Unless you are in charge and free to dispense your opinion at will, the most difficult thing about working is likely not your job. It’s about how to navigate the environment you work in and how to work through the personal affronts and setbacks.
A friend of mine was recently denied an opportunity to move to a different department, a move that would have had her working with chief organizational leaders. Twenty-something and a recent graduate of a prestigious master’s program, it was a luck and chance opportunity that would have likely accelerated her ascent of the food chain. Her boss said no, and office politics held her in place. She was furious, and rightly so.
Her boss didn’t want to lose a good employee. Did he not realize his decision was going to result in an angry, likely unmotivated employee, which could be more destructive than losing a good one? Lucky for her boss, my friend handles herself with grace and professionalism. And lucky for my friend, other changes in her department have since opened up additional opportunities where she’s at.
“Lucky” is the operative word. Many similar work situations aren’t. Egos, insecurities, hidden and overt agendas, fear of change, lack of resources, and the list goes on of all the reasons that, from the employee’s perspective, especially one who feels wronged, don’t make sense. “Makes sense,” though, is subjective. Even if the employee is “right,” anyone who has worked knows that what’s right is not always what happens.
So the question is: what do you do, or not do, when you have been “wronged?” The answer: remain positive, no matter what. If you quit and walk out, be positive. If you keep your mouth shut and go along with it, be positive. If you feel you must say something to an influencer about how you think you’ve been wronged, be positive.
Being positive does not mean you have to feel positive. It does not mean your negative feelings are unjustified and that you don’t need to figure out how to get out of your bad situation. It does not mean that you are being insincere for not sharing your opinion in full. Anyone that’s been with family on a holiday should know that saying exactly what you think all the time is probably not the best idea.
Yes, I know, being positive is hard, but it’s well worth the effort. When you are positive, you appear intentional and in control of your situation. When you are negative, you appear as someone who has no choices. If you appear as someone who has no choices, you risk appearance becoming reality.