Dealing with frenemies

  1. Hi everyone! I just started working at a rehabilitation facility where I float between assisted living department & memory care. Prior to working here, I've always worked as a private caregiver in home health. It has been very difficult for me to try to stay away from all the drama surrounding me between my coworkers. They all gossip to me about other people and sometimes even argue with each other at the job! It is very stressful because it seems like nobody likes each other nor get along with each other. There is a lot of smiling in each other's face and ripping them apart verbally and backstabbing. Management doesn't really do much and I've heard that a lot of good workers have left because of the drama. I have bills to pay and I'm making more than I did in my previous job so I'd hate to leave. I just want suggestions on how to make it tolerable for me to come to work? Ive spoken to someone in management about the problems and now I'm the one being gossiped about. Any suggestions? The problem with management is that they tell us they have an open door policy & that we can come to them with our problems, but when we do, it actually causes more problems with coworkers. It's really frustrating as I haven't had to deal with this as a private caregiver working by myself or even when I had one other person to work with. By the way I am a CNA with a bachelors in business. Thanks!!
    Last edit by medg on Jul 17
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   Cat365
    Be friendly, courteous, and efficient. Do your job and don't participate in gossip sessions. You can't change the culture so just don't participate.
  4. by   medg
    Thanks for the advice. No one really talks to me now which is a good & bad thing. I'm hoping that It will get better soon. I'm going to give it another month before I think about looking for somewhere else to work.
  5. by   soutthpaw
    Just tell the person that they are talking to the wrong person and should address it directly to the person involved. You could say that you will repeat any gossip they tell you directly to the person they are gossiping about. I bet that would shut them up pretty quick. Of course now everyone will gossip about you. At least you will be popular then.
  6. by   macawake
    Quote from medg
    They all gossip to me about other people and sometimes even argue with each other at the job!
    No one really talks to me now which is a good & bad thing.
    Hmm... these two statements seem to contradict one another. Are you saying that the talks you do have are limited to your coworkers gossiping about other coworkers?

    It has been very difficult for me to try to stay away from all the drama surrounding me between my coworkers. They all gossip to me about other people and sometimes even argue with each other at the job! It is very stressful because it seems like nobody likes each other nor get along with each other. There is a lot of smiling in each other's face and ripping them apart verbally and backstabbing.
    Management doesn't really do much
    The problem with management is that they tell us they have an open door policy & that we can come to them with our problems, but when we do, it actually causes more problems with coworkers.
    Claiming to have an open door policy is easy, but I think there are warning signs present that clearly indicate that's just something they say, either because someone took a leadership class or thinks it sounds good. It's not what they say, but rather how they act that's important.

    It is easy to gauge the backbone, integrity and professionalism of a leader if you look at the culture of the unit they lead. If things are as bad as you describe and there really is an inordinate amount of gossiping and backstabbing on your unit, it's not because management isn't aware. That type of culture only exists if management allows it to. You could be dealing with a leader who either condones and perhaps even participates in that type of behavior her-/himself, or one who's too weak to confront and discipline the offenders.

    In my opinion, there's not enough information in your post to decide if the workplace is truly toxic (in which case my advice would be to leave, because it won't change), or if you're just experiencing some problems settling in and figuring out the dynamics of this particular workplace.

    I don't know if you tried to approach your coworkers before you took it to management? I hope you did, because going straight to management without at least trying to solve things first, might affect both how your manager and coworkers view you. If the culture is really rotten, that likely wouldn't have made a difference but in a normal workplace I think that it's always best to try to address problems of the workplace drama variety with the person it concerns, first. Most of us, myself included and I'm sure you as well, appreciate being given the opportunity to resolve problems, instead of being bypassed and being told by our boss that we did something to annoy a coworker.

    So what should you do? Just focus on doing your job to the best of your ability and lend a helping hand to coworkers when they are swamped and you have a minute to spare (hopefully they will reciprocate in kind). Avoid getting entangled in the "gossip sessions" they're having, and of course don't gossip yourself (I'm not saying that you currently are, this is just general advice).

    Personally I usually just walk away from the coworkers that I encounter gossiping. I actually detest gossip, probably because I value people who have the guts to confront problems or differences of opinion head-on. I do realize that gossip isn't always malign or vicious, but can sometimes serve as a way to socialize and bond within a group. Despite that though, it still annoys me.

    The only times I've chosen to confront gossips is when I felt that their gossip risked harming another person's career/livelihood or when there were signs of systematic malicious targeting of a specific individual.

    Good luck OP!
    Last edit by macawake on Jul 17
  7. by   medg
    Yes, there is a lot going on with management. Where some hang out outside of work with my coworkers & they have their own problems that of course is brought into the workplace. Another manager is very passive & seems to rather deal with the office politics & not anything going on in residential side. And finally yes, some employees are dating each other between administration, floor workers (nurses, therapists, etc..) & other support departments such as housekeeping & kitchen. Everybody is entangled with each other some kind of way. Every time I'm interacting with someone, another person will approach me later to tell me why I shouldn't talk to that person. It's very unrealistic to assume that you can come to work & not talk to anyone. I feel like I got adopted into a very dysfunctional family unit. It is actually worse than what I've posted here due to me wanting to keep privacy so what you are reading is a very soft version of what really goes on here. Like I said earlier, I'll try my best to stay away from the drama & give it another month before I look for another job. Thanks!!
  8. by   livelovelaugh22
    Forgive me if this isn't a perfect answer, but this is how I deal with workplace gossip.

    My mantra is "if they don't pay my bills, then their words don't affect me". Well, this is what I told a coworker yesterday after she complained that another NA might have been talking about her.

    As long as your patients are being taken care of, then you have nothing to worry about. I would try to ignore the gossip. Other than that, I have no other helpful advice to give you. However, if enough time has elapsed since you being hired, then you should look into applying for another job. A toxic work environment like that is not salvageable.

    I have had the misfortune of observing toxic units within my own hospital. The nurses and nursing assistants seem to be pitted against one another and the patients ultimately suffer. However, because I am in the float pool, I am not subjected to the endless suffering. I wish you the best of luck.
  9. by   caffeinatednurse
    The answer to your question depends on your priorities. If you really need the paycheck, then focus on your job and ignore the drama. It's doable, trust me.

    If the drama makes your job unbearable, look for another job.
  10. by   medg
    Hi thanks for all the advice. I have found another job and it's been going pretty good so far. Management is much better.

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