That sick feeling inside that crops up on Sunday – when you realize that the weekend is almost over and you need to get back at it on Monday – with some semblance of energy and interest in what lies ahead of you for the week. That anxious, overwhelmed feeling that is creating huge stress for you – because it is taking over your ever waking moment.

I remember that feeling too well.  Wondering what the fresh hell awaited me when I walked through the doors. But here is the rub. It had nothing to do with the job per se, but it had everything to do with some people that I had to interact with daily.

As I sit here and reflect back on that time, coupled with the stories I am being told by many of my clients, there is typically one person in the organization who seems to reek havoc on everyone around them. It boggles my mind that one individual can have such a negative impact on so many, seemingly without the knowledge of upper management.

If you have fallen prey to this type of personality, it can be really hard to see your way through it.  Each and every day brings some new situation into play that puts everyone on edge. It can make you question your very sanity, and have you vainly wishing for someone higher up to realize what is going on. The challenge is to figure out if there is an underlying agenda to what is going on and how can you navigate this with a clear head before your confidence and self-worth take a hit.

It is super easy to throw yourself a pity-party – and by all means go and do that, but only do it for a short period of time. We need to go through the motions of upset, but don’t let it go on too long because it will become all encompassing – and will lead you into burn out, which leads to even more difficult challenges down the road, like having someone else make career decisions for you or stress-leave, which puts you into an entirely different emotional state – which is not conducive to making good choices for yourself until you heal.

So what can you do to save yourself?  Because, this is exactly how you have to look at it.  You must save yourself.

  1. Are you really doing your best? Really look at the situation and see if you are doing all you can to perform your job to the best of your ability.  This is to rule out where you may be dropping the ball somewhere and where you need to pick up on the slack. Be honest with yourself. We have all had those times where we aren’t running at our best, so just check in and see where you are at, and if you need to adjust your output, its better to recognize it now and take action on it. Ask yourself the question “Do I still really enjoy doing this job or am I bored with it?”  It could be time to find something new for you to do. And that is not a bad thing.
  2. Is the company going in a new direction? If you are a top performer and getting results, but are being pushed to perform in a different way – try to see if from the other person’s eyes.  Is the direction of the company changing and you are not going along for the ride?  Is there something you can do to adjust your way of thinking to be open to seeing things in a new light? See what comes up for you.  Are you resisting something that you don’t want to do out of principal or stubbornness? If so, how can you adjust to go with the flow?
  3. Are other people in the same situation as you are? If the above two scenarios are not it and you know that there are more political reasons for the challenges you are facing, you can quietly see if others are feeling in a similar fashion.  From what I have both experienced first hand, and learned from clients, is that there are usually other people feeling the same way as you are, but people tend to stay silent about what is going on for them because they feel uncomfortable sharing when they feel like there is a target on their back. There is a sense of being alone, embarrassment, guilt, shame that comes when being called out.  If there are others in a similar scenario, you will start to see that there may be something else going on that is the root cause of what you are experiencing.
  4. Maybe it’s not really about you. Everybody is human, and every human has insecurities that crop up from time to time that makes them do things that are not always with the best interests in mind for the people around them. Some folks get really uncomfortable when subordinates know more than they do, so they feel they must “take charge” or “put them in their place” – “show them whose the boss”.  People project their issues onto the people around them.  If it is not really about you and your performance, then it may be that you are being challenged by someone who has problems of their own – their insecurity or personal challenges drive them to act in unsavory ways and you are bearing the brunt of it.
  5. Are your values being compromised? Can you honestly say that you are in a situation where your integrity is intact, or are you being pushed to be/do something/someone you are not? If you are not in a work environment where you are able to stay true to your values, then you have some thinking to do. The more our values are compromised, the worse we feel. Time to check in and see how this is playing out for you.
  6. What is your Gut telling you? Our heads love to direct our thinking – the conscious mind can create all sorts of scenarios which can cloud what is really going on and couple that with the inputs of other people’s opinions and challenges, it can be hard to see your way clear.  Tune into your gut (intuition).  Trust me on this. Your gut knows before your head really kicks in an understands what is really going on. Trust your gut. If it feels wrong, it is. It may be in your best interests to get out while the getting is good – before things take a turn for the worse (which will prove your gut is 100% right and leaving you wishing you had listened and taken action earlier).

Only you can decide what is the best next step for you to take. And the best way for you to remain true to yourself and your personal values is to assess where you are currently and what you want for yourself. This is how you empower yourself to take the best forward action whether that is to keep plugging along and making changes to how you go about your day, or to make a decision to try something new. Either way is Win/Win because you are deciding the course of action to take.

Now you can take the necessary steps forward, putting you back in control of your situation and not being powerless or feeling victimized.

Remember, this is your life – your career we are talking about. Change, even though uncomfortable and oftentimes downright scary, can be a very good thing. A change in direction or scenery can be a beautiful thing opening doors and opportunities to us that we never thought possible.

 

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