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Check Your Attitude at the Door

Damage Control

In an ideal world, you would never cop an attitude with one of your colleagues or managers. Given that you're human, though, this is an unrealistic expectation. Sometimes you will take your aggravation out on another person, whether she deserves it or not. Provided you have a good rapport with your coworker and handle yourself correctly, one incident should not permanently affect the relationship (see Chapter 7).

When you lose your cool, you might feel embarrassed and want to pretend the incident never happened. This is not a good strategy. If you go too long without addressing the issue, the person you've offended might build up the interaction in her mind to be worse than it actually was, and she will remember it the next time the two of you talk. Before you know it, you'll have established a pattern of negative communication.

Effective damage control means taking responsibility for your actions. If you clash with a colleague, honestly assess the situation and look at it from the other person's viewpoint. Remember that being right doesn't justify rudeness or inappropriate behavior. Let go of your pride. It takes guts to go back and make it right, and your colleague will respect you for it. Approach the person and sincerely apologize for your role in the altercation. Explain that you're still learning, and assure her it won't happen again. Can't stomach an in-person conversation? Write a heartfelt card or e-mail instead. Your colleague will likely be receptive to the overture. Instead of thinking you're a jerk, she will now perceive you as being mature beyond your years. Just another example of how a little effort on your part can turn most negative situations into positive ones!

Chapter 6 Take Home Points

  • Choose a positive outlook. Your thoughts make you who you are. You are responsible for your own life, and you have the ability to choose your response to your environment. If you make a conscious decision to begin each day with a positive outlook, negative conditions at work can't take that away from you.
  • Increase your self-awareness. Begin to better understand your emotional hot buttons. Examine how you make judgments about the world, tune in to your senses, get in touch with your feelings, learn what your intentions are, and pay attention to your actions.
  • Imagine the worst-case scenario. When you imagine the worst-case scenario and reconcile yourself to accepting that outcome if necessary, you stop worry in its tracks. Then, you will be able to rationally focus on ways to improve the situation.
  • Motivate yourself on a daily basis. Motivate yourself by striving to meet your own criteria for success. Instead of relying on external validation, focus on using your job as the means for achieving your big-picture career objectives.

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Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesCareer Advice: Career 101 for Recent Graduates, New Hires, and Would-be Corporate ClimbersCheck Your Attitude at the Door - No, You're Not Crazy, Combating Negativity, Reach Out And Touch Your Emotions