If you have worked long enough, chances are you have experienced a bad workplace. By bad, I mean, toxic… bad colleagues, a difficult boss, unrealistic expectations and all. No one chooses a bad workplace; it is just the luck of the draw sometimes. For a lot of people, a bad workplace can really take its toll. The added stresses of a bad workplace can cause mental and emotional strain on a person. When you find yourself in a bad workplace, it does not have to mean added stress for you. There are ways you can cope with it, come out unscathed, and even find success and productivity.

Be Hyperfocused on What You Are Doing

A toxic workplace can be a real distraction when it comes to doing what you need to do and delivering. However, focusing on what you need to do instead of what’s happening all around you can help you overcome the negativity that surrounds you. Stay focused, be productive, and keep your head down to maneuver your way through each day. One fantastic way to block out what’s going on around you is to get some noise cancelling headphones and put on some up beat or calming music, whichever works for you.

Don’t Add to the Madness at Your Workplace

You can’t complain about being in a bad workplace if you add to the madness. Are you a part of the problem? Take an honest look at what is going wrong in your workplace, and see if you have any part of it. If you are contributing to the drama of the workplace, then you have a lot more power over influencing the situation than you think. Don’t take part in the madness; make a change for the good. Others in your workplace are affected by your attitude, so if you have a bad one, evaluate what role you play in office politics.

Don’t Bring Your Workplace Home

Ok, sometimes you can’t escape a bad workplace, but it doesn’t mean that you have to bring it home. Your home should be your safe haven – even if you’re doing all or some of your work at home this year. Leave all of the drama and contention at work. When you leave your work or close your laptop, relax at home and gear up for the next day. If you bring home the drama and issues that exist in your workplace, it will make your home a toxic place as well. The last thing you want to do is let the toxic aspects of work slip into your home life.

Be a Good Example

It is hard to get people to change their ways. In fact, I would say that you can’t force people to change, but you can be a good example. What is important is how you carry yourself in a bad workplace. Keeping your head down and working hard is one way to be a good example. Pitching in and helping where others don’t want to is also a good way to make a difference. Your experience in a bad workplace is what you make of it. If you are concerned about the state of your workplace, go to human resources and voice your concerns. If HR doesn’t help correct the situation, then maybe it is time for a change. There is no shame in removing yourself from a bad workplace situation. Do your best to be a good example and if that isn’t enough, find a better situation where you can work in peace.

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Greg Stuart is the owner and editor of vDestination.com. He's been a VMware vExpert every year since 2011. Greg enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 kids. He has 20 years of IT experience and currently works as an IT Consultant both in the private and public sector. Greg holds a BS in Information Technology and an MBA degree. He currently resides in Southeast Idaho. You can follow him on Twitter @vDestination, read his blog (vDestination.com) and listen to his podcast (vDestination.com/feed/podcast).