Office Life

Do You Suffer from Attitude Parasitism?

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being motivated by money. Hell, anyone who says they aren’t is probably trying to suck up to the boss! But money isn’t everything, and employees who show up to work and demonstrate they’re there just for the paycheck are probably suffering from what I like to call attitude parasitism.

What is attitude parasitism? Simply put, it’s what happens when a bad attitude grows into a dangerous, ambition-sucking force that can’t be stopped. It also relates to the primary difference between a hardworking employee and an indifferent one.

Common symptoms of attitude parasitism in the workplace include (but are not limited to):

  • Complaining and gnashing of teeth at the idea of doing the bare minimum job requirements
  • Talking, texting, spacing out, or screwing around instead of completing projects
  • Mouthing off to managers and/or superiors
  • Never finishing your work on time or to specifications

This condition has another unfortunate side effect: its reach tends to multiply if left untreated. That means that attitude parasitism canaffect employees exposed to the infected individuals! Traditional parasites feed off of their hosts and suck nutrients in order to survive, just like attitude parasites feed off of negativity and suck initiative from other employees. Think about it…wouldn’t you find productivity challenging if you sat near another employee who constantly slacked off (and maybe even urged you to do the same)? How about if that indifferent employee was getting paid the same as you to do half as much work?

I have good news, though. Attitude parasitism isn’t always contagious! If you spot a staff member who embodies the aforementioned traits, then you can use one of two techniques in order to distance yourself from him or her.

First, you can talk to the offender and express that you want no part of their bad work ethic. If that doesn’t work, try talking to your supervisor about the problems you’ve noticed (or slip an anonymous note under your manager’s door if you feel like you’re “tattling”). Second, you can choose to ignore them. This method won’t bring the issue to management’s attention, which means the issue may linger, but it may provide you with peace of mind.

My point is this: you don’t have to let other employees’ attitude parasites affect your productivity or workplace morals. We’ve all worked with negative people who try to bring down the work ethic of everyone else (sometimes they’re referred to as slackers, bad eggs, bad seeds, or lazy asses), but we don’t need to play their little games. Find value in your job, abide by the rules, and work hard and you’ll avoid the infectious and highly contagious condition known as attitude parasitism!