Drama, drama, drama. It didn’t end after highschool. And it certainly doesn’t end after college.
In elementary school, drama was someone making fun of you at recess – just because. In middle school, drama was your boyfriend breaking up with you for your best friend. In high school, drama was some some girl having a party and inviting everyone – except you – or your sports team being suspended because some people were caught drinking by the cops at a party. In college, drama was your boyfriend having sex with your best friend or your group of friends telling you that they don’t want to live with you next year. And now, in the real world, drama continues to stick around… and it gets far more serious – whether you are apart of it or not.
After months (or days if you’re lucky) of job searching, you’ve finally scored your first job. Whether its your dream job, a resume builder, or a way to save money – a job is a job. And in this economy, you’re lucky to have one. After playing the intern role for a few years, you’re super excited to start your job and enter the real world of professionals. Everyone was always helping you out, teaching you new things, and offering you advice during your internships, so people are bound to be even nicer now that you proved yourself to be worthy of getting paid. Wrong. Now that you’re a full time employee, you’re among other full time employees. They could be older than you by a few years… or older than you by a lot of years. Either way, drama is most likely floating around in your office (whether you know it yet or not).
Here are some office drama situations and ways to stay out of them:
“Everyone else knows more than you” Yeah, you just graduated from college… so, depending on the work environment/job, you haven’t been working as long as many of the other people in your office. They know more than you about the position and company, but they have their own work to complete and they don’t get paid for helping you… so you might be left in the dark. A full-time job is not an internship. You will have to learn a lot on your own, but don’t be afraid to ask for advice. People are usually willing to help you out… and if they’re rude to you about it – just ask someone else. Not everyone is having a bad day… Don’t let yourself fall behind because you’re afraid of asking for help – that will only give people more reason to talk about how you “don’t know what you’re doing.”
Talking behind someone’s back. We all do it. And we’ve all had it done to us. People love to complain – especially about their jobs. You’re in an environment with many people – and unfortuantely, not everyone is going to like each other (even at a small start up). You could love someone as a person, but absolutely dread working with them. And that gives you a reason to talk badly about someone you actually like. Don’t get involved with this. The workplace can be an extremely catty place. People could use information you tell them to get ahead – or even worse, they could tell the person what you said and then you’ll have to go on working with this person. You also have no idea who could become your boss one day. Keep all work related thoughts to yourself during the day and complain to your boyfriend, parents, or best friend after work – you at least know you can trust them.
People have problems at home. Although these problems may be occuring at home, some people tend to bring them into the office for everyone to witness. Whether people are sharing their divorce stories with you or keeping them bottled up inside, they might let their anger out on you in the office. They may take out their personal problems on you in a professional email. OR, if they’re your manager, they might yell at you for doing something wrong that you didn’t do or that wasn’t even a big deal. My advice – don’t take anything personal at work or you will definitely let it effect your work. Remind yourself that you are at work to gain experience and get your own stuff done. You just graduated and you are still learning. No need to be perfect yet.
“Everyone hates their job” If someone else (or everyone else) around you seems to hate their job, that doesn’t mean you have to hate your job too. All this does is start drama in the workplace. Of course you want to get along with everyone, so you might want to agree with what everyone has to say – but you shouldn’t if they are saying things that could harm your career. If someone is saying something like that, encourage them to look for another job within or outside the company and to be happy that they are actually getting paid (because I’m sure you have a lot of friends who are unemployed and would KILL for that job). You might not want to associate with these people on a regular basis, but you definitely want to keep a good relationship with all co-workers. Don’t let negative people affect your mood – Try to stay positive and you will most likely be well-liked.
Hookups outside (or inside) the office. This doesn’t happen everywhere, but it happens. It could be happening around you and you don’t even know it. Maybe someone is cheating on their boyfriend with the person sitting in the cube next to them. Or even worse – maybe someone is having an affair. Maybe one of the people you work with is hooking up with your boss. You might never know that this is occuring, but people might start to assume things and spread office rumors. Or one person might find out and the rumor mill will spread the news to the whole office. This can put someone’s career and personal life in jeapordy.
Cliques. Yeah, you thought you left those in high school, didn’t you? Well, you will soon learn that you didn’t. Cliques were kind of apparent in college, depending on where you went, but you really just had your own group of friends. Those cliques from high school come back to action in the workplace. When you were in college, you were paying to go there – and now that you have a real job, you’re being paid to go there. And in life, you just want to increase your pay. There’s no way you can do that though without getting ahead. Not everyone is going to be nice in the route of getting ahead. Depending where you work, some people may get ahead based on who they are friends with in the office or even their looks. Unfortuantely, that’s how it goes in SOME places (not everywhere). If you get all your work done, are friendly to everyone, and never complain – things should be fine. I don’t recommend getting involved in a clique. What if a clique hater becomes your manager or something?
Mixing your personal life with work. Depending on your job and the ages of your co-workers, people may want to party it up with you on the weekend or grab a few drinks after work. It’s great to make new friends and you never know if you will meet your future husband/wife or BFF at work… but you should really be careful when doing this. Mixing your personal life with work is a perfect way to create drama… If you work with you boyfriend, what happens the next day when you just had a huge fight last night? If you work with a roommate, what do you do at work when you know that they didn’t pay their rent? You don’t really know the people you’ve been working with that well. You just started working – You don’t know if people are trying to find dirt on you to get ahead. And you don’t know what someone will think of you after you down 10 red headed slut shots and a few beers. This isn’t college anymore – You don’t want to be the joke of the office. That’s why you still keep your college, high school, and other friends.
After you’ve been working for a few years and get a feel for the people you work with, things will be different. But for now, you’re a recent grad just trying to take it all in, get experience, and adjust to the real world. You should really be prepared to leave your emotions at home if you plan to mix your personal life, personal thoughts, and personal feelings with work.