5 Ways to Stay Positive in a Negative Culture
The Culture Affects the Work
In my career as a software technical writer and a Project Manager, I have worked in both positive and negative companies. Here are some tactics I learned to stay positive and productive when it feels like no one cares.
1. Stay away from the Nay-sayers
When gossipers share their “big news” with you, don’t let it in. Several years ago, I had the opportunity to work with external clients, planning, organizing, and conducting events at the customer’s location. One of the clients was skilled and very helpful. While discussing the project with a woman inside my company, she said, “Be careful, she bats for the other side.”
She said it as if the client had a disease I would catch and it took me by surprise. I don’t think I said anything in the moment, but inside, I thought, “What does that have to do with the great work she is doing?” Later, I confronted the gossiper and told her that I don’t care what people do at home, but I respect people who come to work and do a good job.
When negative people descend on your space, set clear boundaries about what you will and will not accept. You can make your limits clear by simply walking away when the gossip starts.
2. Beware the Amygdala Hijack
3. Manage Your Internal Thinking
When faced with problems, and every job has them, what do you tell yourself? Do you run through a self-effacement scenario and ask things like, “what’s wrong with me”, “I can’t do this,” or I’m such an idiot?” When the gossip starts, do you ask, “What’s wrong with him/her?”, “Whose fault is it?”, “Haven’t we been there, done that?”
Listen to your internal dialogue. When you hear anything negative, turn it around. Stop those thoughts and replace them with questions that will change you and could change the culture. These could include:
To find out more about how to change from a judging to learning mindset, read Change Your Questions Change Your Life by Marilee Adams.
4. Get More Natural Light
5. Know Why You Work
Humans are social beings and need connection. Many people find that in a job where they can making a contribution bigger than themselves. Others work for financial security, and others work for personal growth. When you have those and are surrounded by negativity, the reasons you work need to be crystal clear. One way you can have this clarity this is by creating a career plan.
I have held several jobs in toxic cultures and in every one of them, I took on challenges and additional work that would build my skills. When it became clear that I was done with corporate, I still gave my due to the company, but I spent my free time pursuing my next career as an author. Two months after my company eliminated my job, I published my first book on Amazon, the Ten Commandments of Coumadin® (Warfarin).
Today, I use my skills and experience to help people who manage projects to maintain the mindset that fosters collaboration, cooperation, and contributes to success in every area of their work and life.