How Negativity in the Workplace Can Affect You Personally

Negativity can make a normally effective worker lose steam.
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Negativity anywhere can affect you personally, but in the workplace the effects are amplified. Why? Because you spend the majority of your day at work, and because you build a sense of purpose and confidence through performing your job and interacting with your colleagues. A negative co-worker or team can suck you dry of the energy you need to stay motivated. You don't have to fall victim, though.

Workplace Burnout

    Sometimes negativity comes from co-workers who are burned out on their jobs. According to "Forbes," workplace burnout can cause cynicism, even in people who are normally positive. Unfortunately, this burnout is contagious if you surround yourself often with people who cite only the negatives of the job. While commiserating about office woes is fine to a degree, you should redirect these conversations into something more positive to avoid burning out yourself.

The Rumor Mill

    Negativity can cause rumors to start – and not good ones. Spending too much time complaining about things with colleagues can lead to a situation where words are misconstrued. Just think about it: Suppose you say something like, "I'm tired of this job. I'm out of here the first chance I get." Though you might just be venting in a moment of desperation, someone might take the comment as a cue to spread the rumor that you're leaving the company. Since you never know how your comments will be perceived, it's best to air on the side of caution and avoid outbursts and exaggerations.

A Damaged Reputation

    Leaders easily spot other leaders, but they also easily spot those who make the workplace less efficient. If you're constantly negative at work, you won't stand out as a promotable employee who is ready to take on a more active role in the company. This could harm your career path. If you hear gossip, try to steer clear and focus on productivity instead. Even encourage your teammates to work on projects together or focus on something productive. This could save your job and your reputation with a supervisor.


    According to Val Kinjerski at "Rethinking Your Work," when negative things happen, people sometimes tend to ruminate over the events. This afflicts even positive and highly functional people. You can break the cycle, though, by recognizing rumination at work and changing the subject or suggesting that it should be laid to rest. A good quote to use is, "Put it to bed, and put it to sleep." In other words, the bad event is over, so why relive it?

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