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Is Your Horrible Coworker Ruining Your Relationship?

Topics: Work Culture

Dealing with jerks in life is one thing, but dealing with jerks in the workplace is an entirely different ballgame. Even if you work with a wonderful team of people with whom you get along, there’s always that one person who knows how to mess it all up — and it cost you (and the company) more than you may think. And, toxic coworkers are more than just an irritation. They could keep you from being happy both at work and at home.

toxic coworkers
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According to a 2015 Harvard Business School study, ridding the office of “jerks” is more important than hiring top talent.

“While a top 1 percent worker might return $5,303 in cost savings to a company through increased output, avoiding a toxic hire will net an estimated $12,489,” reports Inc. As you can see, inconsiderate coworkers impact the company’s bottom line greatly, but they also affect the lives of the rest of the employees, in and out of the office.

The negativity of a toxic coworker can also follow you home and start impeding on your relationships with your loved ones. In fact, a study spearheaded by Sandy Lim of the University of Singapore found that “a bad mood caused by an oafish colleague doesn’t simply go away when we get home; bad moods travel home with us, causing unhappy employees to lash out at their family members,” reports the Association for Psychological Science (APS). What’s more, the study found that “[e]ven low levels of rudeness from a coworker can have a significant negative effect on a person’s spouse and home life.” As they say, misery loves company.

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The study surveyed 50 full-time employees and their spouses every morning and every afternoon over the course of 10 working days, gauging their hostility levels and whether they experienced any negative situations at work. The results of this study (and other studies) confirmed that the hostility and adversity experienced at work carried over into the home and caused the afflicted spouse to take out his/her anger on their partner, by being emotionally withdrawn and/or having emotional outbursts.

Rena Repetti, Professor of Psychology at UCLA, puts it best when she says: “The family is popularly imagined as a stable haven, a place where individuals come together to recuperate from the ups and downs of the outside world. But the family has ups and downs of its own; it is a dynamic system, not impermeable to outside influences but porous and continually in flux” (APS).

In order to start safeguarding your relationships (and career success) from the negativity of the office, it’s imperative that you’re able to recognize who the Negative Nancys are in the office and how to deal with them effectively so that they don’t get under your skin … or ruin your career.

Tell Us What You Think

Has an office jerk significantly impacted your career and/or life? If so, share your story with our community on Twitter or leave a comment below.

Leah Arnold-Smeets
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