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Corporate Culture: Survival in the Mean Girls’ Club

Heather Edwards Mental Health Counseling / Articles  / Corporate Culture: Survival in the Mean Girls’ Club
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Corporate Culture: Survival in the Mean Girls’ Club

heather edwards corporate coachWelcome to the mean girls club! Unless you’re ready to sail the seas of cheese, you’ve got to step up and ground yourself in what can be a gut wrenching work culture. Politics, alliances, agendas, clicks, personalities, micro-management, and worst of all – the blame game are just a few of the head trips that play out.

Where there’s position, power, and money, there’s competition, manipulation, and greed. So use these tips to stay steady and true to you. At the end of the day, it’s your conscience that allows you to rest comfortably in the arms of Morpheus (the Ancient Greek God of Sleep).

Boundaries: Recognize what you have power over. Focus on what falls within that realm and do your job like a pro. If you’re feeling angry, resentful, or exhausted it could mean you haven’t set a clear boundary. Get clear on your responsibilities. If you’re doing more, i.e. working late hours or taking on additional roles, request a meeting with your boss and ask for a promotion or raise.

Respect: Show your team respect. What you give is what you get. So pay it forward and reap the positive results. Say, “hello”, “please”, and “thank you”. Give your coworkers credit for a job well done. Give support in order to get support.

Communication: Be honest and tactful. This means delivering your message the way you would want to hear it AND actively listen to others. Use “I” messages with concrete, behavioral terms. Repeat back others’ messages to be sure you’re on the same page.

heather edwards corporate coachPeace: Do a mini meditation at your desk between tasks. This can take 5 minutes or less. Refocus your attention on your breath & body, notice any tension in your shoulders, neck, and back. Breathe into those places and recite a positive mantra like, “I can do this.”

Movement: Get up and take a walk. Go to the water cooler, bathroom, or do lap around the building. This will help clear your mind and get your blood and muscles moving. Studies show it brings a clarity and renewed energy to your work.

Nutrition: Eat! Too many people skip lunch at work. Your body needs fuel. Here in NYC there’s a fruit stand on almost every corner so there’s no excuse for not eating. Low blood sugar negatively affects mood, energy, and focus. Feed your body and mind. Plan accordingly.

Flexibility/expectations: Realize that your coworkers are human, fallible creatures. Allow a little wiggle room for grumpiness and don’t take it personally. Who knows what that rude coworker is going through outside the office. It doesn’t excuse unprofessional behavior, it just allows you some distance from their problems. If it’s intrusive enough, talk to HR.

Sense of Self: Know yourself. Create a dynamic life outside of your job. Take pride in your work but don’t tie your ego to your position.  Feeling purposeful, loved, and energized in other pursuits helps balance what can drain the life force inside the machine.

heather edwards corporatePersonal Mission Statement: On a fundamental level this is your constitution. It’s the solid definition of your values and vision. It keeps you centered and grounded. Now you can open your palm and unhand the stressful dynamics at play.

When the mean girls are blaming, abdicating, or excluding you, remember who you are and what you value. Hit the pause button. Respond, don’t react. At the end of the day, you’re going to sleep better knowing you did your best to honor your personal integrity. 


Photos courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by marcolm, Ambro, and stockimages.

Heather Edwards, LMHC, BCC

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