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Here are some common situations you may experience and our suggestions for minimizing their effect on you:
Someone is yelling at you
If it is an unexpected crisis that is causing an otherwise rational person to vent in your direction, let the storm blow over and do not take it personally. More often than not, the person will feel bad and apologize once it is out of his system. If a client or a superior verbally abuses you repeatedly, look him straight in the eye and calmly tell the person that you will talk to him when he calms down. If he doesn't calm down, leave the room. If you set the precedent that you will accept personal and recurrent verbal abuse, it will definitely happen again.
Locker room humor
You may work in a very macho environment. This kind of work environment can be uncomfortable for anyone, regardless of gender, marital status, culture, religion or sexual orientation.
Try to draw your own personal boundaries about what you find acceptable and what you absolutely will not tolerate. Don't compromise your boundaries, you will regret it. If it's easier for you, make up excuses for your lack of participation and stick to them. "I can't drink; I'm allergic to alcohol." Whether you are male or female, think of a socially acceptable reason why you can't attend a happy hour or the strip club. "I have to meet my personal trainer," or "I'm going on a date."
All of your peers get together every Friday night to drink and dance at a particular club. You were never invited to go along. Now you are starting to notice that your peers are obviously closer to each other, bonded by their revelry, and you are not part of the crowd. They go to lunch together. They seem to know about each other's personal lives. You start to feel left out. How do you fix the situation?
Culturally ignorant colleagues
At some point, your co-workers may reveal some sort of bias due to their own ignorance or lack of exposure, whether it's sexist, racist, homophobic or anti-religion. Try not to take unintentional offenses personally. And definitely do not take it upon yourself to educate co-workers on your personal politics, culture, or religion. Likewise, be sensitive and avoid potentially ignorant remarks about other cultures, politics, ethnicity, looks or education.
In some tough work environments, adults can regress into junior high behavior for all the same reasons as schoolyard bullies: insecurities, personal problems, the desire to impress others. Some insecure individuals may single you out for aggressive teasing or unwanted attention, disguised as good-natured ribbing. How should you deal with the bullies?
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