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Maintaining a Positive Work Attitude

By Michelle Yozzo Drake

If you want a perfect example of the old saying, "Misery loves company," you need to look no further than most workplace break rooms today. With few exceptions, there is at least one person in every organization who complains, complains, complains.

Their boss is unfair; the workload is too heavy; the benefits and pay aren't good enough; they don't have a nice enough office; so-and-so didn't deserve that raise...and so on.

This malcontent spreads his or her negativity like germs in a nursery school. They lie in wait in the break room, ready to pounce on unsuspecting employees who come in for a cup of coffee or a donut; instead, they get an earful of just how awful it is to work for this company.

Unfortunately, this kind of negativity is a powerful thing. Before long, the malcontent army has grown, and they become the majority, poisoning the workplace environment with their dissatisfaction.

So what do you do if you're an employee who finds satisfaction in their work, who agrees with the policies and procedures of the company, who has a positive outlook, and who actually likes their job?

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It can be lonely out there for a satisfied worker, and as someone who loves what they do for a living, I want to reach out to those who are happy with their careers - and living among those who aren't - and offer my advice on how to maintain a positive attitude in a negative work environment.

It's no big secret that some people are truly working just to receive a paycheck. They're only interested in getting what they can out of the company versus giving anything back. While it's true that some companies take, take, take from their employees and give them the heave-ho without any regard to their service and loyalty, I challenge you to find a company that rewards hard work and loyalty - there are plenty of them out there. Good employers see the value their employees are providing, and they are doing everything they can to hold onto talented individuals. Do your research!

If you've already found a company that you want to grow with and your stuck among a group of co-workers who grumble through their days, the first thing you should remind yourself when you start to get pulled into their grousing is that your boss is probably really pleased with your positive attitude. He or she has recognized your sincere excitement over your work, and he or she will reward you for it and help you foster it, so schedule a time to talk with him or her about upcoming projects, goals that have been met, innovations and new challenges on the horizon. You'll find that a little pep talk with someone who is as committed to the company as you are can really boost your mood.

But while your boss may encourage your passion, your co-workers may feel a little intimidated by it. People are often skittish around passionate people because they don't quite understand where that passion is coming from - and people fear what they don't understand. Remember this and be sure that you don't push your own perspective onto someone else. Just focus on your own exhilaration and feel good about the fact that you're contributing in a positive way to your company. Perhaps your passion for work will subtly rub off on your co-workers. Enthusiasm can be just as contagious as negativity, but remember that real change - especially a shift in corporate culture - can take time, so don't be disappointed if you're the only one clapping after an announcement of a new project.

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Try to find someone else in your organization who is equally happy with their career. Having someone that you can share good work news with and go to for a mental boost during the workday can really help you maintain that positive attitude. Keep the level of engagement to a minimum with the griping group as well. Take on projects that are challenging and that keep you busy so that you won't have a lot of extra time for that negative coffee talk that's going on.

Know that most people who are very unhappy at work are usually pretty insecure about the type of work that they're doing. Your positive attitude may have your co-workers feeling a little bit unsure about your motives. Some may feel like you're trying to make the rest of the team look bad. In that case, your best defense is good communication. Let your co-workers know that you're passionate about the work and excited to be doing what you're doing. Explain that there are no bad intentions, and point out that if they can't muster up any sort of positive attitude about their job, maybe it's time they evaluate their own happiness and figure out what kind of work will make them just as passionate as you are.

Personally, I love to start my day with affirmations and a clear picture of what I want my day to look like. And then no matter what anyone else says or does, I have those affirmations and that daily plan to think about, and I can recall them and give myself an instant shot of positive vibes.

Remember that at the end of the day, it's about how YOU feel about your career, not what someone else thinks. YOU have to feel good about the type of work that you're doing, and you have the right to remain positive!

For more FREE tips on advancing your career and navigating the workplace, sign up for my FREE e-zine "Lipstick Leadership" at LipstickLeadership.com today! And check out the products I've developed to guide you toward the success you deserve!

�Words without actions are the assassins of idealism.� � Herbert Hoover