If you are going from job to job and repeatedly experiencing the same problems, it may be you who is the problem! While it’s possible that you’re really unlucky, it’s much more likely that you are bringing the same unhealthy attitudes and behaviours with you from workplace to workplace and blaming others for your unhappiness. Here are six tips to help you recognize that it’s not them — it’s you!
You Get Fired Repeatedly
It’s quite reasonable to get fired once or twice during the course of a career, but getting fired repeatedly signals you are doing something wrong. Rather than blame your boss or others for getting fired, take a hard look at your own behaviour, for example, do you:
- often arrive late for work?
- gossip or spread rumours?
- show disrespect for your boss or others?
- frequently miss deadlines?
- get angry and blow up when things don’t go your way?
- sulk, or display other types of passive aggressive behaviour ?
Each of the above can cause serious problems at work and be grounds for getting fired. Consider why you might act or feel the way you do, and find more mature and effective ways for dealing with your feelings.
It’s Never Your Fault
If you consistently blame others it’s bound to cause problems. The first step to fixing this tendency is to recognize you have it. When something goes wrong at work, ask yourself if it really is someone else’s fault or if you are at least a little to blame. If you are responsible, own up to it and fix the problem, rather than pointing a finger. You may be surprised at the reaction you get from others and how much better you feel.
Everyone You Work with is Stupid
It’s possible that you’re smarter than most but unlikely that everyone else is stupid. Could it be that you’re missing something? Perhaps you’re not communicating clearly and are leaving out important information, or perhaps you’re not grasping what needs to be done in a particular instance, or why. Think about how you communicate with people — is there room for improvement? Ask yourself if you really listen when a colleague or boss is talking to you.
You’re Always the Victim
It’s possible to be a victim of illegal discrimination, however, it’s unlikely to happen job after job after job. If you feel you are constantly overlooked for promotion, take a thorough look at your skills, attitudes, and behaviours at work. Perhaps training, night school, or some other tactic might help you move forward. Perhaps you’re difficult to work with and need to modify your behaviour. Sit down with your boss and ask how you can help make it happen. Be sure to really listen to the response and use that insight to start working towards your advancement.
It’s worth noting that there is such a thing as a victim mentality in which the individual seeks to feel persecuted to gain attention or avoid responsibility. This results in constant blame, finger-pointing, and self pity, fuelled by pessimism, fear, and anger. If you constantly feel victimized, you should consider addressing your feelings with a psychotherapist.
Nobody at Work Likes You
When you start a new job there may be an existing clique or two that won’t let you in. However, if you find this situation job after job, it’s probably less about you being really unlucky and more about your own inability to fit in. Could it be that you are somehow at fault? Ask yourself what you might be doing that puts people off. For example, do you:
- pry into people’s personal lives?
- talk about people behind their back?
- spread nasty rumours?
- seem cold and unapproachable?
- shirk responsibility for your part of projects?
- show frequent irritation or anger?
- complain a lot and seem overly negative?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, this is probably the reason you’re not forging good relationships. The solution is to stop behaving and talking this way.
Your Boss Tells You That You’re the Problem
Most of us have had a bad boss at some point in our lives and it can be one of the most difficult situations in the workplace to deal with. However, if your boss provides you with feedback such as “Your colleagues feel they are on egg shells around you,” or “I need you to deliver projects on time”, you should pay attention. Is it possible that your boss is not being unreasonable and actually has a point? This could be an important clue that you’re en-route to the EXIT sign. No matter what your opinion of your boss is at that moment, take a breath and really think about what’s being said. Do some soul searching. This is your opportunity to turn things around before it’s too late.
Facing up to our own short-comings can be very tough to do, but you don’t have to do it alone. A business coach can guide you through this difficult process, help you overcome negative mindsets, and steer you toward a more gratifying and happier work life.