What to Do When Everyone in the Office Hates Their Job
You’re settling into your desk on your first day at your new job, excited to get started. But as your new co-workers trickle in, they offer up less-than-enthusiastic welcomes.
“Once you’ve been here as long as we have, you won’t be smiling like that.”
“So how’d they convince you to take this job?”
“They work us to the bone here.”
Within just a few hours, it’s clear that everyone you work with hates the place.
You immediately wonder if you made the wrong choice by signing that job offer. If everyone hates the job so much, it’s only a matter of time before you start to feel the same way, right? Suddenly, all that excitement you had about your job starts to slip away.
Even if the culture of your new job overwhelmingly reveals that everyone desperately wants to escape the environment you just willingly signed up for, you don’t have to give in to the same mentality. Here are a few ways to stay as positive as possible and keep an open mind, so you can form you own conclusions about the company and your future as a part of it.
Actually Get to Know Your Co-Workers
You’ve probably seen it (or an iteration of it) on Pinterest in a pretty font with a tranquil background: “Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”
While it can be a good reminder to keep your cool when you encounter a grumpy cashier at the grocery store, the same holds true in the office. A person’s negativity can seemingly center around one thing (in this case, how horrible work is), when the source of it is actually something entirely different—like a pending divorce or struggles with medical issues. It can even be work-related, but unrelated to you: Maybe a co-worker doesn’t think her current position is the right fit, so she applied for a job in another department—but got turned down.
The point? Take the time to get to know your co-workers. Sure, you may find out that they just truly don’t like their jobs. But you also may find out that something different is fueling that dislike—and there’s no reason for you to adopt the same negativity.
Find that One Source of Sunshine
OK, so you’re telling me that every person in your office is inconsolably unhappy?
I don’t buy it.
I worked in a customer service role for several years, and if there’s one type of gig that seems to manufacture unhappiness, it’s customer service. Fielding a constant stream of unhappy calls is grueling. But you know what? Even though it sometimes seemed like the majority of the employees there were unhappy (and vocal about it), there were a handful who could keep the group’s spirits up, no matter what. They were excited to be at work, determined to fix their customers’ problems, and did it with a smile on their face. Did they have challenging, frustrating days? Sure. But in a crowd of disgruntled staffers, they were a constant source of positivity.
You may have to venture outside of your department to find a positive employee or two. But once you do, you’ll not only have an escape from the black cloud of negativity that is your team, but you’ll have a different perspective of the company—so you can form a non-biased opinion.
Revisit Your Interview
Assuming you engaged in a smart, well thought-out job search, you didn’t just land this job by chance. You purposefully applied, asked insightful questions in your interview, and carefully considered whether this job was a good fit for you. And by your signature on the dotted line of your offer, you said it was a go.
Constant negativity from everyone you encounter can certainly be a red flag, but you have to remember the reason you chose this position in the first place—that it involved work you were excited about, the potential to move into a higher-level position, or valuable experience that can get you hired at your dream company one day.
Plus, not everyone is so diligent during the job search. There’s a good probability that some of the people that you’re encountering really aren’t the right fit for their job—so of course they’re not going to be a bucket full of smiles. But if you are the right fit, you shouldn’t have to worry or take their negativity as a sign of things to come; you will be just fine.
Don’t let the naysayers make your decision for you. Sure, there are certainly work environments that are truly negative—and if you find yourself in that position, you may want to reevaluate to determine if that’s where you want to be. But assuming you made a thoughtful decision about the position, it’s important to look beyond the negativity and search for the positive—or be the source of it yourself.
Photo of unhappy people courtesy of Shutterstock.
About The Author
As a full-time manager at a tech company, Avery is constantly finding (and writing about!) new ways to better encourage, lead, and motivate her team. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to live music, attempting to sew, and discovering dive bars and hole-in-the-wall restaurants. One day, she hopes to publish a memoir, adopt a Great Dane puppy, and find the perfect shade of red lipstick.