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Q.
How do I rekindle my passion for my job when I work with hostile people that I detest?

A.
Being around people that we don't like in the office is more common than many think. However, there are ways to alleviate their negative effect on you.

Because you can't often physically escape the building in which you spend 40 hours a week or more, which is an eternity if you can't stand your co-workers, you'll have to try a more proactive approach. My first rule in these situations is: Kill 'em with kindness. In every interaction, attempt to provide four times more positive comments than negative or hostile ones. That ratio seems to create a critical mass for turning foes into friends.

Second, strive to be calm and polite during any hostile or unpleasant encounters, which should be enough to defuse a co-worker's irate attitude, or at least make him or her weary of attacking you. Next, enlist a neutral third party, such as a friendly co-worker, manager, or someone in human resources who can act as a sounding board, or even as a mediator between you and unfriendly compatriots when friction occurs.

Finally, keep a current resumé prepared. Doing so can help remind you of your accomplishments, thereby raising your esteem and diminishing your co-workers' negative effect on you. And if the above suggestions don't help refresh your enthusiasm, an up-to-date resumé will assist you in moving on from a toxic situation to a happier one. E



Dan Lumpkin, organizational psychologist, is the president of management-consulting company Lumpkin & Associates in Fairhope, AL. Need answers? Email your career-related questions to askdan@exhibitormagazine.com.
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