It isn’t always pretty at work…but you can respond with dignity. Here’s when and how.
Your Boss (or co-worker) Doesn’t Like You (or even worse, actively undermines you)
Personalities are tricky. Even if you are doing a great job, there can sometimes be mismatches. Ask yourself, is the source of friction personal, style-related, based on competition, politics or old history? What could you do to dial it back? The new goal oriented performance review process can help minimize the impact of personality or other conflict on your career prospects and future since it is based on evidence from a variety of sources. Be sure you seek and collect impartial input on your performance from everyone with which you interact, not just your boss or immediate working group. This will help minimize possible damage and help you defend yourself during performance review (and when you look for another job).
Serious problems? Probably best to move on if you can. Life is short and you want to be happy.
You Get Passed Over for a Promotion or a Dream Job You Deserve
Very discouraging for sure. Keep things in perspective. Here is a short list of famous “most qualified” job candidates who did not get the job.
Hillary Clinton & Al Gore
You get the idea. No one is immune from this sort of disappointment.
Other opportunities are likely to present themselves. Career advances include luck as much as they do hard work.
You Suffer Abuse, Harassment, or Discrimination
There are workplace laws that protect you. Know your rights and exercise them.
Berkeley HR Policies & Procedures – Reports of Discrimination, Harassment, or Retaliation
Someone Steals or Takes Credit for Your Work
I had a very bad experience with this recently and it was quite painful… as it involved a national partner and high profile product. I am however, wiser and more careful as a result. The sharing of creative ideas in the workplace is necessary for innovation. However, if you are especially creative, original, and productive you might want to take steps to protect your work. For example, if you are writing, insist on appropriate citation. If you are working in groups or committees, ask how credit will be assigned before you contribute. Build a professional portfolio around projects that can be easily traced back to you and that carry your name, if possible.
If you are a manager or senior executive, please give credit where credit is due. People working for you deserve your praise, public recognition, and individual credit for their contributions.
You Get Fired or Laid Off
These things happen. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and begin again. There could be a silver lining that is not immediately apparent to you. Perhaps you hated your job and needed the push to pursue something new. Painful? Demoralizing? Terrifying? Even unfair? Absolutely. You will recover and perhaps find yourself stronger and more able to flex forward. Accept and move on.
I have had a long and successful career but many of these things have happened to me and to people I care about. Careers have the same ebb and flow of life itself. Some years are wonderful and some involve terrible loss. Hang in there. You will survive and thrive once more.
Fun Five: Gloria Gaynor – I will surFIVE…
This post dedicated to my much-admired friends and colleagues Indu and Rick… thank you for making work a better place for me each and every day.