have gone on for some time, you should mention your concerns to your boss. By doing so, you can alert her to the fact that these individuals appear to be out to get you, potentially reducing their ability to turn your boss against you.
Document everything. Documentation can serve as your best ally if those rooting for your ousting from the workplace come close to accomplishing their goals. Create a paper trail by printing and retaining emails pertinent to attempts to make you look less than stellar, as well as those representative of the quality work you do. If you do find yourself in the unhappy position of having to defend yourself against an attack, you can use these amassed emails to your advantage.
Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.