Don't Let Unhappy Co-Workers Sour Your New Job

The three office amigos – Snarky, Cynical and Jaded – shouldn't corrupt your professional experience.

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Luke Roney
You start your new job full of enthusiasm and optimism. According to your research, it's a great company to work for. The position is a perfect fit for your skills and experience. The salary and benefits are solid.

The sun is shining on your career, and you're convinced that good things are going to happen.

But when you meet your immediate co-workers, they are snarky, cynical and jaded. They're nice enough to you, but they never have a good thing to say about the company, colleagues or the boss. After a few weeks working with the team it's rubbing off on you: The company no longer seems that great and your enthusiasm and optimism are waning.

Letting your negative co-workers sour you on your new job will hurt your opportunities with this company, hurt your career in the long run and make you less happy. Consider these tips to avoid being tainted by their pessimism:

1. Draw your own conclusions. During your first several weeks on a job it's natural to look to your new co-workers to learn about company culture, management and how people interact. It's a time when you're highly suggestible. If you're on a team full of discontented co-workers, it can be a dangerous time. Even if they are doing it unconsciously, your unhappy co-workers will try to pull you down into their doldrums. Avoid letting them taint your initial impressions of your new workplace. Deflect the negative, seek the positive, keep an open mind and draw your own conclusions.

2. Branch out. Venture out into the office and meet people from different department and teams. You'll likely find that the overall vibe at the company is a lot more positive than your immediate co-workers let on. Interact daily with colleagues who have an optimistic outlook – whether it's eating lunch together or quick chats in the hallway, positive encounters will help you keep your spirits up when working with glass-half-empty types.

3. Participate. In the same vein, participate in company activities and events. Become a part of the overall team, rather than staying sequestered with your immediate team of naysayers. Having a broader view of the organization and feeling like you're a part of it will bolster you against the onslaught of negativity.

4. Focus on your job. Avoid participating in gossip and gripe sessions. That's not to say you shouldn't be social with your team members – the point is to focus on the reason you're there in the first place: To do an awesome job. For sure, developing good relationships with your co-workers is an important part of that. So, by all means, get to know your team members. But discover the things they actually do like and small talk about those things, steering away from the office gripes.

No company is perfect and there will always be frustrations and annoyances associated with work. Seek positive things and positive interactions and you'll be able to endure those frustrations and annoyances and still head home smiling every evening (or, at least, most evenings).

Luke Roney is editor for CareerBliss, an online career community dedicated to helping people find happiness in the workplace. Check out CareerBliss for millions of job listings, company reviews and salary information.