2010 Career Challenge: J = Jilted

[wpvideo E8Qg8Uv1]Is it just me, or do people seem to take things way too personal these days? I understand that there are elements of the workplace that can stir up bad memories of high school – like when your girlfriend didn’t call and so you figured she must be mad about something?

Fast forward to this morning when you received an email from your boss with a one-word response to a question. Rather than assume he’s busy, say, in a meeting sneaking a quick glance at his phone under the table – you think he must be angry with you.

So what do you do next? That’s right… you waste time stewing over your supposed offense, e.g.  “I know I’m behind on the research project. Maybe he’s peeved about that. Could he have seen me sneak in late this morning?”

We’ve all read too much into a situation that turned out to be nothing in the end. However, if it seems like you’re feeling jilted more often than not at work, it could be because…

You’re Too Insecure: Are you constantly wondering and worrying about what others think of you? Relax. Unless a colleague specifically brings up an issue, believe that everything they do is well-intentioned. In other words, if a coworker sees you walking down the hall and suddenly does a pivot turn in the other direction – don’t assume they hate you – assume they forgot something.

You’re Too Competitive: If you want to become a leader, you have to get out of superstar Lone Ranger mode. That means turning your attention away from petty competitions with colleagues and toward behaviors that allow the whole team to win. A rising tide lifts all boats.

You’re Too Negative: Our thoughts directly affect our attitude, which directly affect our actions. So make a decision – right now – to convert your negative thoughts into ones that empower and inspire you.  How much better and more positive would your office become if everyone focused on …

…strengths instead of weaknesses

edifying each other

…opportunities instead of problems

…what is possible versus what “will never work?”

In photography (as in life), the wider the lens, the better the view. So the next time you’re feeling jilted at work, take a step back. And at the risk of triggering even more bad memories from sophomore year – remember – it’s probably not you. It’s them.

Note: This is Part 10 in a series called the “2010 Career Challenge: Becoming a Rock Star from A to Z” by Emily Bennington and Skip Lineberg, co-authors of Effective Immediately: How to Fit In, Stand Out, and Move Up at Your First Real Job.

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