Man dramatically rolling his eyes while on the phone

Drama in the workplace is not working for you – why the show must not go on!

Blythe Landry Guidance

Work. A word with more meanings than one could fully acknowledge in one post.  In theory, work is just a place or a thing we do to pay the bills. Sometimes work is our life calling, our vocation, our passion (for me I know that is the case), and for many of us it is something we do that reflects our talents and skills that helps us make ends meet. No matter which type of “work” you do with your life, one thing I think most bosses and human resources professionals can attest to is that high drama is not something solely reserved for dysfunctional families!

I work for myself, so legitimately, any drama I have is some malfunction in my relationship with myself. That seems easy to fix; but that also requires intuition and internal reconnaissance every now and again. Simple, but certainly not always easy. If you are like me and you fly solo, there will be other blog posts to help you dig deeper and to gain a better understanding of yourself in relationship to your work self. But, for today’s purposes, I’m going to focus on office drama related to people who actually work with colleagues and other people on a daily basis.

Many people don’t realize this, but the office or the store or the locale of where you work, with the people included, is often a microcosm of a family environment. If you think about the “key” players that you work with..the people with whom you come into regular contact – and even those with whom you attempt to avoid conflict; there is essentially one of everyone. Take a moment and, if you will, reflect on the people at work with whom you share strong connections…and maybe even time to reflect on those that make you want to punch a wall.  What do you know about them, really?  Are your connections at the office based on real similarities and interests (if so yay for you), or are they simply a function of environment. Are the people for which you feel disdain actually doing something to you, or do they just rub you the wrong way? Even worse, are your opinions about them based on office gossip and things you might not have even personally substantiated as true?  Once you think about those things..the deeper question becomes how are my reactions, feelings and perceptions based on my own past experiences..and how are they based in current reality?

Take a minute. Maybe even journal about it – in a real book..with a real pen and paper..and slooooooow down the rapidity of your mind.

What did you find?

Maybe upon further review, you have acknowledged that your friends at work are, indeed, your true friends based on substantiated connections and that the people you don’t really connect to truly do hold fundamentally opposing values. If that is the case, great job. And, now, maybe spend some time reflecing on how to make the people at work who bother you bother you less.  After all, you spend most of your life working, so you may as well enjoy it while you are in it.

Conversely, maybe upon deeper reflection you got gutterally honest with yourself and realize that Tom Jones at the office who you want to drop kick everytime you walk by has legitimately never done one thing to you, but reminds you of your Father or neighbor or ex-husband who wasn’t so great to you. If that is the case, get to the heart of the matter, get to the deeper emotions around your responses and behaviors. Why does this “other” person still have so much power over your daily work life and reactions? What work do you need to do in order to heal so this isn’t plaguing you no matter what environment you are in? Only you know the answer to these questions and only you have the power within you to change them.

Of course most people who read this and even bother to do the exercise will be somewhere in the middle..the grey..the imperfect, but trying phase of life; which is the best we can all hope to achieve as mere human beings. So if this is you, then, also great job for even doing the exercise. You are the type of person who will most likely continue to always be a self-reflecting and growing human – as you are okay not doing life perfectly, but are also willing to make an effort and read between the lines so that you have the best life possible.

No matter which of these categories you relate to, here is what I can impart.  Wherever you go there you are. If you are in an environment that is unheatlhy or doesn’t feel good, or where you feel compelled towards constant gossip or drama, what is going on within you?  Why did you attract such a thing?  How can you change inside of yourself whether your environment is changing or not? If you are in a truly abusive work environment, what steps do you need to take to get out of it?  What are a list of choices you have?  How can you grow in the process?

Work is a place many of us go for many years at a time. Work and the way we relate to others is most definitely a sandbox or testing ground for how to grow in all of our relationships and how to find connection and commonality, even when we are surrounded by some people with whom we do not see eye-to-eye.

Life is so short. You have choices. You have a job in which to grow, but also in which to produce results. No matter how large or small the tasks you feel you are engaging in, they matter. So keeping the drama at bay will not only allow you to thrive and flourish no matter what your peers are doing, but it will also allow you to continue to expand as a human being and to become an overall better perfectly imperfect person.

If you are seeking help in order to expand your personal or professional relationships, please contact me and refer to this blog.