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What to do if you are having issues with a co-worker

I have been working since I was 15 and got my first job at my local pool as a concessions attendant. It was the summer I turned 15 and was able to start buying my own things and saving for car maintenance. It helped me learn the value of a dollar and helped me learn how to act professional in the workplace at a very young age. Since then I have had several jobs throughout college and post graduation. While the industries may have changed, one thing is for certain: you will encounter people in the workplace that are difficult to work with and be around, but you will have to find a way to work with them nonetheless.

Dealing with a difficult co-worker or a coworker you don’t like can be very challenging. and can impact your outlook on your entire job. Tension can cause a hostile work environment and have a negative impact on your mental health. Discovering effective ways to navigate these situations is an essential tool in the workplace. Here are some of my tips for dealing with difficult co-workers.

Limit your interaction

If at all possible, just stay from the person you are not getting along with.

Have a one on one conversation:

What is causing the disdain or awkwardness in the office? If the situation is easily solvable such as a one time issue, its best to have a one on one conversation with the other employee. Be clear with what you perceive the issue as, and listen to their issues as well. Try to find common ground in order to move forward. DO NOT approach someone in a hostile manner or with intent to start a fight or be aggressive. Doing that will only further escalate the problem and may lead to further disciplinary action for the both of you and maybe even lead to termination.

Go to your supervisor

If the questionable behavior continues from the co-worker take your concerns to your supervisor. Be very clear about what issues are bothering you and be honest about how it is affecting your job performance. See if you can get a meeting between upper management, yourself, and the employee in question.

Go to Human Resources

If your interactions with this person are threatening or discriminatory in nature it is time to take the issues to Human Resources and make an official statement. Make sure the statement is on record and added to your employee file. If possible, have a copy made for your own personal records.

Look for a new job

While this may be the most extreme action you can take, if you have taken all the necessary steps to solve the issue yet the problem still persists, you may need to consider all of your options and look for employment elsewhere. If you are under an employment contract, use all of the documentation you have obtained to back you up in breaking your contract. Be very clear as to why you are leaving the company during the exit interview.

No matter what avenue you choose to take to resolve the issue, problems in the workplace should be addressed rather than left to fester and grow to become a major issue. Be open and honest about the situation, and be compromising in finding a resolution. You are going to encounter people you don’t get along with in nearly every industry and every office across the country. The important thing to remember is to have respect for yourself and for others around you.

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