Struggling to Stay Professionally Positive, Productive
May 2,2020 at 3:50PM UTC
What, please, am I not understanding about how to function well in the work environment?
I’m a mid 40s, career-minded, never married, childless female. I am educated, hardworking, high functioning, ethical and, in general, happy with a pretty healthy sense of humor and sense of self combined with a fair dose of common sense. I have worked mostly in sales/development and marcom roles. I have risen to executive-level leadership roles (in title and salary) in FTE and been a solopreneur. But…I have failed to find a long-term professional home and consistently shed previous professional connections because – and bear with me – I find my interactions with people, on the whole, seriously disappointing. (I really do try to see the best in people first.) I do not think everyone thinks like me or has to have the same level of work ethic I do, but I am not by nature self-centered, a complainer, a gossiper or a blame-shifter. If I’m hired to do a job, I get up every day feeling as though I need to earn my pay. (I’m one of those people who works through the flu, vacations, etc.) I seek to be a good team member and employee/r, feeling acutely the responsibility and accountability of my role and how it affects the larger picture. Along the way, I have been sexually harassed (more than once), marginalized, manipulated, lied to/about and shamed. And, yes, I realize these experiences are not unique to me and, yes, I realize I am the only constant in any of my situations and the only one who can control my actions/reactions/future. I am not perfect. I have made mistakes and tried my best to learn from them, not repeat them and apologized when/where possible. I have done workshops, webinars, trainings, seminars, read books, talked to friends/mentors, engaged with life coaches, etc. to adjust my behavior, thinking and expectations so I can not just survive but thrive. Others – who do far less or no self-development – seems to be able to grin and bear it for a paycheck. Others – less qualified, some even shady, who repeatedly shrug off their responsibilities – get promoted. I hear and read and see all these examples of supportive and respectful work environments, but I’ve also seen behind the curtain on many of those and the realities don’t match the hype. While I respect position and authority, I’m not a game-player or bum-kisser and that’s been suggested as problematic to my success. I’ve been told I’m too black-and-white (sometimes in matters that have real life and/or legal ramifications). I’ve been told my mere presence is intimidating (I’m tall, dress well) and that I have high (too high) standards. I completely understand hard work alone isn’t always enough, and my friends and professional connections would tell you I’m an experienced networker and a ‘pay it forward’ person. I volunteer when I can and seek ways to support my community. I am fully aware the world/life isn’t always fair and I’m not crying ‘woe is me.’ I’m really – truly – trying to figure out what is it that I’m missing…that I don’t understand? What else should I be doing to either enjoy a work environment no matter what dynamics are at play and/or find a work environment that lives up to its hype as honest, encouraging, productive?
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