You are your own worst enemy. We don’t take you seriously at work because you don’t give us much reason to. You can get the respect you deserve only after you start acting like you deserve it. The good news is that you can control this and create positive change.
Look at yourself and how you’re dressed.
What? If dressing in a way that expresses your individuality is wrong, you don’t want to be right? If you want us to take you seriously, then you need to look like someone we can take seriously. Hey, if we’re so shallow, what do you care what we think?
One creatively-dressed rebel turned button-down manager found out for himself that clothes do make the worker. The turncoat known as Wayne Turmel wrote, “A dress code is (not just) about restricting my expression – it’s also a code to other people how they should respond to me. I’d like to be treated as a professional, thank you.”
And don’t think that you will be treated as a professional if your attire shows off your physical attributes. The more you reveal, the less we will see of your professional skills.
So take a look around the office. Who gets the respect you covet? Don’t stalk them until they lead you to their version of retail heaven. But note the basic style. Try an outfit, and see where that gets you.
Don’t be afraid to shop discount or second hand. You want clean, not fancy. Goodwill and Target might have what you need. If you have to stifle your creativity, don’t bust your budget.
You’re funny. Perhaps too much.
Everyone appreciates your sense of humor. And that includes me. Who wants to work with someone who can’t take a joke? It’s comforting to know that you always have a quip ready to brighten the day.
And it’s good for the company. Steven Sultanoff makes a pretty good case for it in the workplace. Humor can promote communication and relationships while reducing stress and absenteeism. So what’s the problem?
First, not everyone thinks you’re funny. Humor is very subjective. And someone thinks your cracks cross the line into inappropriateness. But they don’t want to say anything because other people are laughing. If you go to far though, they might go over your head to object instead of telling you personally. And you won’t know it until you have an “hostile environment” conversation with HR.
Second, even if you don’t offend anyone, the jokes don’t encourage us from taking you seriously. Maybe you’re cracking jokes because there isn’t anything else for you to say. When people think of you, do they think of how hard working or smart you are? Or do they think of that great one-liner you had in the budget meeting?
Speaking of humor. That self-deprecating stuff has to go.
A good way to make us laugh without insulting anyone is to make fun of yourself. Your stupidity, ineptness and ignorance are hilarious. And it’s fun to work with someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously.
But if you don’t, why should we?
Sure, you’re only kidding. And everyone knows that. But every joke at your expense helps reinforce a negative image of you in our subconscious.
Honestly. I know. I come from a long line of smart asses. And it’s not hard for me to lighten up a room with a one-liner. But I have to keep it in check. I need to make sure they hear useful, thoughtful statements coming out of my mouth too. This isn’t being boring. Offering wisdom can make you interesting in a totally different way.
And I know that humor is a great way to flirt. Someone who makes me laugh is very appealing. But stop treating our office like a singles bar.
Just because you’re a guy, don’t think that you can get away with playing the field. I know women have the burden of a double standard. Their sexual activities can make them look like a slut while men are seen as studs. It’s not fair. But you don’t get away scott-free.
Just because someone slaps you on the back and calls you Romeo in the men’s room, that doesn’t mean you have professional respect. In the back of our minds we’re wondering if you’re more concerned with getting the job done or getting the new temp in the sack.
The women aren’t impressed. And I’m not talking about the ones who have power around here. By the way, there are more of them than there used to be. But the one in the next cubicle isn’t thrilled with your exploits. When you turn to her, she wonders if you’re trying to hit on her.
This is a huge topic that’s worthy of a deeper look later. Stay tuned.
You have to give a little to get a little
Just how much respect do you show the people you want to respect you back? I know. If we don’t show you respect, why should you bother? You’re right. In fact, we agree with you.
So you’re going to have to suck it up and stop whining, “He hit me back first!” Start showing some respect and see what you get back.
And there’s all that TMI
I know this is the information age. But you’re giving too much of it. To be honest, I know more about you than I really want to know. It’s nice to share with coworkers. It makes us feel closer and helps bond. But do I really need to know about where your spouse has a new mole? Or that you two had the 10th argument this week? And please keep your hygiene habits to yourself.
We need a little more talk about work. It just doesn’t seem like you spend a lot of time working when you’re talking so much about your personal life.
OK, you’ve made some mistakes.
I’m talking real mistakes. Mistakes that cost us money. And people are a little wary of trusting you around here.
I don’t know what your deal is. But you need to get a handle on it. Figure out why you’re doing this. Buy a self-help book. Get therapy. Watch Dr. Phil. Whatever. Just spend the time to understand what are the circumstances that lead to your mistakes. Then do what you can to change those conditions.
And don’t blame someone else. No one’s buying that line. So start taking responsibility for what you’re doing. The less you say “It’s not my fault,” the more we will believe it when it’s true.
We need to see that you regret your mistakes, take responsibility for them and work to prevent them.
You have a tough reputation to turn around. It’s going to take hard work.
Listen. This is all controllable. You can take responsibility for how people see you and make sure it’s positive. You can see a big change in their attitudes quickly.
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