In the middle of a seminar, this participant, Sama, stood up and asked me: “Can I lose my job for being myself?”
Without any hesitancy, my response was, “YES – but that depends on what you mean by being yourself.”
“What is YOURSELF?”
“Well, I am very frank and honest about things and I just want to say how I feel!”
There is nothing wrong with being frank and honest but expressing your views frankly and honestly requires several good foundations or else you may be interpreted as a trouble maker quite quickly.
The truth is that everything about “being ourselves” has to do with WHO is receiving US and our message because we don’t work in isolation. What is perfectly fine with a pair of colleagues in one setting may not be acceptable in another setting. A very exuberant person with a lively personality may be a disastrous fit in a place where everyone is very serious or can also be a pleasant addition.
If Sama works with a manager who by nature is afraid of confrontation, does not like to be challenged and thinks only within the box, then if Sama, by being herself, constantly challenges her manager, deals with things upfront and in an honest, frank way, it will inevitably create feelings of discomfort for the manager. Eventually, if it is not addressed, tension can easily escalate between the two – not because they are incompetent, but because the two personalities cannot receive each other’s messages.
If Sama works in an environment that has created a culture to share opinions, debate about issues, think outside of the box, then there will be likely less problems because a foundation has been set to accommodate various opinions and beliefs. This type of environment moves away from dealing with things as “personal” and rather sees all viewpoints as important in creating the whole.
My job gives me the opportunity to listen to people’s stories around employment issues – why they are having challenges in finding employment and the challenges around retaining employment. I have come to a few observations, which I will pose in the form of questions:
Are you in the right job?
Unfortunately, many people are in the wrong jobs which is sometimes no fault of theirs, in the effort to survive. The tasks of the job does not feed their soul, does not bring a sense of joy or balance to their spirits. We see this often with newcomers to Canada, where in some cases it is impossible for them to work in their field of expertise due to licensure and other requirements.
Are you aligned with the organization?
Unfortunately, many people have not taken the time to ALIGN themselves with the organization/company that they work with. When you become an employee, it is NOT about YOU, although YOU need to know your own values to know whether or not you are the right fit. It is about meeting the needs of the employer. However, if the needs of the employer are closely aligned to your own skill set and personality, then your work life/balance becomes easier.
Have you taken the time to figure out YOUR BOSS and the people who have a direct ink /impact on the work you do?
Unfortunately, many people only think about THEMSELVES and their jobs in a vacuüm. Very often, the leadership style of the people in charge of the organization, pretty much determines how things are done. If you have a boss who is very strict, very organized, very punctual – then if you mirror that behaviour, it makes it easier to get along. If you are disorganized and always late, the relationship will face some challenges.
There are also some general personality traits that fit some jobs better than others. For example, I am by nature a visionary. I see big pictures and can dream big ideas very effortlessly. However, I need support in helping to implement those ideas and the best type of people to help me are those people who are detailed oriented, can analyse quickly and have a sense of reality. The point here is that none of us can work completely in a vacuum because life is not structured like that. However, if we take some time to figure our ourselves and how our work styles impact others, then we may be a in position of empowerment and not feel victimized.
Today, TuneIn to your environment. Are you in alignment? StepUp to explore some more…. you probably don’t have to leave the job… or maybe you do… You may have to make some accommodation to suit your current reality… whatever you do, remember that you do have some control over your choices.