I’ve been there! I have gotten a well-deserved virtual slap on my face (or in this case knock-out) from a good friend when I started to tell how pissed off I was at work and with the new role or assignment that I had. I got instantly reminded that being pissed- off will show, and it will be draining all the energy I have. Instead of nagging I should plan how to make sure I and the people around me survive. I know the comment wasn’t meant to be a knock-out, but maybe just a little slap on the face, but to tell you the truth, it was, and I’m grateful! It takes courage to step on someone’s misery and disturb it. If you ever have felt that virtual slap or interference, and if you haven’t, now is a good time to thank the person who gave it to you.
Here’s some thinking I went through after my friendly knock-out.
Is it Time for a Life Balance Checkup?
When you’ve become accustomed to an excellent job with a supportive boss, setting high standards for yourself is natural. However, it’s essential to recognize that each role and assignment comes with challenges and opportunities. Rather than viewing the new task as a downer, we could consider it a chance to showcase your capabilities in a different light. The mentally exhausting and contradicting part is when you feel like you have already shown your capabilities in this light, too. I had a debate with myself. If I thought this was something I had done earlier, I should know the drill, and It shouldn’t take that much of my time. What else can I focus on during this assignment? Maybe now I would have the energy to brush up on my Spanish skills or a new hobby I have wanted to try. Life goes in cycles, so what fits my next cycle?
Beyond the LinkedIn Glance And Silent Ambitions
Be it a new, exciting, or not, it is crucial to remind yourself that your capabilities are not diminished by the nature of the new task. Even if the voice in your head tells you so. You can consider it an opportunity to prove that your skills are versatile and can be applied across diverse challenges. But at the same time, you can also make sure you have given your peers and your leader enough information about your desires and frustrations.
Your colleagues may have checked your LinkedIn profile when you started and vice versa, but can you honestly give details of your peers’ past assignments and career preferences? Feeling underestimated can be a common reaction when transitioning from a role where you feel your skills were maximized, but have you voiced what you want and what’s on the “not-lists”? Personally I feel like I haven’t dared to express all my wishes or dislikes .
The Ever-present Influence of Power Dynamics
Expressing personal preferences can be challenging. When a colleague is ambitious and aims for the top, she/he/they can face the stigma of being labeled a gold digger or, at its worst, facing unfounded suspicions, even when twice as competent as colleagues.
I sometimes feel confined by the expectations of fitting into the stereotype of a nice, smiley, hard-working neighborhood girl. There’s a fear of voicing my ambitions and potentially being ridiculed, having witnessed my ex-colleagues practice this numerous times. There’s also a hesitation to step up at times, fueled by the fear of criticism after not delivering a flawless performance (like anyone could?), a scenario that I’ve seen played out repeatedly among my former colleagues.
It’s really discouraging to see that equivalent qualifications aren’t given the same importance. The traits we typically appreciate in male colleagues sometimes face unjust criticism when displayed by female counterparts. I get why this happens, but it’s frustrating that it impacts how I see myself. I’m aware of the underlying dynamics, yet despite that awareness, I can’t help but feel their impact on me.
So, after securing a rewarding role and task through hard work, feeling oneself pushed back into the stereotype of the “nice girl” doesn’t exactly spark motivation for diving into the next assignment, does it? 😉
Don’t get stuck in the pissed-off mode!
Rather than agreeing with your ego and viewing the new task as a step-down, reframe your perspective to see it as a horizontal move – a chance to broaden your expertise and contribute in different ways, maybe concentrate on something else you’ve wanted to learn on a side. Your past success is a testament to your capabilities; now it’s time to leverage those skills. The context could be the same or something different, and your job is to be professional. Embrace the challenge with the understanding that your ability to excel is not confined to a specific role but reflects your adaptability and resilience. In pursuing career success, climbing the corporate ladder often takes center stage. As dull and nonlinear as it sounds, horizontal growth can sometimes be just as, if not more, an enriching step to success.
If I learned anything from my thinking journey, it was not to get stuck in the pissed-off mode. So, if you feel like you’re drifting toward constant pissed-off mode, make a plan and get out of there! That’s the best thing you can do for yourself and the people you work with. There aren’t that many people who enjoy working with the Nagger 😉