So you started your first job, thinking you’ve landed a sweet gig and everything will be smooth-sailing from then on. Instead, you’re greeted with manipulative colleagues, pantry gossip and toxic drama. Office politics are unavoidable, especially if you’re the newbie and pegged as the resident millennial in the department, but fret not – here’s how you can deal with malicious attacks in the workplace like a pro.

DO: Stay professional

If someone is trying to get you in trouble, first assess if there’s any truth to what they say, and if there is, act quickly to fix things. Show up on time, do good work and be professional in your interactions. Not only will you become a more valuable employee, it’ll be hard for anyone to pick on you when you’re practically faultless.

Do: Always keep records

Emails, text messages and meeting minutes record timelines, what was said (and not said), the tone used and more. If you feel attacked, keep these – save them externally to a personal email account, for example – in case you have to prove yourself or if you’re wrongfully fired. Also, if your reputation is being dragged, subtly bring up the goals you’ve achieved at meetings and let colleagues know what you’re currently working on.

Do: Stand up for yourself

It takes some courage to confront backstabbers, but silence and meekness will only encourage them. Don’t accuse them openly as they might deny any wrongdoing, and don’t criticise their character in retaliation which may fuel tension. Ask to meet them privately, share how their actions make you feel, and tell them you would appreciate them being more supportive or to give you feedback directly, instead of pointing out your supposed flaws to higher-ups without giving you a chance to explain or do better.

Don’t: Keep quiet

If you feel like you’re being sabotaged, try to handle the situation yourself first. When you’re left with no other options, go to your boss and present your evidence. They’ll probably try to help you as they’d want to retain a hardworking worker over a negative employee sowing discord amongst staff. If the higher-ups don’t seem to care, it may be better to switch jobs for the sake of your own mental health and happiness.

Don’t: Be fooled

Some people are genuinely nice, but use good judgment if someone’s always trying to get in your good books – buying you treats, giving you li s and complimenting your outfits randomly. They may want you to get chummy with them so you spill your secrets, or that of others, which may then be shared without your permission and twisted out of context.

Don’t: Join in

When everyone’s having a bash bad-mouthing someone, don’t chip in. After a while, people will get the message that you’re not interested in o ice politics and will avoid involving you in these toxic conversations. It’s good for your emotional health, and you never have to worry about what you said being used against you or being overheard. It’ll also prevent you from being biased against people, which is always a good thing.

Featured image: Pexels

This article was adapted from Teenage Vol.30 Issue 2.

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