Advice

Grow Up, Sex And The City Ladies, "Your Inner Child Doesn’t Belong In The Workplace," Says Expert

We all don't like people in the workplace, we also don't stand to make millions by pretending we do.

Samantha Jones was one cool cat, but the way Kim Cattrall and her Sex and the City co-stars have been acting in public is very uncool.

While it’s been widely reported that Kim and her diva-like demands were what ruined the third movie installment of the long-running HBO hit, Kim says that it was ultimately the way that her former costars treated her that put the final nail in the coffin.

"We've never been friends," Cattrall said in an interview with Piers Morgan's Life Stories. "We've been colleagues and in some ways it's a very healthy place to be because then you have a clear line between your professional life and relationship and your personal."

The show was the direct opposite, with Sarah Jessica Parker's character, Carrie Bradshaw, and her girlfriends leaning on each other like sisters as they searched for true love in New York. The show went off the air in 2004, with subsequent movies released in 2008 and 2010.

And Kim is taking all the blame for Sex and the City 3 being called off — but she’s not taking it anymore. And she’s not buying SJP’s explanation of why, either.

"We had this beautiful, funny, heartbreaking, joyful, very relatable script and story," Sarah told Extra last month. "It's not just disappointing that we don't get to tell the story and have that experience, but more so for that audience that has been so vocal in wanting another movie."

Kim came back with a direct hit:

”This is really where I take to task the people from Sex and the City and specifically Sarah Jessica Parker, is that I think she could have been nicer," Kim told Piers Morgan. "I really think she could have been nicer. I don't know what her issue is."

Can two (in this case four) adult women who stand to make millions from another movie really not put aside their differences long enough to work together for a few months? It can be impossible, career and workplace expert Lynn Taylor says. Especially when communication has completely broken down.

Taylor, author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant; How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior & Thrive in Your Job, says she addresses this very issue in her bestselling book.

“Mean girl syndrome goes into adulthood unfortunately,” Taylor tells Personal Space. “My book is about how grown adults revert to their terrible-two toddler selves in the workplace, as in life. The bottom line is there are 20 traits we carry from childhood to adulthood — that all find itself in the workplace.”

Taylor says we’re still going to have the same human instincts, fears, and behaviors that we had on the schoolyard as kids, and as adults display cliquish behaviors, and animosity at work.

“The inner child sometimes shows up and doesn’t belong in the workplace or on the set,” she says, adding that that’s exactly what’s happened with the SATC women.

“It rears its head everywhere and every day, in the PTA, in volunteer work, it’s not just actors,” she explains. “When there’s no specific hierarchy and no specific organizational chart it happens. Ego takes over.”

In the case of the SATC movie, everyone is “protecting their turf” and not looking at bigger picture.

“Someone has to be the voice of reason, say, ‘listen, we have more to gain by looking at common goal, this is a lot of money, a dream job, a huge opportunity,’” Taylor says. “Someone has to be the peacemaker. You have to acknowledge everyone’s needs and promote what there is to gain by everyone coming together and talk that up.”

Next, she advises, would be to address how bad it can be if it doesn’t happen, what that means for everyone, how it’s a lose-lose for everybody.

“Talk logically. People lose sight of the facts when emotion sets in.”

It’s not just women facing the “I hate so and so at work” dilemma, either.

“Women and men are different in how they express their emotions, but it doesn’t mean that the feelings aren’t there,” Taylor says, “Men may be more passive-aggressive or aggressive about it in a way that women are told they’re not supposed to be.”

You are not alone.

Fast Company reports that the book Toxic Coworkers: How to Deal with Dysfunctional People on the Job, psychologists Alan A. Cavaiola, PhD, and Neil J. Lavender, PhD, surveyed more than 1,100 employees and found that roughly 80 percent reported “moderate to severe stress as a result of working with a difficult coworker, boss, or subordinate.” But if you recognize your triggers and realize you’re not going to like everyone — and not everyone is going to like you — it's a good start.

Say you aren’t a famous actress who gets to call the shots and you actually have to deal with people who you dislike on a daily basis. What can you do to continue on your career path in a healthy way?

“In the heat of the moment, the famous ‘count to ten’ and leave the scene for a minute to get a better perspective always works,” says Taylor.

If it’s a day-to-day problem and the coworker is just unbearable, someone needs to “come to the table.” “If this is going on a day-to-day basis, the biggest problem in a contentious relationship is nobody comes to the table. They are afraid of conflict so they don’t talk. By avoiding the situation you’re only festering more hate and fear,” Taylor says.

“Someone has to bravely communicate on a light basis,” she adds. “Have lunch and talk about things you share in common — stay lighthearted, assume the positive, don’t assume people are out to get you. This person next to you is very much like you and wants the same things you want.”

Although Hollywood is notoriously cutthroat, so is every industry, Taylor says, and continuous conversation helps — even if you feel like you are talking to a toddler.

“If you can get across ’we can do amazing work together and I know we can get past this because we both want this,’ it’s possible it can work. A breakdown in communication doesn’t work. With talking and especially listening, you may be very surprised that a problem or conflict is misinterpretation and misunderstanding.”

Add four or five other people to the mix and that doesn’t go to a good place, like the SATC set.

“In the workplace three against one is called ‘the great shutout,’ it’s bullying,” Taylor says. “It’s hard to say that one person deserves to be treated differently, but being ostracized is never fair. There are two sides to every story."

“When a group of people make someone feel left out, it’s immature. I think if you’re the person on the receiving end, you just have to know you’re good at what you do and look above and beyond. In business it’s corporate karma, and it comes back to haunt you.”

Overall, not liking someone, especially where we spend most of our time, is perfectly acceptable — and an even very normal — experience. We’re thrown together with all different personality types, and there are always solutions. If the communication thing isn’t working, you can rise above with the patience of a saint, or file a complaint with human resources. Or, if you’re really pissed, you can burn the whole place down then talk trash about your experience on a national talk show.

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Cynthia Nixon Kim Cattrall Kristin Davis Sarah Jessica Parker Advice

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