A few months ago, I wrote about a situation at my job where a coworker called me out for having a bad attitude (you can read all about it here).
In a nutshell, I have often been called out for having a bad attitude, and as of January 2018, I decided it was really annoying and I should probably do something about it before I really started standing in my own way.
Since then, I’ve made an effort to smile when I’d rather have resting bitch face; made small talk when I’d rather listen to podcasts in the comfort of my office; and I’ve taken deep breaths instead of blurting out my initial reaction.
It sounds really small, but these are big changes in my world.
A few weeks ago, an opportunity was presented to me at work. It was an opportunity that would mean more responsibility, working with new people, being a part of strategic decisions, and making more money.
So, I threw my hat in the ring.
But I heard that not too many people were excited to see my name – how could she think she could manage people when she’s so rude?
I understood their thoughts, but I was crushed. Even after all the work – and effort – I’d been putting in, I was keeping myself from moving forward in my career.
Granted, these were opinions coming from people that have never worked with me, but still. I had an honest conversation with my boss and asked her if it was a lost cause.
And I wasn’t just talking about the recent opportunity; I was also talking about my job in general. If I’ve ruined my reputation so bad by just a few things (writing short emails, not saying thank you fast enough, etc.), then it was time for me to find a new job and start over.
She said it wasn’t a lost cause, but I still needed to do more self-reflection on my attitude.
So, I’m working on that, and I also volunteered to give extra training presentations (for which some people openly said they wouldn’t attend), I’ve sent cheery and informational emails, I’ve blindly agreed, and I’ve picked up extra tasks.
Most of these things have gone ignored; emails go unanswered, trainings will be unattended, and people will likely still think I’m rude.
Perhaps my attitude will always be my struggle.
And hey, if I never get a promotion, well, that’s another problem for another day. But in all honesty, it hurts my heart that people think I’m “fucking rude” (that’s the phrase that was said to me).
Yeah, I can be a smart ass. But fucking rude?
I certainly am not out to hurt people, and I’m always just trying to do my work as efficiently as possible, which I understand can come off as short. I also understand that perception is reality, and I have to be careful with how my coworkers perceive me.
But the people who’ve said these things about me work in another state – they didn’t see that I cooked and delivered dinner for my coworker and her family when they moved into a new home, when I helped someone in another department write a lengthy email because she couldn’t get her thoughts down, or anytime I make the morning coffee because our administrator is bogged down with phone duty.
I’m not asking to be praised for these team tasks – it’s what people do for each other, and I want people to see me as helpful, not hurtful.
I suppose time, and continuous effort, will tell.
I know that at most jobs, you can’t really be your full self – but I’ve never had to work somewhere where I have to watch every word, pay attention to my facial expressions, and my emails. Is this adulting?