One of the first things my father told me when I started working was, "it's not the work that makes people unhappy at their jobs most of the time, it's the people you work with." I didn't realize how true those words were until recently. As you may have gathered from my bio, I've worked in many different types of jobs. Almost every job I've ever had has been rewarding and fulfilling in many ways. However, there is always that one person, or group of people, who can take your good day and make it a terrible one.
So what can you do to keep that person, or group of people, from ruining your work week? In reality, you can't change the person. You'd have better luck trying to win the lottery. People are who they are and they only change if they want to. So stop focusing on that person. They are just a co-worker. They're not your friend or your family, unless they actually are, in which case, you have bigger problems that won't be addressed here. The only way to stop it is: change your attitude.
"But I'm not the problem!", you say. In a way, you're absolutely correct. You are not the problem, but you are the solution. Most people are reactionary, meaning they don't think ahead about their actions. They merely react in the moment, impulsively, and usually without regard for anyone else's feelings. It's the world we live in, and work in, unfortunately.
The answer is: decide to be positive. Once you have a positive mind-set, you can decide to let the small things go. Don't sweat the small stuff. Most office annoyances are just that, annoyances, and should be regarded as such. Maybe the new girl took your parking spot. Maybe the creepy guy in the next office finished the coffee without making another pot. In the grand scheme of things, how big of a deal is it? Are you going to let some other person's immaturity or stupidity ruin your whole day? When you look at it objectively, you can actually laugh about it. Which helps immensely, by the way. Check out www.annoyingcoworker.com to commiserate with others dealing with the perils of workplace stress.
Of course, there are some office transgressions that should not be laughed off. Sexual harassment or harassment of any kind at work is illegal and should be reported to your Human Resources Department immediately. If you truly feel you are being harassed, you should remember to document the events with dates and times and details to describe what is happening. Without documentation, your claims cannot be taken as seriously as they should.
There are plenty of ways to reduce other people's effect on your workday. Listen to music if it's allowed, take your breaks outside in the sunshine if possible, and take the time to talk and laugh with co-workers who brighten your day. Make sure you're a positive influence on others. If you exude positive energy, it will come back to you every time. So, the next time that co-worker makes your blood boil, stop, take a breath, and decide to be positive. It works and it'll drive those annoying co-workers nuts!