We continue from our previous discussion on factors that can trigger career suicide in the corporate world.
The first factor mentioned was ” inability to control your emotions. If you missed it, find the link to the full article: HOW TO COMMIT CAREER SUICIDE- Part One
The next career derailer is ” Victim Mentality”. This refers to holding the notion that someone is deliberately after you at the workplace contrary to logical evidence.
It is said that” The victim stance is a powerful one. The victim is always morally right, neither responsible nor accountable and forever entitles to sympathy”
People normally fall prey to the victim mentality through negative self-talk. People talk to themselves all the time, but be very be careful what you say to yourself because you are likely to believe it. Self-talk etches itself to your subconscious and begins to dictate how you respond to situations and your environment in the long run. What you consistently say to yourself about your colleagues and especially your boss will determine the quality of relationships you will have with them.
For example, if you believe your boss is incompetent, you will start focusing on situations and incidents that justify your belief. Soon it will creep up in your communication and finally, your boss will get the vibe about your thoughts towards him/her. This will then trigger your boss to also reciprocate your gesture and you may soon end up the loser.
I know of a former employee who felt her functional director was a dimwit, she believed, contrary to every body’s opinion that this boss added no value to the department. She talked herself into this entrenched position till the point she started badmouthing her boss. She will blurt to everyone how incompetent her boss was and list endless instances to back her case. She took exceptional pride in openly challenging her boss’s ideas in a very antagonistic and disrespectful manner. She seemed to get high from the tirade of “emotional masturbation” she was indulged in with her boss.
Soon the straw broke the camels’ back when she had the audacity to badmouth her boss to his superiors. Her boss got wind of the distasteful remarks she made about him and the end was not good for her.
There are certain thought patterns that breed this victim mentality
- “I always get looked over for the best assignments/promotion”
- “I am never appreciated for the kind of work I do in this organization”
- “I am under-compensated for the value I bring this business”
Occasionally throwing yourself a self-pity party can be a harmless indulgence according to Dr. Marie G. Macintyre, but if it becomes a daily routine, you are setting yourself on the highway for self-destruction
The victim mentality can be triggered by some unfair random event(s) which the said “victim” may read too much meaning into. Those with the victim mentality will always need to identify a “persecutor” to legitimize the fantasy of victimhood.
You can do yourself a big favor by seeking feedback from the “so-called persecutors” about your performance. You will be most of the time shocked to know that you are the least of their worries and they may rather appreciate the value you bring.
The third cause of career suicide is selfishness. Selfish people are those who want what they want when they want it without recourse to the common good. They are like spoilt kids who believe it is all about them, every other thing can wait!
Sometimes selfishness manifests itself in ignoring work one beliefs are below their pay grade. Once in a while, you may be dragged into some mundane administrative work due to staff shortage or other reasons, as much as you don’t want to be involved, you still have to swallow tour pride and get the work done for the greater good.
I have witnessed situations whereby potential sales mangers were denied promotion simply because they felt too big and refused to load up company products in their cars to sell when such calls were made to help meet business targets at certain times.
There are also line managers who don’t respect the private space of their employees and will gladly intrude on their privacy with work issues at the least chance. Such managers come off as selfish and insensitive at the very least.
Overzealous ‘martyrs’ at the workplace also believe in their own cause which they deem more important than the expectation of the wider business and will go at length to sabotage any counter- cause. These martyrs are more obsessed with proving that they are right than anything else.
I witnessed one such incident some years ago during our quarterly business review, a category manager who had a large portion of his budget cut due to business needs, was so peeved that he decided to focus his presentation how his brands were going to decline because of lack of budget, instead of showing how he intends to optimize the little budget left with fewer scalable choices. This infuriated the general manager and resulted in this manager being “blacklisted”
FOOLISH REACTION TO CHANGE
The final contributor to career wreckage is foolish reaction to change. By default nobody likes change, but in the work environment, change is bound to happen. To succeed, you need the maturity to embrace the fluidity of change anytime it happens.
Unfortunately, some people lack a growth mindset, set in their ways they believe what has been will always be and will fight violently with their emaciated muscles to any semblance of change, usually to their detriment.
You can’t have control over most things that happen in a corporate environment, you may soon have a new boss, reporting lines may change, there will be a change in management due to mergers and acquisition, your company may undergo restructuring, colleagues may resign, etc. All these come with consequences that will impact the ways of doing things.
The truth is that you don’t get to choose these changes most of the time, you are just thrust into the wind of change and expected to adjust. If such changes are not handled with tact and an open mind, employees have the tendencies to develop adversarial relationships with their new leadership.
As mentioned earlier, flexibility and open-mindedness towards change is the key to your survival. The fact that your new boss has an entirely new priority or emphasis doesn’t make them necessarily wrong. New ways of doing things in many cases add value instead.
That said, not all changes will go down well with you, in that case, you can make any of the following choices:
- Leave and seek greener pastures elsewhere. This choice is made when you are absolutely convinced you don’t have what it takes to adapt to the change
- Adapt/ be flexible and come to the table with an open mind. This is the normally recommended option
- Be a pain in the neck of the new boss, resist the change, get into power struggle until you are completely obliterated. This option is toxic and only entertained by the politically ineptitude.
So in summary, if you want to succeed in your career, ensure you have control over your emotions, including romantic fantasies, avoid the victim mentality, do away with selfishness and have a growth mindset that is responsive to change.
I wish you all the best in your career journey
From the dek of ROL
This article was inspired by the book “Secrets to Winning at Office Politics”, authored by Marie G. Macintyre, Ph.D.