How to Decontaminate Toxic Co-Workers

Another Monday. But it is a Monday when most of us in the United States have a day off of work, for Memorial Day. Since we are not at work, I thought it would be a fun time to think about co-workers. Here is a question a client brought to me.

Dear Dr. Rick: I work in a toxic work place. I need to take charge of my situation and make it work for me. I am a positive and helpful person in general but this is really making me sick inside. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. – Chris M.

Dear Chris M: This is a real nice challenge in front of you. This is clearly a big issue in your life, making you feel physically sick in fact. Think how wonderful it is going to feel this improves!

I would focus on two things. First, embrace the wonderful fact that your work environment WILL change... the toxicity will eventually dissipate. Think even further that you will eventually have a dreamy job in a wonderful environment working with wonderful people.

Second, improve the "you" part of the equation. It's the only part you personally can control, anyway.

In other words, focus on shifting your thoughts from “it’s making me sick” to “I love my work environment.” Work on it in baby steps, but keep moving forward with it a little each day.

Catch yourself each time you fall into a negative thought about it like "toxic" and "sick". Replace these words to yourself with a sweet affirmation like "I love how each day my work environment gets better and better." It may happen slowly, but hold on to that affirmation and one day there will be what feels like a quantum leap.

As you do the inside work continuously and seemingly without a major shift, then all of a sudden the outside work gets done in giant steps. But this can only work if the inside work is being done.

Stick with it. Challenge yourself to write positive affirmations about your work environment and co-workers. There certainly are currently positive things you can say about it, like, “I appreciate getting a steady paycheck. I love having job security. I am happy to be working. I really like my favorite customer. I enjoy the work I do.” Write something, and then build on it. It will expand and expand.

Ultimately, this is the only path to your dream career with your dream co-workers. It is shifting to a place of appreciation of your current career. Focus on the parts you love, and the parts you love will expand.

-Dr. Rick

Rick Schaefer, M.D. is known as the Happiness Coach. He is the creator of Guilt-Free Coaching, and is the author of Extreme Thought Makeover™… 37 Days to Maximum Life! He speaks throughout the U.S. and has a following in more than 50 countries. To learn more or to work with Dr. Rick directly, call 414-573-8880 or go to