My husband works at a male dominated company (Dock worker) and he has only been there a year but he deals with an amazing amount of work drama. Working in Academia isn’t any different. I have been at my two year college over 11 years and I jokingly refer to it as “Game of Thrones” (For those who won’t get that reference the show is all about power plays, backstabbing and politicking). After a particularly hard day of drama I sat at my computer emotionally drained and amazingly found this quote on the internet:
“You will only be remembered for two things: the problems you solve or the ones you create.”
Working in an environment with many different personalities can be a challenge. But I found some good advice that I try to follow as best as I can.
Personal life: Sometimes it feels that I am at work more than I am at home. I used to be so eager to make friends when I first started working and quickly found out that over sharing personal stuff can actually be bad. Keep it copacetic. Whether it’s happy news or sad news make sure you have boundaries.
This also goes both ways. Sometimes a co worker may want to also over share with you. If you feel the topic has crossed the line or is heading that way steer the conversation back to a work related topic.
When your colleagues want to vent about another fellow worker be careful of taking sides. They say there are three versions to every story: his side, her side, and the truth, so consider multiple perspectives. try to steer the conversation to conflict resolution if you can. And don’t give advice if you are not asked.
Avoid being one of the 4c’s: complainer, controller, cynic, or caretaker. According to Kaley Klemp and Jim Warner, authors of “The Drama-Free Office: A Guide to Healthy Collaboration with Your Team, Coworkers, and Boss,” taking on one of these roles drains the energy from your team, promotes dysfunction, and hinders collaboration and synergy.
Don’t let others antagonize you. You give them power when you fall into that trap. Not everyone is going to get along 100% and you may have a co worker who can be passive aggressive. Rise above it and refer to that quote. I now have it over my desk and refer to it whenever “office drama” becomes a “thing”.