My Co-Workers Hate Me -- Because I Do My Job
I am in a bad work situation right now. I took a job that was a step down back in January because I had no choice. I got laid off in October. The job I have now was the first offer I got and I was out of money.
There is nothing wrong with my job except one thing. I'm a Senior Account Specialist for a marketing firm. When I started the job I was excited, even though I had the same job in a different company over 10 years ago. I work for a good company. The managers are smart and compassionate, but they are clueless about their employees' performance.
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I am one of 10 Account Specialists and I'm the oldest one. Several of my co-workers are unbelievable slackers. The amount of work I do in a half-day is what they accomplish in a whole week. They just don't care. They make one phone call and then go on Facebook. A half hour later they answer one email message. The managers here have no idea that their employees are ripping them off blind.
For the first couple of weeks after I started the job, everything was fine. Then my co-workers started to make comments. "You're making us look bad," my teammate said. Another co-worker told me "Slow down, man — you don't have to do everything in your first month on the job." I'm not the type to judge anyone. I don't care if my co-workers don't do any work, but it's not pleasant to get sideways looks and evil comments just because I do my job at a normal pace!
Of course, not everyone here is hostile to me. Several of my co-workers are great, and they work hard and they appreciate that I work hard too. Still, there is a large faction of people on my team who do almost nothing during the day. I guess they resent me getting something done and making them look bad by comparison. What should I do?
You have dropped a stone in the water at your job and the ripples are spreading. You will make some people very happy that you are in the job and you'll make other people unhappy.
They have their feelings. Don't let their feelings affect you. Who cares if some of your co-workers are unhappy that you seem to be showing them up? There are seven billion people in the world. No matter what you do, not all seven billion people will approve of you. That's okay!
Invest your time and attention in the people who like your proactive working style. Don't even dignify the hostile comments with a reply. Just give a friendly smile back and let the criticism float past you like fog. It doesn't affect you. You showed up to pop the balloon that was going to burst anyway at some point. No one can get away with doing nothing at work forever!
You go to work for yourself, not to please your co-workers. More and more of them will come to appreciate your positive influence over time. Any change in an ecosystem will create a disturbance and it can be hard to navigate the waves during that time.
The waves will settle down soon. Most people prefer to care about their work and to do a great job rather than to avoid work. It's more satisfying to use your brain and get things done than to watch YouTube all day — and it makes the day go faster, too!
Practice your deep breathing when you feel the waves of hostility washing over you. In your mind, say to yourself "I'm fine. I'm doing exactly what I should be doing, and everyone around me is going through exactly what they need to go through at this moment."
You are a teacher to your hostile co-workers, even if you don't know it. They are teachers for you too!
All the best,
Liz Ryan is CEO/founder of Human Workplace and author of Reinvention Roadmap.
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