We've all worked with a Negative Nancy. She walks in the front door and happiness runs out the back. Everyone dreads having to collaborate with a Negative Nancy because that work attitude is so terrible. And you'd rather skip lunch than have to sit next to Nancy in the breakroom, subjected to the endless comparisons between the office and a medieval prison.
But have you ever wondered if you're a bit of a Negative Nancy yourself?
It happens to the best of us. Work gets monotonous. Lazy coworkers become intolerable. And the glare of your computer gives you a constant headache.
As unbearable as a job can sometimes seem, that doesn't give you an excuse to bring everyone around you down as well. Not to mention, the detrimental effect negativity could have on your career.
If you feel like there's a rain cloud following you to work everyday, it might be time to check your work attitude. Here are four signs you might be turning into Negative Nancy and how to turn that frown upside down:
1. You've started to slouch.
It's a natural instinct to slouch when you're in a bad mood, but bad posture is a sure sign to others that you're not into your job anymore. Sending out negative body language signals, like crossing your arms or not making eye over a long period of time, can give your boss the wrong impression about your engagement and cause them to question the effect on your coworkers.
In the 2014 "The Multi-Generational Job Search" study from Millennial Branding and Beyond.com, 84 percent of employers said a positive attitude is something they value in an employee. And if your boss notices your negativity, it could cost you your job.
The good news is that correcting your posture can improve your mood. Research published in Health Psychology found that sitting up straight reduced negative moods, when dealing with stress.
2. You have a complaint about everything.
The world's an imperfect place, and that can be frustrating. But if you find yourself going on a 20 minute-rant about the low quality of the pens the company supplies, you're reacting like Negative Nancy.
Constantly complaining keeps you from being productive and distracts your coworkers. And while it's one thing to deal with your bad work attitude yourself, it's much less forgiving when you force it on others.
Know that some things are completely out of your control. For example, working with high maintenance clients is something you just have to put up with. Create positive change and direct your energies to making things better instead of complaining.
When you feel yourself wanting to vent, take a step back and think about what would make the situation better. Come up with a plan, and talk with your manager about improving the issue. Being proactive will get you better results. And remember, you're more likely to get what you want if you present your idea with a smile on your face.
3. Coworkers stopped wanting to spend time with you.
How long has it been since somebody stopped by your desk to ask how your weekend was? Or when was the last time you were invited to join coworkers for drinks after work? If it's been awhile, it's probably because of your bad work attitude.
And don't tell yourself that you don't care about coworkers liking you.
Even if you're not a natural people-person, who we work with can have a positive impact on our jobs and careers. In a 2015 Virgin Pulse survey, 66 percent of employees said their work relationships positively impact their productivity and focus.
Stop focusing on how much you hate your job, and turn your attention to your co-workers. Chances are they're dealing with the same issues you are. Instead of brooding by yourself, go out with your coworkers and let off some steam together.
4. Even good news sounds bad.
One of the worst side effects of negativity is ceasing to see the good part of anything. Getting new software means having to learn how to use it. Landing a new account doesn't seem like something to celebrate, but rather one more thing you'll have to deal with. It creates a vicious cycle where nothing seems good enough to pull you out of the bad mood.
That's why if you get to this Negative Nancy level, it can be hard to turn back. But it's not impossible.
Every time your thoughts start focusing on a negative aspect of something, force yourself to write down three good things. If you're back to thinking about the bad within a few minutes, jot down four new positives. Eventually you'll have thought of so many good things it'll be hard to see something as bad news.
Nobody likes Negative Nancy. That bad work attitude is contagious, and the complaining never stops. Not to mention, the Negative Nancy is a huge buzzkill. For the sake of your career, stop being like Nancy and start making the most of your workday. You'll be glad you did.
What are some other things that help you snap out of a bad work mood? Share in the comments below!
Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers. Connect with Val and CareerShift on LinkedIn.