6 Bad Attitudes You Have About Work (And How To Change Them)
Most of us languish in our career situations not because of external forces holding us back, but our own internal narratives, beliefs, and attitudes. It’s challenging to change them, but it can be done.
It’s time to change those bad attitudes you have about work. Following are some of the most common self-defeating attitudes I see in my practice, and what you can do if you see yourself in any of them.
1. Thinking Networking Is All About You
If you neglect your personal and professional relationships until you need something, you won’t get far. You’re like the dude at the hiking meet-up, oozing out of every pore that he’s looking for a date. He doesn’t even have to say anything for people pick to up on his agenda. The same is true for networking and your career. If the only time people ever hear from you is when you’re trying to make a sale, get a promotion, or find a new job, they’re going to be turned off by it.
Instead, make an effort to connect with people year-round, just for the sake of it. Volunteer for a project. Attend events that are genuinely interesting. Send a former colleague an article you know they’ll appreciate. We build social capital by giving and engaging selflessly and authentically. Reciprocity is a byproduct that grows over time.
2. Taking It Personally
Maybe you’ve made it to the final round of interviews at three companies. Or you’ve been passed over for a promotion. Or your boss isn’t recognizing your accomplishments. It’s possible to take every rejection personally – to assume it’s because you’re not good enough, you lack the right background, or could stand to lose 20 pounds. In reality, it’s rarely about you. You’re the shining star of your own universe, and a blip on everyone else’s radar. Most likely, whatever is happening has nothing to do with you. For insight on how to let go of taking things personally, read The 4 Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. There’s a reason so many leaders use it as a development tool!
3. Believing You Are Terminally Unique
The evil twin of Taking It Personally is denying that it’s you.
Have you decided there’s a single, unique-to-you issue holding you back? Maybe your degree, your age, your purple hair, or the 4-year gap on your resume? If you’re latching on to something like that, your attitude is a bigger problem than the obstacle itself.
This can also manifest as thinking you’re a special, misunderstood snowflake. But often it’s our own behaviors that are alienating – not how unique we are. Talking way too much, interrupting, using filler language excessively, and constantly apologizing are all incredibly common. And most of the time, we’re unaware of our own patterns.
Working with a career professional is the best way to identify and resolve these patterns. You need someone who can objectively observe your behavior, give you feedback, and coach you on how to improve.
4. Believing Modesty Will Get Results
We’re socialized to be modest. We worry about coming across as arrogant so we err on the side of downplaying our talents. In doing so, we become our own worst enemy. Minimizing our contributions is a sure-fire way to derail any type of career advancement.
Even if your work culture encourages professional development, it’s up to you to advocate on your own behalf. Record your accomplishments. Learn language for describing your soft skills. Articulate your goals. And most importantly, practice until you’re comfortable talking about how awesome you are. Find a partner to role play, join Toastmasters, or cozy up with your bathroom mirror. Do whatever it takes to confidently toot your own horn.
5. Deciding Self-Care Doesn’t Matter
Now that we’re wired 24/7, work-life balance has gone out the window. Our culture glorifies busyness and convinces us it’s good to have no free time. And on top of everything else, your job search should be a full-time job. We collectively believe there is virtue in 14-hour days, working on holiday, and endless hours filling out online job applications. These things don’t make us more successful and definitely don’t make us happier. They do lead us to reject self-care, though, and that leads to burnout.
Goals and a fiery work ethic must be balanced with things that nurture and sustain you. Depression is incredibly common among people who are unemployed or unhappy in their jobs. If you think you might be depressed, get evaluated immediately. No matter who you are, regular exercise, sunshine, recreation, and social connectedness will further your overall success. Prioritize these things. I incorporate uplifting activities into my client’s career coaching plans, to give them permission to make self-care a priority.
6. Forgetting Your Power
It’s easy to forget that we as individuals have power. But we do. There are no career super heroes who magically swoop in and create our opportunities. We make them for ourselves, through our contributions and our relationships.
Reject the notion that you are a passive participant in your career. Make things happen. When job seeking, do not focus on replying to posted ads. When angling to advance in your current organization, take matters into your own hands. Attend events, talk to people, do pro-bono work, give a lecture, join a board, approach a leader you admire, cold call a company of interest. You have the power – embrace it!
About the author
Kim Eisenberg, MSW, has been helping people create rewarding career paths for the past 10+ years. She blends her expertise in corporate career services and organizational leadership to deliver business savvy, strengths-based coaching with an emphasis on transitioning fields or making the leap to entrepreneurship. Schedule a free consultation with Kim here.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.
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