As soon as I find another job…
In the course of a year, I spend close to 4,000 hours listening to people share what they love about their work, what challenges them about their work and what, if I had a magic wand (which I don’t) they would ask me to change for them.
Through this listening I am able to discern some very clear, prevalent and often flawed thinking. Here’s a thought that maybe you’ve had before. I know I have.
“I have to find another job because the drama and gossip here just drags me down. I can’t take it anymore.”
And this one goes along with it.
“As soon as I find another job, I will be so much happier.”
Well. Today’s newsletter is going to be short and sweet because this one is easy.
An intelligent, talented young woman who is a valued employee said to me, “I’m thinking of taking another position. I don’t want to leave here because I love it. But everyone is constantly coming to me to vent and complain. It wears me down and is impacting me outside of work.”
A man with unique skills in his area of expertise sighed saying with resignation, "I love my work and just want to be able to focus on it, I'm stuck playing peacemaker between workplace factions."
Another young man came to me saying he was considering a job change. “I’ll take any job because the complaining by my colleagues is endless and draining.”
To all these people and many, many more I say, “Wherever you go, there you are.”
I asked each of these individuals to reflect and see where they leave the door open for others to vent, gossip and stir the pot. And I encouraged them to be brave enough to shut that door - gently, compassionately and completely. It is called setting a boundary.
Boundaries teach people how we want to be treated. Boundaries are love. Self-love. And self-love is the basis of self-management.
We all like to be on the inside track of drama and gossip. Why? We don’t want to be left out or shunned from our tribe for not following the norms. So we participate to get the pseudo-feeling of being connected. But it is a false feeling and the shallowest of connections. Eventually the negativity attached to it wears us down. I invite you to experience the freedom, ease and joy that come with creating boundaries.
1- Be clear about what you want for yourself. Spend a little time with this.
- Maybe it is the ability to focus on your actual work.
- Maybe you desire work relationships and conversations filled with positive energy.
- Maybe you want your outlook to be one of expansion and possibility (gossip and venting actually shrink rather than expand possibility).
2- Communicate what it is you want for yourself whenever someone comes to pollute your space with gossip or venting.
“I’m glad to see you. However I have decided I need to focus on positive energy and possibility. And since I really want to be connected with you and enjoy our relationship, I’m going to refrain from negative conversations. Thanks for helping me with this.”
3- Turn and go back to work.
What’s the risk? Well, you may be rejected. You may not have the inside track on speculation and stories (most of which turn out not to be true). But you also will have more peace, more time and feel more energized at the end of the day. You will likely see meaningful connections and opportunities take up the space formerly occupied by drama and gossip. You also will likely see more meaningful connections and opportunities coming your way.
So before you jump ship in order to get away from what is bringing you down, try setting boundaries and see if there is a shift. If you don’t practice this where you are now, it will only be a matter of time before you hear yourself saying, “I gotta get out of here to get away from the negativity, drama and gossip."
If you do get comfortable with boundaries and practicing this strategy, whether you stay or go, you will be far happier, valued, connected and successful!