I was approached by someone recently who was seeking some career advice. Worn out by the politics of his current environment, he felt under appreciated and at serious risk of being put out to pasture, mostly for trying to do his best, yet misinterpreting the daily “bring me a rock” exercises.
His questions clearly caused him some strain as he tried to determine what path he should take. “Should I tell people on interviews about why I am leaving, or not?” and “Should I use my manager as a reference?” and so on.
Rather than advice, I made a simple observation: “You seem to already know what you want and, rather than accept there are limits to what you can deal with, you’re busy overburdening yourself with trying to find a way to make yourself fit into a situation that is quite far from your personality.”
He looked a bit stunned, but only for a moment, and then he smiled and his face portrayed a sense of relief.
“You seem to know the type of person you can work for. Unfortunately, you have not found much of that yet so you are trying to find ways to twist yourself into being what someone else wants rather than finding people you can work with.”
This resonated with him and, perhaps, gave him a new direction in his job search.
Here’s the thing we should all remember: We aren’t here to demonstrate how much difficulty we can absorb. We all feel pride in overcoming weaknesses, so much so that we tend to ignore leveraging strengths, and that is a shame.
You have to go towards whatever your core tells you is the right way to go…for yourself. If you are sensitive to your environment, you have to go to an environment that stimulates you, not to a harsh one that withers you. If, on the other hand, you are indifferent to your environment then you can ignore the interpersonal goings-on and focus on just the job.
Whatever it is you decide to do with yourself, and for yourself, you have to remember to be who you are and to believe in what you believe in.