Toxic Energy at Work


I normally don’t write about work because it could get me in trouble. But this rant is mostly harmless so I should be ok.


My job at the bank is mostly “back office”; everyone on my floor is in a similar capacity. On my floor, there aren’t many people who actually seem enthusiastic about their work. In fact, many people mope around and seem to be half asleep. I am very fortunate that my direct group is nothing like this, but I feel sorry for my colleagues who aren’t so lucky.

I’ve been thinking about this because I’ve been observing how a “new hire” is being assimilated into one of the groups that sits near me. She has spent the entire week looking over people’s shoulders, presumably learning about systems and work she is supposed to assume. There is zero enthusiasm coming from the people in her group. It’s as if they are saying “here’s a nasty process that isn’t important but you will need to do it. Moreover, it’s so tedious that I can barely muster the energy to explain it to you.” Imagine starting a new job and experiencing this type of toxic and soporific energy from your new colleagues!!

Aside from the negativity of this approach, there is also a laziness and impracticality of training people this way – I suspect most people would agree. If you’re going to give me a process that needs to be done on a recurring basis, freaking sit down and type up documentation! It’s quite clear why the trainer wouldn’t want to do this… it’s hard work to document a process. It requires you to actually think about it. Worse, it requires you to be organized and think about the big picture. Instead of this method, I constantly see people being trained by watching someone else flip through Excel files.

What about this instead: when a person is given a process to own, hand them a detailed document which explains the necessary steps and where to find all source files, etc. Make sure you include an overview section that succinctly says what the process is supposed to accomplish. Then let the person spend a few hours going through the document and the associated files. The trainer should be available to enthusiastically answer any questions the person will have along the way. This way, the questions will be informed and pointed. I guarantee this would be a far, far more productive way of training someone.

So, as I gear up to leave my job for grad school this summer, I plan to hand documents to anybody I’m training on my processes. If I have to train someone on things which are tedious and dull, I will have a big cup of coffee beforehand so I sound enthusiastic and high-energy.

Bottom Line: if you are bored by your job, get a new one… or at least try your best to hide it!

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