Your attitude boils down to your view of the world and life. A person with a negative attitude believes the world is basically a bad place with the rules and the odds stacked against them, and that people are basically selfish and mean, therefore their having a happy and successful life is not possible.
A person with a positive attitude believes the world is basically a good place, and people are basically kind and generous, therefore they can expect a happy and successful life.
Sometimes events contradict the positive attitude point of view. The economy goes bad and people get laid off. Someone at work treats you with disrespect. But the person with the positive attitude still believes, in the end, good will win out.
Be a Fan of Your Company
Let's be clear, no company is perfect. If you come to work every day expecting things to be wonderful, you're not in touch with reality and you're going to be disappointed. But if you come to work with realistic expectations, with the understanding that people aren't perfect and in almost every endeavor complications will arise, then you will not be disappointed.
If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong, and at the worse possible time - Murphy's Law
If you plan for human mistakes to occur and complications to arise, and you also expect your co-workers and your company to have the talent and fortitude to overcome any problems and be successful in the end, then you have the right attitude.
You should be a fan of your company, not because it's perfect and everyone that works there is perfect, but because of your and their persistence in overcoming problems and difficulties and being successful in the end.
So if you hear someone say "I can't believe so-and-so screwed that up" or "the company dropped on the ball on such-and-such", your response should be "yes, but I know we'll overcome that problem and be successful in the end". That's demonstrating a positive attitude.
You would think that an employee with a positive attitude would never complain, but that's not quite true. If an employee never complains, even in an environment where there are many problems, the company will assume that employee just doesn't care.
An employee with a bad attitude is a chronic complainer that complains even about minor things, but never offers any solutions. An employee with a positive attitude only complains about important things they offer ideas for solutions.
Here's an example of a non-productive complaint: "those idiots in production wouldn't give me any help and my hands almost froze off because some idiot keeps setting the thermostat too low."
Here's an example of a productive complaint: "I had to call production about a hundred times for part numbers, is there someone in production I talk to in person to speed things up?", and "My hands got too cold to work on my computer, can I move it away from that air-conditioning vent?".
The point is chronic complaints about everything without solutions is not productive and demonstrates a bad attitude. An occasional complaint about a problem that is affecting the company's productivity along with suggestions for solutions is complaining productively and demonstrates a positive attitude.
Watch Your Mouth
When talking in confidence to your best friends at work, you may say something derogatory about another worker or even about a company executive or even badmouth the company. You may not even seriously mean the thing you said, you're just trying to make interesting small talk, and besides your friend will definitely keep what you said in confidence.
The fact is, everything you say at work, whether in confidence or not, even to your most trusted friend or not, will be repeated. Maybe your trusted friend will mention it to their trusted friend, or it will be overheard by someone nearby but not visible, whatever, but everything you say at work will be repeated.
So before you let regretful words slip out of your mouth, think for a minute about that fact: everything you say at work will be repeated. Do you really want what you would say to be repeated all over the company. If not, keep it to yourself.
Gossip is the act of repeating a rumor. A rumor is a piece of unverified, and usually false information. Another word for rumor is hearsay, because if it wasn't hearsay it could be verified by asking a person who actually has the knowledge.
Some people, who have a poor self-image, feel that having a juicy piece of information makes them more important to their co-workers. A rumor can be a piece of false information about an employee, about a company executive, or about the company. False or not, this information can ruin someones career or destroy a company.
As an example, imagine someone spreading the rumor that because of problems, the company will not be able to launch their new product and people will need to be laid off. Quickly the rumor spreads outside the company, to the company's customers, and the company's investors. Although the company denies the rumor, it continues to spread and customers don't know what to think, so they cancel orders.
With revenues dropping rapidly, investors dump the company's stock. With a much lower stock value, the company no longer has the resources to launch the new product. Without the new product in the pipeline, people will need to be laid off. Gee, I guess the rumor was true after all!
So before you start gossiping and spreading rumors, remember they can cause damage to someones career or to your company, whether they are true or not. And if a rumor gets traced back to you, you could end up in court facing serious liability problems.
Understand Company Politics
Every company has politics. Many people view work as a competitive environment. In a competitive environment you want to make yourself look good while making your fellow workers look not so good. You would think someone could just point out their achievements to make them self look good, unfortunately people involved in company politics are not really smart or productive, so they have no achievements to point out.
Instead they make themselves look good by trying to make the other guy look bad, and by covering up their own mistakes. When you're involved in this type of warfare at work, It's good to have allies. In fact employees in most companies are divided into two waring groups called "cliques". The goal of each clique is to get the employees in the other clique fired and booted out of the company.
The drama of all this infighting can cause some people to get a bad attitude. So what can you do to avoid all this political backstabbing and maintain a positive attitude? Unfortunately there isn't much to can do to avoid getting involved in company politics. A political clique always has the view that if you're not one of them, you're their enemy. So if you're forced to join a clique, make sure you pick the winning clique.
The most active fighters in a clique are screw ups and have little actual skills, so as other people point out the fact they're screw ups they need to fight for their position. That's why you need to be continuously developing your skills so that you have value to the company. Then, even though you have to play along with company politics, you don't need to be deeply immersed in it. Just focus on your work, enjoy the political drama, but don't take it too serious.
People like other people who have a positive attitude, but even better they like people who encourage them causing them to have a positive attitude. The best way to encourage someone is to find something to praise. Almost everything has a bad side and a good side. All you need to do is point out the good side.
If you run into someone at work who hates their job, maybe you should remind them that all jobs suck. After you've been working at a place for a while, you learn all the problems. You might think quitting and getting a job at another company would be better. But after you've been working at the new job for a while you'll learn the problems there, and it may be worse than your old job. What you need to do is help that person think of ways that they can make their job just a little better.
I have a philosophy: Sitting in a boat, out on a lake, with a six-pack of beer, fishing - that's reality. Business, work, and earning money is just a game society plays. Don't get confused and take the game too seriously.
If you meet someone at work who is discouraged, try to make them understand that business and work is just a game. They should play along and enjoy the drama, but don't take it too serious. Have a sense of humor and get a good laugh at how screwed up the system is.