Creating A Second Chance Right Where You Are

I’ve heard the phrase “Can’t go home again” as a way of basically saying you can’t go back and change things or a current situation will never be the way it once was – to a degree I say bull-excrement. (I run a clean blog!)

Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. We may like our job but for some reason we have gotten off track and our reputation among our peers and managers has morphed into something that is making our lives uncomfortable. Perhaps you are being overlooked for promotions or the opportunity to work on meaningful projects. Perhaps you notice that people are shying away from you at work – there is just a different feel and you don’t like it.

Too often people think that changing jobs will alleviate the problem – sometimes it will. But more often than not it is certain behaviors that you are displaying that caused the shift and until you confront and make modifications the problem will just end up following you wherever you go.

You can get a second chance right where you are – you just have to create it. The work is all on you and it is not easy. So if you really want the change you have to be ready to really work for it – and not give up.

People are going to be skeptical, they are going to doubt you, they might even root against you – to hell with them. If this is what you want than make up your mind and don’t give up. The proof is in the pudding and you gotta keep making that dang pudding until the new behavior becomes accepted as the norm.

It is like dating a great person at the wrong time. Maybe you met this person at a time when quite frankly you were a little screwed up in the head so needless to say it wasn’t the greatest experience. One day you realize that you really liked this person and would like to try again. Obviously the same behavior will lead to the same result so you have to get your head out of your butt and behave like a normal person.

The object of your intentions may be a little skeptical or might not want to give you a second chance. But if this is something you really want I would assume you would continue to behave in your new manner (i.e. no head in the butt) and would keep at it until they see that you truly are in a better place. If you have decided this person is worth it, then you will continue your efforts until you reach a point that you desire.

We are continually evolving as people, some changes are subtle shifts others are major turnabouts. What most fail to realize is we have control of these changes. Yes, life happens and we cannot control everything – however, we do have control of how we respond to it.

When my son was first learning to talk he said “No” a lot. I realized that he was learning that from me, as he was quite an active little thing my first response when he would reach for something he shouldn’t was an automatic “No”. I began to change my approach and making sure “No” was not the first thing out of my mouth. His behavior changed accordingly.

When he was a pre-teen I had another jolt of behavior modification. I am a smart-aleck, big time. Well guess what behavior he mimicked during our conversations. I had to reign in my own diluted sense of humor in order to modify his. It worked to a degree – the kid defiantly takes after his mother and some things you just can’t eliminate.

Back to my original point: if you are being perceived in a way that you do not like, then modify your behavior to be the example of who you want others to see. Some things you can do to improve your reputation and gain the trust and respect of your peers and managers:

Stop complaining. Not one bit, nothing. When more work is added or a policy is changed – bite your tongue. Everyone might be expecting you to say some negative quip but surprise them and simply say, “Ok, well, we will deal with it – it is not the first change and we have always adapted before.” Do not look for the negative. If nothing else start by being neutral and that includes just keeping your mouth shut. No complaints, no quips, no dirty looks, no loud sighing, no slamming of staplers – behave yourself!

Be aware of others around you. It is not all about you, other people work there too you know. Say good morning to people when you walk by, acknowledge people around you. If you are playing a radio at your desk ask your cube mate if it is too loud or disturbing them. Start thinking about others around you.

Mind your manners. It is amazing what a “please” and “thank you” can do for you and morale. People like to be appreciated and having manners, saying thank you and giving compliments are just small ways to show appreciation.

Give relevant compliments. People will see through the suck-up compliments so make sure they are relevant, honest and true. If you are working with someone on a project, give them praise for something that they are doing. I once worked with a woman who was always quite hostile; during one project I happened to make a comment about how organized she was and I wished I could be that organized. It really shocked her and we got to the point of having good communication and she started to help me.

Volunteer to help, in any way. Even if it is not your project or your job, offer to help someone else. You would be amazed what a difference it makes if you offer to help out in some “meaningless” way. There was a co-worker frantically trying to finish a project and I had some downtime so I offered to make copies for him. This allowed him to focus on larger issues and still get things done. It was never forgotten.

Ask for input. You may not like what other’s have to say, but you need to hear it. Maybe you have gotten so engrained in your position that you are missing the forest for the trees. An outside opinion may help you recharge your batteries a bit. It will also allow others to see that they actually can talk to you, who would have known!

You can reconnect with others around you and re-establish your reputation as a team player, a valued member of the company and maybe even the one people want to work with. It will take time and consistent effort. Remember, you did not get to where you are in a day so don’t expect everyone to present you with open arms in a week. Prove yourself, commit to the change and start enjoying yourself again.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Career Coach-Strategist
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Career Polish, Inc.

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