Office Frienemies: Are Your Work Buddies Bringing You Down?

Don't let one bad apple spoil your chances for success

(Image: Thinkstock)

They’re fun. They make you laugh and make the work days go by quicker. On the flip side, they’re also the same people who are constantly snickering over the latest gossip, bad-mouthing others and complaining about the company. You know them. They may not have the best reputation at work, but they’re the only coworkers that you vibe with. What would you do without them?

Mike Epps and Nelly know them too. Recently, a member of actor/comedian Mike Epps’ posse caused a fight at a Hollywood nightclub that ended up with a shot being fired and Epps having to flee from the scene. In October, while on tour, a member of rapper Nelly’s entourage got busted with drugs and a gun. While both celebs may have not committed these crimes personally, it just isn’t a good look for their careers.

As much as you may enjoy hanging with your 2 Live Crew, their not-so-good reps and negative influence may silently rub off on you—or worse, tarnish our reputation simply by association— even if you are a tip-top performer at your company.

Haters in disguise: As you and your homie-coworker-friend laugh it up in your cubes, there may be some underlining haterization going on. Maybe you snagged a big-time promotion and your work friend is a little green with envy. Maybe you’ve become your boss’ right-hand man and your coworker is still struggling to get your boss’ attention. Maybe he/she is just a slacker—albeit a nice person—and covets to be the worker you are. Either way, be careful who you closely associate with at the office.

Stealing your shine: As the old adage goes, “misery loves company.” If your coworker/friend can’t seem to make it out of the bottom of the barrel, then he/she may want to drag you down there, too. Obviously, these types of colleagues can be extremely damaging to a worker’s career.

How to deal: To save yourself from a severe side-eye from your boss, it may be time to cut ties with the bad apples. While it’s important to have friends at work, make sure they’re positive allies who will ensure you remain competitive and continue to grow. Start building relationships with other colleagues. Go out of your way to be professional, friendly, supportive and help others whenever needed. Cultivate a reputation as a team player and someone who can be counted on in a crisis.

Have you ever found yourself in cahoots with a “bad apple” or two at work? #SoundOff and follow me on Twitter @JayNHarrison.

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