Constant Arguing and Yelling

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about unpleasant climate: “How do I cope with this until I find another job?”

I work for a small office and all of the owners, four of them, are constantly yelling about each other and to other employees. The constant arguing, complaining, yelling and cursing make me very anxious and dread going to work every day. How do I cope with this until I find another job?

Signed, Until

DearĀ Until:

You are wise to seek work elsewhere. It is unlikely that anything you might do could change the behavior of four owners who apparently have such a pattern as you describe. Can you survive until you find other employment? Yes, I predict you can. Can you not hate to go to work? Probably you will continue to wish you didn’t have to go, but the fact is that many people endure difficult working conditions; from hateful bosses and/or coworkers to unsanitary/unsafe environments.

Must you bite your tongue while verbal spitballs fly about your work station? That is up to you. You can voice your displeasure, such as, “Sam, Sally, Alice, and Dan, can’t you just get along for the sake of this business? I try to do good work, and would like to do that in peace not in a battle ground.” Don’t expect such a comment to be a quick fix. Possibly you could follow up voicing your displeasure by a brief time-out talk with one or more of them. In such a conversation, you could frankly say something like, “I am uneasy to say anything about the yelling and cursing. Do you understand how that distracts from what you have assigned me? Do you just want me to say nothing or to remind you the next time you’re yelling at each other?”

If you choose not to confront even in a small way, you can unobtrusively focus on the kind of workplace you want. Look for it on the Internet and talk to friends about what is the atmosphere where they work. Think in terms of a career path and not just a job. What skills do you have? What can you set forth on a resume? Are you on LinkedIn? Do you have local or college job fairs? Find a workplace that is healthy and worker friendly.

Life is too short to hate to go to work. Don’t gossip about this with your family or friends. You may need to vent distress, but others will wish you’d shut up if you talk about what is bad too much. That is to suggest: don’t allow this hateful environment to become even worse for you be being obsessed with how bad it is; replaying what goes on like a broken record in your head. Fill you mind and heart with positives: songs, poems, and affirmations that uplift. Talk to yourself about what you enjoy outside of the workplace; those that need someone to tutor them in the library, shut-ins who need someone to read to them, volunteer at a hospital, etc. And if you are inclined to story-telling, just think of the dialogue you can write based to what you hear at work.

Does any of this make sense or spark some other way to cope? Scan more of our Q&As to get more ideas about how to cope. My associate, Tina Lewis Rowe, is excellent and has answered hundreds of questions such as yours. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. Before understanding this signature sentence, you may find some Q&As that you would like to copy for the owners of your workplace.

William Gorden