How to Kill a Workplace Vampire


Good morning John. Good Morning Paul. How was your weekend?”

Oh mine was great. I got a chance to spend some time with the family at a water park. Let me tell you, they had a blast, but I think I probably enjoyed it more than they did”, Paul blurts out obviously still excited about the weekend and just waiting on someone to ask as he sips his coffee.

What about you John?”

“It was way too short”, John says as he smiles. “No it was good. I just sat around the house and relaxed. It was really refreshing. It made me ready to get some stuff done this week.”

“That’s how mine was also…relaxing.”

A man walks in with his shoulders slumped with a look of agitation already on his face and steps between the three people talking to each other and begins to pour himself a cup of sugar with a little coffee sprinkled on top.

“Ralph, how was your weekend?” Paul asked. John immediately exhaled a long sigh, almost exactly predicting how the conversation was about to go downhill.

Ralph begins to complain about his weekend, then having to come back to work to a job he doesn’t like, then how the government can’t get their crap together, then finally how bad the coffee taste.

Ralph is a VAMPIRE!

Vampires suck all the energy out of the room the moment they appear. They always have a reason something won’t work, usually accompanied with a quick anecdote reinforcing their negativity. To them it is futile to even try.  This mentality leaves them with an endless list of unsolvable problems that they are more than willing to share if given any opportunity.

Vampires however, aren’t depressed! On the contrary, they get great enjoyment and pleasure from destroying the positive feelings of those around them.  The only time you will truly see them smile is when they’ve driven everyone else into a sulk.  They wish to bite anyone with positive promise and convert them to joining the evil brood that annihilates a positive atmosphere.

Once bitten, if you don’t hold the anecdote, you yourself can turn into a workplace vamp.

How to kill a vampire:

Traditional vampires shrivel and die when exposed to sunlight. Workplace vamps react similarly when exposed to reason and reality.  Here are some practical saying you can use as wooden stakes when facing a vampire:

  • “Wow, that’s pretty negative. Anything else terrible we should know about?”
  • “Ralph, I see you’re not a morning person.”
  • “You’re a bright ray of sunshine today aren’t you?”
  • “You know, it’s a bright and beautiful day outside…but in here there’s a dark miserable cloud. I hope it changes soon.”

Make sure you smile after you say this. (See The Art of Smiling and Scolding). Then move on as if the negative comment wasn’t made. As long as you refuse to get caught up in the negative vapor they are releasing, they will get frustrated and move on to suck the energy from somewhere else.

If implemented correctly they will move on but may throw one last dagger they sound something like this: “I’m not being negative, I’m just being real. Some people don’t like reality.”

Now it’s up to you to decide if you want to respond to their departing hail-mary but if you do, I suggest telling them that is THEIR REALTY, not yours!




For more get:

The Jerk Whisperer

The Jerk Whisperer – How to Keep Adults Acting Like Adults

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

9 thoughts on “How to Kill a Workplace Vampire

  1. Love the disclaimer! 🙂 And I am not a fan of vampires – but I do try your notes and then just move on!

  2. A little levity lightens the lumps. Thanks for the tactics here.

  3. intrepidjane says:

    That gave me a chuckle this morning 🙂 🙂 I loved the “I see you’re not a morning person” .. in my mind’s eye, they opened up their cape and showed me their fangs at that one! 🙂 🙂 Then you got me thinking about office zombies : the ones who turn up to work but really aren’t there at all … looking forward to your advice on handling the walking dead! 🙂 [Greetings from Northern Ireland, by the way!]

  4. That’s a great idea. Doing a whole theme of Work Monsters is very intriguing to think about. Great idea.

  5. Reblogged this on chrisalbrycht and commented:
    This is an interesting vignette on how to deal with the emotional effects that negativity creates in the workplace. Bedsides ridding ourselves of these workplace vampires, or at least the effects their feelings have on us, we should try to determine why they behave in a negative manner. An interesting thought in this article suggests that workplace vampires purposefully try to infect others. Why is that? Have these individuals been attempting to communicate but were unheard and therefore they resort to negativity to finally get a reaction? We all have bad days and we want to vent to others to help us get out of the bad mood. Why are workplace vampires in seemingly perpetual bad moods? Do they have no one to vent their frustrations? Do they lack productive communication skills? Are they fearful or anxious of change? Do they lack resilience? Alternatively, are we unwilling to listen? Before you splash on the holy water or open the curtains on the vampire, maybe we should stop and try a bit of empathy and listen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: