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Ask Dr. Zoe – Should I Quit If I Don’t Like My Coworker?

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‘Puzzled’ Asked:

I’ve become increasingly unhappy in my workplace (but not my position) due to a seriously unkind and hostile coworker. I’ve been pondering whether I should make a change but don’t have another job secured as yet. Is it faith or foolishness to leave a job when one doesn’t have another one to go to immediately? Not sure if the enemy is trying to drive me out or if the Lord wants me to leave or if this is all just my own doing.

Dr. Zoe Answered:

Unless you don’t need the finances your job provides, it’s foolish to leave when you don’t have another one secured. The sense of relief you feel will quickly be overshadowed by the stress of finding a new job before your savings run out. Unemployment is not guaranteed to employees who quit their job.

This may sound harsh, but quitting your job because you don’t like your co-worker is not stepping out on faith. That’s stepping out in anger and frustration. I have worked at a few jobs where I didn’t like someone, so I understand how energy sucking that experience can be. Don’t ignore it or its effect on you, but don’t harm yourself or your family by pre-maturely trying to solve a temporary problem.

You can make it a temporary problem by using your frustration as motivation to hit the pavement and secure a new job. No one should have to work in a hostile, miserable situation. In the meantime, here are a few tips for dealing with difficult, hostile people:

1. Minimize interaction—only facts. Keep it logical.

2. Don’t waste your time trying to convince them to see your point—you will never convince them. If you don’t play, the bully will bother someone else.

3. Expect them to be who they are—they have already shown you who they are. Don’t expect anything different. That’s craziness. Lower your expectations, and they won’t disappoint you.

4. Create a distraction. Change the subject if the conversation is not productive.

5. Don’t engage—keep your cool and keep quiet. Hostile people get fired up when someone else is up for a fight too. If you ignore their attempts to engage, they will get bored and will find a more willing partner.

6. Don’t take it personally—this isn’t about you. Their anger is a projection of their own miserable reality. Feel sorry for them, but don’t enable their spew of negativity.

7. Know your rights and defend if necessary—just because you aren’t engaging doesn’t mean you are a doormat. If someone is volatile or abusive, never accept this type of behavior. Know your rights and report them to HR if necessary.

Look at this as an opportunity to strengthen your people skills. You’ve got this! It just takes a little grit and grace!

Dr. Zoe


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Dr. Zoe is a licensed psychotherapist and relationship expert who recently jumped out of a perfectly good plane just for the experience.

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