Imagine you applied for a promotion at work that seemed to be designed just for you. It was your dream job, a nice jump in salary, and you knew that if this were your job, you’d be motivated, engaged, and excited to go to work. Continue to imagine that during the interview, you hit a home run. It was the best interview you’ve ever had; you were thoroughly prepared and wouldn’t have done anything differently.
And then imagine you don’t get the job.
What is your go-to reaction? Do you think that maybe you aren’t as good as you thought you were (imposter syndrome)? Do you think that perhaps someone has a personal vendetta against you? Do you believe that HR knew all along who they were hiring, and they were just going through the motions to appear as if they were being fair and equitable?
Do you blame someone else, or do you blame yourself?
[ctt template=”3″ link=”Gl3ri” via=”yes” ]When you are disappointed at work do you blame someone else or yourself?[/ctt]
How do you handle disappointment at work for recognition? You are all set for your annual performance review to find out that instead of being the best employee they have on staff (which is what we all want to be), you are, instead, quite average.
Do you blame someone else, or do you blame yourself?
On Administrative Professional’s Day (or Boss’s Day, or Nurse’s Day, or Teacher’s Day) is it hard for you to see all your colleagues getting acknowledgement in the form of cards, lunches, and elaborate thank you’s while your boss doesn’t even know that it is your “special” day?
Do you blame the boss for being unappreciative, or do you blame yourself for not being good enough or for not reminding them the day was approaching?
Dealing with disappointment at work is natural. Maybe you can relate to one of the following situations, or maybe you have your own situation that describes your situation perfectly.
We naturally blame someone when things don’t go according to plan. Sometimes it is us we blame, and sometimes it is someone else.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”czR4Q” via=”yes” ]We all learn to deal with disappointment at work, but we can’t let it make us bitter.[/ctt]
We all learn to deal with disappointment, but we can’t let it make us bitter. Here is what we should be doing instead:
- Reframe the situation. Instead of looking for someone to blame and to find a reason for the disappointment, instead look at what you learned. Perhaps you realize that your Executive doesn’t show appreciation the way you do, but they show it in other ways. Instead of acknowledging you on one specific day a year, they acknowledge your role every day but not adjusting the calendar you have worked so hard to perfect. Or they are very respectful of your role by telling others that they need to coordinate with you to ensure things are scheduled. They may not outwardly show their appreciation, but their actions show it.
Stop dwelling on what didn’t go the way you wanted, and reframe it to see if there is a silver lining in the situation. While there won’t always be, the act of reframing often brings new perspectives to things.
How many times have you not gotten the job you thought you wanted only to find out you are very glad you didn’t get it as it is quite different than what you expected it to be and the person in the role isn’t happy at all?
- Assume positive intent. When we turn our frustrations to the outside, it is easy to always cast the blame on someone else. Try to assume positive intent. Do your best not to assume the world is ganging up on you and trying to embarrass you.
Instead of thinking that HR had already decided on who was getting the role and it didn’t matter how well you interviewed, assume that the person who did get the role was a better fit. As much as you saw yourself in the role, please don’t assume they were wasting your time and instead assume that the winning candidate had something specific they were looking for.
Assume that HR is looking for the best candidate, and they decided you were not the best fit for whatever reason. It isn’t them ganging up on you. Assume positive intent every time.
- Clarify your expectations. By clearly identifying your expectations and asking yourself if you are reasonable in your expectations.
Is it reasonable to assume that you should get the job when you don’t know what the other candidates bring to the table or how they handled the questions in the interview? Is it reasonable to assume you will be recognized for your efforts on one day per year when you don’t tell your manager that you “want” to be recognized?
Warren and I have our traditions for presents for birthdays, Christmas, and anniversaries. We are clear on our expectations. For instance, I really enjoy the act of opening presents on Christmas, and I don’t really care about expensive luxurious things (I’d rather buy those for myself). Warren and I exchange Christmas stockings filled with useful items from the dollar store each year. We have a low-price limit we are allowed to spend, and he knows that I want quantity (lots to open) and am just as happy with some neon-colored Post-It notes as I am with a new handbag.
Not only is that what I want, he knows it too! If I didn’t tell him what I wanted, how could he be expected to know that?
If you explain that you are not happy with an average rating during your performance review, you can ask what it is you need to do to get above average or outstanding.
I did this years ago with my Executive, and he laughed and told me that no one ever gets more than average. He felt (and I wasn’t able to change his mind) that if you were told you were outstanding, you had nothing to work for. Once I understood his perspective, I was no longer disappointed in my annual performance review, and the one time I did receive an “above average” rating, I felt like I was on Cloud 9!
Disappointment should not destroy your momentum or enjoyment of your job. By following the above steps, you might even create insight and wisdom from what you learn. Don’t be bitter, be better.