Protecting Yourself So That You Can Be Happy At Work

Amy, my client (not her real name), set a goal when we began our coaching sessions to be happy at work in 3 months.  She had been working in her position for about 6 months and was miserable.  The environment was toxic, there was little or no direction, and everyone was tense and unhappy.  After 2 months of coaching she found a new job

Amy’s friend, Claire, still worked in the old company and continued to call Amy at her home after Amy left the job. During each call Claire would complain that she was getting negative feedback about her performance from her manager.  Claire thought she was doing what she was supposed to do and felt that the manager and his boss were out to get her.

Amy was torn between being a good friend and protecting herself from being drawn into the negativity of her friend’s situation.  Since the situation sounded dire, Amy did suggest Claire look for a new job.

I was amused and also impressed when Amy spoke of putting on her shield so that the talk slid off her and did not stay with her.  It was a great image and helped Amy to be a good listener without being pulled into the negative spiral.

What else could she do?  She did try to help her friend see what her other options were so that instead of being a victim she could move on.  Amy however knew that for her own mental well being she must somehow limit the amount of negative talk she listened to.

Amy herself was a good role model for Claire.  She had been in the same negative environment although no one had complained about Amy’s work.  Amy did feel the tension and lack of direction.  But she had taken action by hiring a coach and then finding a new job with a healthier environment.

With so many people out of work today many of us have friends and relatives who need a good listener.  Do you hesitate to take their call or to call them?  Perhaps the image of putting on a shield will help you too.  It is important to protect yourself from being pulled into the negative energy.

Claire did finally resign from her position.  She told Amy she was going to be fired anyway.  Unfortunately she did not have another job lined up so she’ll have to begin a job search now.  It will be much harder for her to find a job when she is unemployed and she will need to have a good answer to the question about why she resigned.

Sometimes circumstances are such that it is impossible to convince your manager and employer that you are doing the job well.  You may believe it but if they don’t your job is in jeopardy.  Whenever you are working for someone, listen carefully for the feedback and be ready to act if they sound unhappy with your work.

I know from experience that if a job pays well and you have been comfortable doing it, it is easier to believe that everything will turn out well if you sit tight.  Sometimes that turns out to be true but what if it doesn’t and you find yourself where Claire found herself.

You are in charge of your own career.  If you want to be happy at work you need to be ready to take the steps necessary to make sure you are always in a good work situation.

Job seekers: Be sure to read this article from the Boston Globe to see how other job seekers stayed positive during their job search.


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