"Really, I know you are trying to help me, but don’t." Is that what you want to say to your friends, family, and even co-workers who want to “help” your career? Oh, I have to say I am a bit fired up about this topic today. It is unbelievable what our so-called "friends" will do when they think they are helping us with our careers. Have you had someone ask you regularly about your job search but then criticize you for not doing more? (You are not in my shoes.) Or, how about this: a co-worker decides to help in a department change and moves you into a “better” position, to help you out? (Not better - since when can you read my mind?) Note comments in ( ) would be my desired response, although I would probably hold my tongue. But right, don’t we want to yell at them sometimes to stop it? I can’t tell you how many of my clients vent about this to me. They get so frustrated by the remarks and comments that, many times, I have to strategize with them on how to handle it. Here are some of my suggestions:
- Be extremely polite and pick your timing, but ask them to stop asking. Tell them you will be sure to fill them in when something important happens, but for the time being, tell them to talk about something else.
- Ask them to stop with the negative remarks (politely, of course). They may not even realize they are being negative.
- Be straight forward that the change they are proposing or just made was not in your best interest. Again, another well-timed but candid conversation can do much to mend and fix.
- If none of the steps above work, begin to put space between you and that person. This may be temporary, but it's probably necessary. You need to have a better mind set. Their negative comments will not help you keep a good mindset and stay resilient.
- Spend more time with people who will encourage you, not lie to you. You want people that will speak truth to you in love. By “in love,” I mean that they truly care AND have your respect. You will be more likely to hear necessary criticism from such a person. These are the ones that truly “have your back." These are important people to have in your life.
- Become a more resilient person.