Restrain Your Personal Traits Before They Jeopardize Your Career
Have you ever wondered why that promotion has not yet come your way? Or, why you are often not chosen to lead and complete that big project of your dreams? Or, perhaps why you eat alone in the lunch room?
People often claim that they are one person in their personal life and another person in their professional life. I agree that there is a clear separation in most of us – the business hours dos and don’ts and the after-hours personality. Also, most of us claim that we can control and manipulate our personal traits so that they don’t influence and damage our professional life. But, is everything that makes us unique individuals actually under our control? There is an old myth that tries to explain our awareness of our virtues and ignorance of our faults. When God created the human race, he gave each and every one of us two sacks – one with our virtues and the other with our faults. He also gave us a pole, which we would carry on our shoulder and onto which we could hang and balance the sacks. But, humans have always been human. People carried their virtue sack at the front, to proudly show off their qualities, and their flaw sack at the back and out of sight. The myth stipulates that this is why the human race so easily identifies its own virtues and not so well its faults. At the same time, we can easily spot other people’s flaws, which although on their back, are in front of our nose. Back to our story; do we really think that we are aware of and can control all of our flaws?
Here is when we need to let in other people – friends, family members, and mentors – who can help spot our flaws…that is, those who can point out what we carry on the back of the pole. The task is not easy, neither for those who need to be enlightened by the truth about themselves nor for those who need to break the news. But, maybe the truth about your unrealized promotion is hiding just in there, on your back, in your flaw sack. Here are three case studies of common individuals to whom no one pointed out their personal flaws in time to prevent issues in their professional life.
Joe, the Tabloid King
Joe knows everything about everyone. He is a source of information, the local tabloid. When someone hooks up, he is the first to know and the first to spread the news. And not only that! Joe knows the details about that new guy or girl, all the rumors and truths circulating around the neighborhood. Long ago, his friends and family became used to Joe and learned how to accept him and his ways. However, not everyone will deal with an over-informed and an over-communicative Joe. Joe often complains that he has perceived a cold attitude from many of his co-workers and recently voiced his concern over not being invited to his boss’ Christmas party, a party attended by most everyone else in the office.
Jane, the Procrastinator
Jane moved to a new condo…about 2 years ago. Her place is still in a moving-in phase. She is very talented and extremely creative, so a few years ago she promised her friend Susan that she would paint her a picture as a wedding gift. The picture is still at Jane’s place, halfway done, even though the wedding was 3 months ago. Jane has also had some problems at work; some clients have complained about her inability to deliver what was initially proposed and as a result she is now on her manager’s *&^* list. Her manager controls her work all the time and Jane is worried that she might lose her job.
Rob, the Non-Politically Correct Guy
Rob… amazingly smart and informed, fun to hang out with, although sometimes too aggressive, straightforward, and brutally honest, which usually diminishes his good intentions. You gained weight, he will tell you. Your new hair color looks appalling, he will be more than open about that and not so careful with word choice. He always says what he really thinks, without sugar-coating the truth, without making it more bearable for the listener. His friends have told him a million times that the world isn’t ready for a guy like him, that the world prefers political correctness over honesty, white lies over sincerity, and fake grins over stern seriousness. While all of his coworkers went ‘crazy’ over a new book of poems that his boss published, Rob indicated that he was not a fan of poetry written by ‘self-proclaimed poets’. Bam! He never realized why a promotion never came.
All three of these individuals have obvious flaws…obvious to their friends, family, and all others around them, but perhaps not so obvious to themselves. All of us have these flaws and they aren’t at the top of our mind or right in front of our eyes. So, help yourself. Talk to your friends and family. Let them help you…and in turn, hopefully you can help them.