AUNT JOSEPHINE Bad work vibes.


In the Moment - - Contents -


Q“Dear Aunt Josephine, I am nd­ing work a bit of a strug­gle lately, as my man­ager is a very neg­a­tive per­son. He is some­one who al­ways sees the glass half empty and brings a dark cloud over him as soon as he en­ters the o ce. I’ve started to avoid ask­ing him things like how his week­end was, as I know ev­ery­thing about it will be neg­a­tive. I try to turn things around and keep my pos­i­tive hat on but when

I am sat next to him for eight hours a day, ve days a week, it has be­come hard to keep a smile on my face. I of­ten come home feel­ing quite down and neg­a­tive my­self. Have you got any ad­vice you can give on how

I can stay pos­i­tive un­der his grey cloud?”

Feel­ing down, Corn­wall

A“Dear Feel­ing Blue, rst o I’d like to say that you sound like a lovely, pos­i­tive per­son. The kind of feel-good, ‘al­ways look on the bright side’ sort of hu­man be­ing who the rest of us like to be around. Those are amaz­ing qual­i­ties and you must al­ways re­mem­ber to come back to them, no mat­ter how oth­ers make you feel.

So how to deal with your neg­a­tive man­ager? It’s a tricky one since a) it’s your job and b) you can’t com­plain to your man­ager, be­cause he’s the prob­lem. I once had a sim­i­lar boss who a ected my life on a huge level. In my case, I sol­diered on for months think­ing that I couldn’t make a com­plaint, but in the end I went above my man­ager’s head and talked to their man­ager in­stead. The sit­u­a­tion was then dealt with ap­pro­pri­ately, and luck­ily my old man­ager ended up leav­ing any­way. But it did make me re­alise that we should never have to su er in si­lence, and that no one should have to put up with dam­ag­ing re­la­tion­ships at work. It’s meant to be a pro­fes­sional en­vi­ron­ment with grown-ups, not some­where to turn up and start act­ing in an un­ac­cept­able man­ner.

I would urge you to go to your next line man­ager, or to talk in con dence with the HR de­part­ment. That’s what they are there for, af­ter all. It’s not your prob­lem to deal with, and the chances are, if you feel that way about him, oth­ers do too.

On an im­me­di­ate daily level, how can you start to change things? De­pend­ing on how con dent you feel, you could make a light-hearted com­ment about how his com­ments or moods can bring you down some­times. Be­ing di­rect and ask­ing, “You don’t seem very happy to­day, are you OK?”, can also be a great way of call­ing some­one out. If you can’t do that, then keep things to a trans­ac­tional level. If you don’t ask ques­tions, you don’t get neg­a­tive an­swers (as you have al­ready learnt). Granted, this is not an ideal way to work long-term, but you need to pro­tect your­self at the mo­ment. Plus, if you re­duce in­ter­ac­tion with him, he might no­tice, and start mak­ing more of an e ort.

On a phys­i­cal level, are you able to move desks in or­der to sit with more pos­i­tive peo­ple? It might seem like a bold move, but your man­ager must be brought to ac­count. A good man­ager should be an in­spi­ra­tion and a cham­pion of you, not some­one who brings you down or uses you as a toxic dump­ing ground. It’s not fair and you don’t need to put up with it.

Out­side of work, don’t let him spoil your well-earned time o . See friends, have a laugh and do things that feel good and re­mind you of who you are. Neg­a­tive peo­ple can have such a hugely drain­ing e ect, but you don’t have to stand un­der his cloud with him, or take it with you when you leave work. Light al­ways wins against the dark; you just have to learn how to build rock-solid de­fences.”

& au­thor, Josephine Carnegie Jour­nal­ist, life coachcoun­selling but is holds a cer­tifi­cate in holis­ticout good ad­vice. best known for giv­ing

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