Sooner Or Later, The Need To Be Right Will Get You In Trouble (I.E. Fired)
I’m all for standing up for yourself in the workplace, as it often is a battleground. If you don’t say anything, people will either run over you — or forget you’re even there. It’s quite annoying to be seen and not heard. On the flip side of things, too much of a sound-off can be counterproductive.
Maybe it’s the Virgo in me or how I was raised, but I always feel the need to prove a point. My point. It’s not that I’m trying to be combative, but sometimes I don’t feel like people get the point I want to make. Then there are occasions when I feel certain behavior is intentional and directed towards me in a negative way — which, of course, puts me on the defense faster than Kanye West at an awards ceremony. However, I learned the importance of shutting up real quick after a buddy of mine at work got fired.
Several years back, I worked in an office environment that had tons of personalities and characters, to say the least. Thankfully I met a colleague who has become a close friend of mine over the years. She was fierce, determined and had no problem letting folks know when they stepped out of line. By the way, she wasn’t the boss.
No matter how big or small the misunderstanding was, homegirl always let you know how she felt — including the manager. While it was funny to sit back and watch her handle business, deep inside, I knew she was making a ballsy choice. Needless to say, she was shown the door after a few “professional altercations.”
So what does this mean? You can’t stand up for yourself in the workplace without the fear of being fired? Yes and no.
There’s a pretty big difference between sticking up for yourself and stroking your ego. If you always find yourself in the middle of office drama that involves you and your mouth, it’s probably a good idea to start questioning if the arguments you’re having are even worth it. A pretty good sign of maturity is a person’s ability to let things roll off of their back. Does this mean you’ve automatically become a doormat for others to step on when they please? No. By holding your tongue, you let those jokers around your office know you won’t stoop to their level and their antics aren’t noticed. Nothing can piss someone off quite like being ignored.
In the same breath, it’s just as important to not become a pest just because you need to feel right. Those who are constantly correcting someone’s emails due to grammatical errors and who are quick to say “I told you so” probably aren’t going to be first pick at the corporate kickball game — let alone for a promotion. In fact, it can get downright annoying to the point of a boss saying “Thanks, but no thanks” to your contributions. This is why it’s so necessary to pick and choose your battles. There will be some things you need to “sacrifice” in order to see the bigger picture.
How do you handle the need to be right? Can you chill from time to time, or do you find it necessary to constantly argue your point?