Ask Mary Jo: Dating in college & dealing with toxic coworkers

Hi Mary Jo,

How do you build trust with a co-worker who has spread false accusations about you to other colleagues as well as HR just to defame your character?



The colleague you're describing is toxic, and the fact that you are working with them knowing they lie and spread gossip makes it impossible to trust them. Whatever you do, don't accept that you're powerless. Remember, a toxic person is known within a company. Unfortunately, many times supervisors don't make changes until several of their best employees find better work environments elsewhere. Here are some suggestions in the meantime.

  1. Have an honest, candid conversation with the person about their behavior. Tell them what you see and feel and ask them for honest feedback about your behavior. If you have a bad feeling about this. ask for a mediator to sit in so you won't be alone with the person since toxic people distort conversations.
  2. Talk with your direct supervisor. Suggest to your supervisor that a meeting with clear standards of expected behavior will help everyone be on the same page. Make sure there is documentation of this meeting and what was discussed.
  3. Don't let your anger allow you to stoop to their level. Toxic people like seeing people retaliate in response to them. They need attention; they're insecure and threatened easily. Keep your ego in check and be a professional at work. Set and maintain a standard of behavior that allows others to see you as a mentor and open for professional discussions.
  4. Take care of you. Working with a toxic colleague is stressful. If you've done everything you can but gotten nowhere, seek advice from HR or a trusted mentor. Brainstorm possibilities that will help. Changing departments sometimes help; however, it should not be at your expense. If there is no solution but to leave, leave with your head held high. Life is too short to allow a job situation to make you sick.

Hey Mary Jo,

As a young woman in college with my own dreams and vision, should I even bother to date in college?



My advice would be to continue to focus on your studies and join as many activities as you can. This will enhance what you're already learning and help you to network, which will become more important when you begin looking for employment. Friendships are important; rather than trying to date, make it about meeting new friends and sharing your life with them. Most of the people who end up dating someone in college began as friends. When you get more comfortable with your classes and routine, dating will be easier to manage, and you won't have to give up on your career dreams or visions.