So, I took a mini sabbatical from blogging because of the balance I needed to strike in my professional life. I’m a working entrepreneur. I build someones brand while pursuing my career mission of sales consulting, training, seminars and book writing. So far, so good. When people ask me how I get it all in, I have one simple reply: “I don’t sleep.” I’m not a part of the Cullen clan and I don’t use a caffeine IV drip although my Yelp check-ins at Starbucks would allude to something different, I just choose to make sleep optional until I’m in a position that allows me the comfort of rest.
All of that being disclosed, I decided to rise from blogger sleep mode thanks to a recent experience. Nothing will spark the writing juices like a “nasty gram”, which I received from someone, assuming that I intentionally spelled their name wrong. This was silly to me for so many reasons. First, those of you who have read my blog know that I believe that a name is important for some pretty in-depth reasons. Secondly, the misspelling was unintentional and more specifically an error (yes, I make occasional mistakes) committed because I was rushing and not paying attention. Third, because it was smoke and mirrors allowing this person to “get back at me” (funny but sad), for addressing previous bad behavior.
Referring to a previous post, I spent three months in an environment where my name was incorrectly labeled as “Stacy” on my phone display, which had been programmed before my start date. It took me a significant period of time and several instances of actually being called Stacy, as well as incidents that made me question my value before I addressed it in the form of a blog post. Had someone misspelled my actual name wrong on an internal note, I may have noticed it but would have assumed it was an unintentional error that didn’t need to be addressed.
I didn’t have to dig far into my mental Rolodex to understand the situation. I have ZERO internal rapport with the person whose name I misspelled and her usual demeanor is pretty harsh so it wouldn’t be hard for her to believe the worst of other people–particularly one that she doesn’t like for some created reason. The lesson in all of this for me: 1) You will judge people based on your own behavior so it’s smart to be introspective and 2) Petty workplace behavior is limiting.
If you think you are a conduit for negative work culture, Ask yourself a few questions so that you can determine IF or WHAT you need to change:
1) Do I give people a reason to have a poor perception of who I am professionally and personally?
2) Have I ever and am I currently referenced as someone who has a bad attitude?
3) Do I make excuses for my behavior or justifying my behavior?
4) Is there a known “time of day” that I am most approachable? (i.e., you have to know when to approach Mary, she’s definitely not a morning person”)
5) Am I the source for gossip? Do I routinely engage in negative conversation about my colleagues? Could I be used as the face of the company to welcome new peers?
6) Have I been confronted by someone regarding my behavior or about something that I have directed toward them? How did I react?
7) Do I have different work policies and practices depending on who I am supporting? Is my internal customer support as high as my external, lower, or the same?
8) Have I ever been embarrassed about my behavior but refused to apologize? Do I refuse to acknowledge my poor judgment?
9) Have I had poor interaction with more than one person with my behavior being questionable?
10) Do I ever think about being better? (Yes, would be a good thing. No, is usually a sign of disillusionment).
While the title includes the cliché of “silly rabbit” and you know the ending, the correct term for someone carrying out personal vendettas by using a small amount of workplace power is “playing reindeer games”. Remember that reindeer live on a harness and dirty behavior will provide the same limited movement in your career. This is a lesson that we could ALL learn from.