There is a toxic combination that can lead to major troubles in career-land.
We all get busy with our jobs and with our families, and for many, intense stress from work — a micromanaging or abusive boss, a rebellious employee, a crushing workload, unattainable goals or unreasonable deadlines — or serious life-balance conflicts can tip the scales to big-time negativity. These are the days when its easy to carry around an ominous gray cloud reflecting our nasty or hard-done-by mood without realizing the vibe or the consequences.
Any one of these factors can affect how we perform at work or how we relate to our direct reports and peers, and this can be problematic in career management. Too much stress or other factors breed unhappiness, and unhappy people are just not as successful, so says Barbara Corcoran, a serial entrepreneur and a judge on the TV reality show “Shark Tank.”
“I have learned that if you have one unhappy person in a pool of 30 happy people, you can feel the weight. They tend to complain more than happy people who maintain an even keel, the workload or other pressures notwithstanding,” Corcoran told Adam Bryant who edits the Corner Office column in Sunday’s New York Times.
There is another even more dangerous emotion that can easily emerge from those facing a lot of pressure and frustration: victimhood.
“The minute I make a deal with someone, I put a photo of them in a matted frame on my wall. They look beautiful, they’re like my kids on my walls, but the minute I hear any of them sounding like a victim on the phone, I hang up, walk over to the wall and I flip their picture upside-down. They’ll never succeed. Victims don’t succeed,” Corcoran added.
How many of us complain or whine when we are down in the dumps? We vent and perhaps say things we do not mean and then we invite others to join our pity party, and that is indeed not a nice place to be. Ms. Corcoran’s take-no-prisoners approach to those who slip into victimhood is eye-opening, no, startling. It is a very important cautionary note.
There is an important lesson for us to consider: in this competitive work environment we all must be more self aware lest we do damage to our career brand. When there are cutbacks or consolidations jobs will be lost. We all should be mindful of how we are coming across to others. Being self-absorbed with our own feelings, fears and frustrations may seem justified at the time, but clearly how we come across to others must remain a primary concern. There are consequences.
None of us wants to be the odd person in a merger consolidation or reduction in force because we have allowed our emotions and frustrations to get the better of us.
When asked by a recruiter why you were the one to be laid off versus someone else, having to say that we were moody, negative or acting like a victim is really a bad answer.
OK, today, let’s all try to be more positive. Everyone is watching.