When you don’t fit in at work

I don’t care how independent and special you are everyone needs to belong to a group. People need people. Socialization is a major factor in becoming successful at work for any people although not everyone. This we know from working for people who are jerks yet somehow have become our supervisors.

When you get that uncomfortable feeling that you’re not on the insiders list there are a few things you might be able to do to change that situation. One is to become more pleasant with people. Perhaps you are moodier and more opinionated than you realize. Stop that.

120911-biz-notfittingin-1042a.today-inline-largeStop thinking you’re so superior to everyone. I was guilty of that one in my early days of work. No one at my place of work was as educated as me, most of the women weren’t as attractive and I knew it. So did they because they could sense I thought I was just so superior. That could be part of the reason why most of them didn’t like me (you think?) and went out of their way to snub me or insult me. I don’t now which one was worse.

I didn’t recognize that for at least a year or so. The same is true about me now in terms of my achievements and personal qualities. But I don’t think I’m superior for it. In fact I am grateful to my parents for my genes (I know that’s funny and it’s meant to be – I have since learned to make fun of myself, also something I didn’t do in my early years at work) and for inspiring me to get an education. I’m not better than anyone else. I’m lucky to have had such staunch supporters behind me.

Another is to be good-humoured and that includes about you. Be aware of cultural differences with this one. What you find amusing might be highly offensive to someone who immigrated to Canada (or America, or what have you). That’s not just a social issue it can become a type of harassment if you ignore the impact an offensive comment has on other people.

Make sure that you respect other people’s ideas. When you are at a meeting or simply working with your team it’s important not to belittle other people’s ideas. They may not have a viable solution to a problem but at least they’re thinking things through. It’s always good to listen with your mouth closed first time around the table. Consider carefully what people have to say and ask sincere (not sarcastic) questions.

Another way to connect is to help people. If you are finished your work in a timely manner and you see that a colleague is bogged down, offer to help her. It’s a great way to bond with a person and usually people don’t forget when you offer favours.

Know and accept that there is a lot of diversity at work. Don’t resist that. It’s a positive not a negative and it helps to make any workplace a success. Besides what makes you think you aren’t the problem on staff?

Make sure you have good personal hygiene. This one sounds obvious but haven’t you ever encountered a colleague with foul-smelling breath or strong body odour? Ick. That one sends me running every time.

Avoid causing confrontations whenever you can. When someone says or does something inconsiderate if it’s worthwhile tell that person and work out a resolution. However be careful about how you go about it. If you are very emotional when someone crosses you, zip it and wait another 24 hours until you approach that person.

Invite a colleague to have lunch with you. Have a pleasant conversation and listen to what they have to say about their lives and interests.

A sense of humour can be your greatest asset at work when it comes to getting along with people. Of course, working hard and efficiently is vital to keep your job but this blog is about fitting into the corporate environment. The majority of people who are fired aren’t let go because they can’t go the job. They are let go because they don’t have social skills and their colleagues hate them. Don’t be that person.









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