Workplace Spoilers

As I was driving home the other night I realized I’m lucky because my working life is relatively free of discord. Sure there are occasional misunderstandings or confusion about something said or done but overall I feel pretty good about my workplace and co-workers.

It hasn’t always been this way. I can remember one time when I started a new job and wasn’t well received. I wasn’t sure why but there were glances in my direction when I walked by and low level conversations that ended when I walked in the room. I kept thinking, “Am I going to make it here??” My first weeks in that job were definitely not pleasant. At times I felt like throwing a bag over my head or just giving up and finding my way to the nearest exit.

Before I started that job I had applied for a life insurance policy. One evening shortly after my hiring, a company sales rep. came to my home to meet with me. He had me stand on a scale. I was shocked by what I saw. I asked him if his scale was set right. He checked it out by looking at the setting then by weighing himself and assured me it was fine. I suppose under other circumstances looking at the scale would have been great news, but not this time. I had lost ten pounds and until I stepped on that scale was clueless that my weight had dropped. When I stopped to think about it I realized I hadn’t had much of an appetite since starting the job most likely because I was too nervous to eat. I’d been so caught up in trying to do well at work while struggling to gain acceptance at the same time, that I hadn’t realized how much I was letting it affect me. My weight drop was a wake-up call. I knew I had to change the way I was dealing with my new workplace or I was going to be in big trouble.

I made up my mind to stop letting the negative attitudes of a few people get to me. Instead of obsessing about turned backs, I looked around for those who appeared to be more approachable. It was actually surprising to find more friendly faces than I might have imagined. The sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach started to subside. I began focusing more on the job and less on the negative few who had so relentlessly targeted me.

Once I felt more relaxed I got back to my old self which included eating regular meals. I got to know a few of my co-workers and my working life began to fall into place.

You’ve probably heard that there’s always a few…in every work place. They can beat you down with cutting remarks or attempt to expose your lack of knowledge if you’re a new employee. You may see a snicker or two as you walk by or sense whispering behind your back. No matter what your experience there is often no reason why they treat you crappy other than they think you’re an easy target. The only way to stop them is to ignore them. Being hesitant, unsure, and self-conscious, or just being a new person is enough to set you in their sites. Do your best to hold your head up, keep your shoulders straight and develop a slight bounce when you walk. Those three things alone will go a long way in stopping them in their tracks. Speaking in a normal tone of voice and smiling will also cause them to back away.

Don’t get caught up in trying to figure out why they do what they do. They do it to make themselves feel better and superior to others and also because some people just make it so easy for them. Stay true to you and treat yourself well. Sooner or later they will figure out that you’re not playing their game. If you don’t get results despite all your efforts, don’t hesitate to seek help from your employer.

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