QUESTION: I am upset and frustrated by the favoritism in my company. Some managers make employees follow the rules, while people in other departments are allowed to be very disruptive. They sing, shout, chatter constantly, use foul language and dress inappropriately.
During my 12 years here, I have always enjoyed my job and received good performance reviews. The pay is excellent, and I get along well with management. If I start over somewhere else, I will lose seniority and vacation time. However, this unfairness keeps me feeling emotionally drained, and sometimes I think I should just leave.
ANSWER: After 12 years, it seems odd that your workplace has suddenly become unbearable. Either you have a very long fuse or something has recently changed. Regardless of the reason, you are on the verge of making a potentially disastrous mistake.
For a moment, imagine that you have left this rowdy place. You join a company where policies are strictly enforced and everyone is quiet and reserved, but your job is boring and your boss is a jerk. In retrospect, your present environment might seem like nirvana.
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If these boisterous antics actually impede your performance, you should discuss the problem with your boss. But if not, then the real problem is that you’ve allowed yourself to get all worked up about things that don’t directly affect you.
Instead of fretting about how people dress and talk in other departments, try to count your occupational blessings. You enjoy your work, like your manager, and are well-compensated for your efforts. Do you have any idea how many people would kill to be in your situation?
QUESTION: I used to be one of those high performers with no interpersonal skills. After I was promoted to a supervisory position, management decided that I had difficulty communicating with employees. Because of this perception, I was un-promoted.
Since then, I have had a major internal overhaul that has given me a completely different attitude. Is it possible to change management’s negative opinion, or should I just take what I’ve learned and move on?
ANSWER: Many people derail their careers by refusing to recognize weaknesses, so congratulations on your willingness to change.
If you would prefer to stay where you are, then you might as well try to rehabilitate your reputation. To assess the odds, have a talk with your boss and anyone else involved in your “un-promotion.” Describe how this personal transformation has altered your perspective. Provide specific work-related examples to illustrate your changed behavior. If you hope to return to supervision, explain how your leadership style will now be different.
Finally, ask for a chance to demonstrate your new approach. Offer to lead a project team, head up a committee, or assume some other leadership role.
If you get another chance, make the most of it. But if not, just be thankful for lessons learned and begin to explore other options. You might actually enjoy having a fresh start.
Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and the author of “Secrets to Winning at Office Politics.” Send in questions and get free coaching tips at www.yourofficecoach.com.