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When Bad People Happen to Good Jobs

My mom once told me, “Nature’s laws are God’s laws, and they must be followed.” In her wisdom, she recognized the need to respect and adhere to the forces that aren’t going to change one iota – like gravity.

One of my favorites is balance. This Law of Nature is demonstrated everywhere in the Universe: day and night, hills and valleys, good and evil, push and pull, plain and peanut. If there’s a depression, like a wash in the desert, at some point, it will fill with water. That’s just how it is. Don’t question Mother Nature.

And you could be moving through life swimmingly like a happy little barracuda in a pool of yummy minnows when, suddenly, Big Ol’ Nature comes along with her hefty unwavering laws; a bigger, meaner, hungrier predator; and, an ugly, painful dose of balance.

Let’s say you are a good person. You bring value to the workplace, you show up on time with a cheery can-do attitude, you take on challenging assignments, you leave a box of cream-filled donuts or baby power greens in the break room, you encourage team members, and produce stuff that makes your co-workers, your boss and your company look good. You are hitting it out of the cubicle-lined park and feeling like a champion! You’ve got that walking-on-air, head-in-the-clouds kind of swagger and, make no mistake, that is going to make somebody angry.

That darn balance.

Pastor Joel Osteen talks a lot about forces of darkness. He says, “Give no place to the enemy,” which he describes as guilt, resentment, worry, doubt and bitterness. I don’t think Osteen will mind one iota if we change his statement a teensy bit by saying, “Give no place to people who want to cause us guilt, resentment, worry, doubt and bitterness.”

Sounds easy, but we really have to work at this and acknowledge that negative, nasty people are Nature’s way of balancing bright, happy, positive rays of light, like you! Yay, Nature! Again, don’t question Mother Nature. This is just the way she is and she’s bigger than all of us.

Osteen says we can make the choice and say to ourselves, “I’m not going to give space to negativity and let it poison my life. I won’t let an offense make me sour and bitter.”

And Taylor Swift is on the same page! “Shake it off!” she says, “Cause the haters gonna hate, and the fakers gonna fake,” and they don’t give one iota, either.

This is not just something fun to sing on the way to work in the car by yourself with the windows up while sucking down a triple shot, no foam, non-fat caramel macchiato. This is sage advice for an easier, breezier way to live. And, it can affect your success and productivity. Amy Morin says so. And she should know. Morin is a psychotherapist and the author of the international bestseller, “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.”

She says mentally strong people refuse to give away their power and “continue being their best selves no matter who surrounds them.”

Here are some tips for dealing with toxic people:

Limit your exposure. We can’t always get away from the eye-rollers, the gossipers and the backstabbers, especially if they are in the same building, workgroup or meetings, but we can decide how much energy to devote to them. Your work is to not think about them and the offense. Don’t rant about them later, relive the scene in your head, or rewrite the story with what you should have said.

Control yourself. No matter how tempting it may be to confront, counterattack or sabotage right back at ‘em, work on always being your best, or, as Osteen says, “a person of excellence.” Don’t let someone bait you into being less than your awesome self. You have values and standards of conduct. Use them.

Practice healthy coping skills. My two favorites are: laughing when someone accuses you of something outrageous, because of course that individual is only making a joke – Gwyneth Paltrow is great at this; and succeeding like crazy – Jennifer Lopez is a true master.


So, ask yourself, “Can I swallow just one teensy spoonful of negativity and then bounce my way through a convincing sales pitch in today’s board meeting?” No! No, you can’t. Don’t let negativity in. Mother Nature is just keeping the balance. Don’t question it. She is not budging, not one iota. FBN

By Bonnie Stevens

Bonnie Stevens is a public relations consultant. She can be reached at bonnie.stevens@gmail.com.


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