I have remarked on more than one occasion on how people are getting fired faster and with less cause today than ever before. Whereas at one time, people were only fired for incompetence or a crime, today it might be because a new manager just doesn’t like how you make them feel.
One of the more common reasons for letting someone go is by using that “you don’t fit with our company culture” statement. Sometimes that is a good thing for you; sometimes it is a cop out for the employer.
Here are some issues you might want to be aware of:
• Treat overly friendly people with normal, realistic behaviour and don’t disclose too much about your personal life. Know the difference between associates and friends. Charming people make it easy for you to open up about yourself, but you never know where or when they may use that information to your disadvantage.
• Watch for people who can only see one side of an issue, it might not be the same side as you’re on. Short-sighted colleagues or bosses can make you look bad or incompetent even when you’re not.
• Listen out for peers who badmouth anyone behind their back. What might they be saying about you? Shut down gossipers as soon as they start denigrating someone by changing the topic or walking away.
• Look at criticism as a gift. (After assessing whether it really is you or the criticizer). Ask a criticizer to give you an example of your difficult behaviour, and then act accordingly. It is ok to be wrong. It’s okay Wear elastic around your wrist and every time you resort to your old bothersome ways, snap the elastic on your wrist for a quick behavioural modification reminder.
• Keep a file folder of all your accomplishments and tasks or assignments you volunteer for or contributed to especially those that are over and above your job description. Keep thank you emails and letters from customers and colleagues/bosses on file. When you are having a low self-esteem day, pull out the file and read the wonderful things people had to say about you.
• Pay attention to moody people – colleagues who are quick to argue and defend, and bosses who make arbitrary decisions. Give these people lots of space. You don’t want to not trust people, but you can’t always take behaviour at face value either. People can put on convincing masks in the workplace.
• Be cautious and patient with naysayers and those who are overly cautious. Acknowledge that their concerns are certainly legitimate, show statistics and show them that their fear is highly improbable.
Understand that people’s perception of you is based on their own reality. Once someone decides you are not their cup of tea, it is extremely difficult to get back into their good books. Be true to yourself, be real and work on your emotional intelligence on a daily basis.
Career specialist and corporate trainer
Author of: Networking: How To Build Relationships That Count and How To Get a Job and Keep It