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Just because you’ve aged doesn’t mean you’ve matured. Too many of us can attest to that judging by what happens in the workplace. It can often resemble high school. Sure there’s no principal, SATs or report cards, but my how folks can be so rude and nasty.

A childish office environment tends to be the one with limited productivity and unnecessary chaos. Rather than focus on your job, you spend your day dodging the targets people try to put on your back. Here are some signs your office is like a high school.

Water cooler gossip is real. Who needs to gather around lockers when you have the water cooler? Be careful what you do or put out for others to see. It could come back to haunt you. Gossip not only causes strife but can birth a false reality that can jeopardize your career.

Cliques make it hard to work together. Can’t we all just get along? It’s one thing to develop a bond or friendship with a co-worker, but it’s a completely different story if you choose to isolate yourself from a person who isn’t a part of your inner circle. Remember, you’re a professional who needs to work together with other people in order to get a job done.

Tattletales are quick to keep your boss in the loop. Folks should worry more about their skill set and changes they can make to advance their careers instead of trying to rat you out. Unfortunately, some “professionals” out there have no problem whispering in your boss’ ear in order to get you in trouble and take your position.

Set you up to take the fall. Be careful who you trust around the office. Not everyone who comes in the name of friendship is looking to create a lasting bond. Always double check your work as there are co-workers out there who will smile in your face and try to throw you under the bus.

Challenge your self-esteem. Just as you had to have thick skin during your high school days, the same can be said about work life. Be prepared to deal with back-handed compliments, criticism and even bullying situations. While you can’t control how others act, you do have a say in rising above the matter.

Make working together a difficult task. One can only hope you’re on a team with people who enjoy working and can carry their own weight. Some will feel entitled and not want to do “menial” tasks while others can and will drag their feet until the very last minute.

No matter how crazy your job can get, it’s important to rise above the pettiness. Never allow someone’s immaturity to influence or compromise your professionalism. Allow foolishness to go unchallenged so you can focus on what you need to do to climb the ladder of success.

Here are a few reads to help you cope with an unruly workplace or co-workers.

Why You Shouldn’t Let Co-Workers Influence Your Career Decisions

10 Signs Your Co-Worker is Out to Get You

How to Handle Super Lazy Co-Workers

Signs Your Associate is Not Your Friend

How do you deal with high school situations at work?

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