There is nothing as rewarding or frustrating as coaching — whether it’s sports or music or business. You offer information and hope that some of it sticks. The successes are phenomenal but the failures are tough and can be disappointing.
From time to time I do individual job coaching. Most of it revolves around leaving a job or getting a new one. Occasionally it’s about advancement. I enjoy coaching because with my years of experience I have seen it all…literally. I am rarely wrong. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I was wrong (at least at this).
The advantage of getting advice from an outside person is that we don’t get hung up on things like pride, self esteem and all those emotions that skew your problem solving abilities.
My mother was a tough old German who wasn’t big on “self esteem.” “If you’re not honest (she meant blunt), people don’t get it.” She also didn’t think all kids on a team or all teams should be awarded gewgaws so their feelings aren’t hurt. She always felt that you had to learn how to deal with failures and hurt feelings when you are young and I think she was right. Perhaps the up kick in violent retribution is a result of not being able to process failures. Maybe not but who knows.
She also thought pride had its place but surviving came first.
If I had a magic wand I would take the emotions out of business because they don’t belong there.
I have listened to many sad stories only to tell the person at the end that they don’t have a legal case for a lawsuit. Favoritism or grumpy supervisors or uneven workloads are not illegal and just because you belong to a protected group doesn’t make it so. People are stunned and indignant. (Another case for teaching children how to cope with negative outcomes.) Sometimes they are angry at me.
Here is my standard advice for involuntary terminations (that’s when you get canned) but it works for other situations too:
- Take 24 hours for a pity party but that’s it. Invite your best friend. Cry on their shoulder. Drink some wine. Trash a pillow or sob into your pet’s fur. After the time is up, it’s over. Now you have to figure out how to get what’s best for you.
- Don’t seek revenge or “I’ll show you actions.” They only feel good while you’re doing it. Walking off the job should be saved for absolutely extreme situations when you are asked to do something unsafe or illegal. Telling people off is always stupid. You end up with bad references, no access to unemployment compensation and possibly no severance. The best revenge is future success.
- Don’t even bother to throw out or delete your work so that “they miss you.” First they won’t miss you. Get over yourself. If you have been resistant or difficult to work with there will be a snoopy dance celebration when you leave. Second, these actions will enhance your reputation as a negative worker or non-team player. Face it, in most cases you are making it harder for your co-workers not your managers. Deleted files can be restored fairly easily.
- Get someone who has no emotional attachment to you or your workplace to counsel you. Oh yes, they should be a Human Resource professional or employment attorney because we understand the laws. We can tell you that you have your “head up your ass” easier than a loved one.
- When you think you were blindsided there were signs you refused to recognize. Businesses don’t make these decisions lightly because of legal ramifications. Once they make them, you can’t talk them out of it so don’t waste your breath.
- Don’t set unrealistic goals for yourself as you will only get discouraged. Finding the right job takes time and effort.
Your focus at this point is full steam ahead. Be proud of what you learned or accomplished but don’t look back. People will admire you for your professionalism and will be a lot more likely to recommend you for a job.
It sounds so easy doesn’t it? Throw in some hurt feelings and some well-meaning friends who are ignorant of the laws and you can see how hard it is to keep a clear mind.