We’ve all been there – we want to be included in the group at the office or in our internship, so we try to adopt the dialogue. We start speaking our “office speak,” and maybe you develop a relationship or a vernacular with your co-workers that your friends wouldn’t see outside the office. In some cases, it’s good to change and grow with the culture of your office, but in others it can spark big trouble. When you’re as heads-down or intrenched in your job as PR peeps are, you’re especially vulnerable to some of these awkward office encounters. The best thing to do is remember to keep your own interests top of mind. You may want to make nice with your colleague or superior, but if trash-talking is happening you want no part of it. Here are a few odd social situations that can happen in the office, and how to handle them.
You and your cube-mates have developed a very sarcastic back-and-forth, but now you feel like it’s toeing the line – Maybe you all started with a few harmless jokes, but now you’re sensing someone’s feelings are hurt or you are taking the jokes to be cutting or mean. It can be hard to dial back the sarcasm, but why not inject some friendly speak into the conversation. Compliment your friend on her new blouse or ask how she made her delicious-looking brown bag lunch. You may all be a little biting, but if you keep most of the conversation light, you’ll avoid getting carried away with the nasty comments.
A co-worker loves to vent about her issues with another co-worker, and you feel you have to participate – I’m here to tell you, you don’t! While you may like your colleagues very much, she is not your BFF who can lay all her troubles of the world on you, looking for you to bond with similar issues. If a co-worker needs to vent, let her blow off steam, but don’t join in with more comments. Smile and offer support or a solution if there is one, but keep yourself clear of any bashing. Plenty of PR girls and guys have gotten in trouble for merely participating in negative talk, even if they may not have been the instigater.
You find yourself getting annoyed by what’s going on around you – Maybe you got up on the wrong side of the bed. Maybe a co-worker is just talking way too loud on the phone. Or someone is asking you a million questions you feel like you’ve answered a million times. Instead of waiting until you snap, get up and take care of yourself. Make a cup of tea, put your headphones in, go for a quick walk. We’re all in this together, but you’re no help to anyone if you’re on the last string of your sanity. Take care of you first.
And of course, if anything is making you uncomfortable in the office or you feel your work is suffering as a result, talk to your supervisor as soon as possible.
Come across any tricky office situations lately?