The last few jobs she had were the same: all fraught with problems in which she was able to turn around into thriving departments. She wanted something with more consistency, security and less chaos and stress.
At one point she said she didn’t understand why she kept getting these types of positions.
I told her it was easy – she was looking for them.
Her first statement was that she wasn’t looking for them, they all seemed like great opportunities but all turned into the same thing.
Once I explained that it was the bad dating cycle we all seem to go through, it clicked.
You see, she is a fixer. A natural caring person who gives more of herself than she asks in return and without even thinking identifies problems and instinctually says, “I can fix that!”
This is a great quality – to a degree. As a recovering fixer, I know of what I am writing here. I’m a fixer. I come from a line of fixers. There wasn’t a stray dog we didn’t take in, a friend who didn’t have a problem we couldn’t help with some ill in the world we thought we could make right.
I fully utilize this quality in what I do now – but temper it with expertise and professionalism.
My problem was I was a fixer in everything in my life. And like many women, I was a fixer in the dating world. Oh, poor little you – so jaded against the world, let me be the one to make the world all better for you. Don’t want a relationship, been hurt in the past, don’t trust people – oh, let me be the one to fix that for you!
Bad boys, problem children, rebels without a cause – whatever you call it, ladies you know exactly what I mean. You thought you could be the one to fix him. Not like you intentionally set out for the buttheads, they just seemed to keep showing up in your life.
Wrong – you actually did intend for them to be there, because that is how you saw yourself, your only value, your only worth so that is what was drawn to you.
The same principle applies to the job world.
If you only see yourself in the fixer role those are going to be the jobs you are drawn to and drawn to you. Even if they do not overtly tell you they are in need of fixing, you just know. Something in you just knows it is a fixer-upper and you see it as all bright sunshine and roses.
You have more value than that. Oh, and another thing – you can’t fix it. If someone or a company is damaged and determined to be damaged there is not a damn thing you can do about it. You can put a pretty pink band-aid on it but that does little to stop a severed carotid artery.
Start seeing yourself for your total value not just as a savior. Save yourself first by fully appreciating and acknowledging all that you do well and how you do it. Get the overall picture.
It is nice to be needed – it is a wonderful feeling. However, it is not the basis and only factor for a healthy relationship – business or professional. It is not healthy for you or them. From what I have heard, observed and read is healthy relationships are based on mutual benefit, give and take, as well as respect.
What is it that you truly want in a healthy work relationship? How can you contribute and what can you receive that you need? What can you bring to the table and how can you grow within the organization? What do you want to be doing and what will you not tolerate? What do you want, not just what can you give.
These are important questions you need to ask yourself and then actually answer them.
Once you see yourself as a contributor, not the driver of the whole thing, you can change your mindset about the relationship and the jobs you seek. This in turn will help you read between the lines to identify and eliminate the fixer-upers, as well as draw the right positions to you.
If you don’t want anything serious or want to have any real emotional commitment then by all means continue to do your fixer-up projects. But if you are ready to settle down for a real, committed relationship then figure out what makes a solid, long-lasting partnership.
Make that a priority, realize you are worth it and set your mind to it.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW