Are You Linda Or Larry Lone Wolf At Work? 6 Survival Tips For When You Don’t Fit In At The Office
You aren’t there to make friends, yet you aren’t not there to make friends (yes, that was intentional!). But, let’s face it, it would be nice if someone other than the other lone wolf would talk to you. After all, you will spend about a third of your life at work, so the time there should be as painless as possible.
Unfortunately, work will be stressful some days, you will not like everyone, and some people may even pray you face plant on your way to the restroom. But, that’s okay! You’ll get through it no matter what. Here’s how:
One. Sit down for a sec and evaluate whether the office’s culture is so poor that it’s virtually impossible for you to effectively do your job. If things are just beyond uncomfortable no matter what you do, it may be time to have a chat with your supervisor. If the supervisor is the issue, then move up the ladder. If that isn’t an option and your hands are pretty tied, then that really isn’t fair to you or the company. So, it may be time to consider a change. If things aren’t that serious, then there’s still hope!
Two. Mind it! Even when it’s hard … avoid the gossip. No one wants to be the subject of office chatter and you don’t want to be next. If what’s being said doesn’t directly impact your personal or professional life, then you can try folding your lobes over the canal to drown out the nonsense or try politely telling anyone sharing the news that you don’t want to get involved. If you simply state, “I won’t comment on that one” or “I’m not getting involved with that”, you’ll be pegged as the cool one who won’t gossip and others will stop engaging you in that vein.
Three. Can’t go wrong with good ol’ R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Sock it to ‘em! Being a great listener and speaking with respect will go a long way. Think of the number of conflicts you can avoid if you truly treat others as you wish to be treated. And, if you aren’t being treated with the respect you deserve, don’t be afraid to speak up and respectfully voice your concerns.
Four. Remember you are a member of a team. None of you are there alone and for everyone to have a job, you are each needed. Don’t compare yourself to others and instead, approach each day knowing you are just one part of a team. Perform your tasks with the betterment of the team in mind and not just yourself. With that in mind, your actions will surely reflect those thoughts.
Five. Show interest in others. You knew it was Tim’s birthday, but maybe he’s annoyed you too many times and “happy birthday” was not in the cards. Next time, say it anyway! It takes effort to intentionally avoid interacting with someone and that amount of energy is just needless. If a coworker has been going on about their child’s recital … pass on your best wishes for the big day. There certainly isn't a need for you to push yourself on others and no one should ever be put in that position. But, it takes very little time and effort to simply say, “happy birthday”, “good luck, tonight”, or “great job landing that contract”. A few simple words from time to time can be the difference between having turmoil or having peace in the office.
Six. Don’t get too nuts with conversations. If you have a funky sense of humor, that's wonderful, but the office may not be the place to practice your new stand-up routine. Keep offensive or controversial topics off the table and keep conversations neutral and clean.
Seven. If you decide to directly address the source of conflict with your coworkers or supervisor, consider keeping as much as possible in writing. With tense situations, it is super easy for either side to misconstrue the message and pass incorrect info on to others. Others may gossip about your situation and claim things were said that actually were not. If things become serious enough for you to have to prove that you did or did not state something … at least your email will have your back even if coworkers do not!
Eight. Remember, not everyone will like you, and you, of course, will not like everyone. That’s perfectly okay and the best you can do in those situations is to remain cordial and respectful. Never lose sight of the fact that your ultimate goal is to do an amazing job at work and if you are, that’s what counts most. Life is short and work is only one part of your life. Create a fulfilling life outside the office, so that even when there are tough days at the desk, you’ll still have plenty to look forward to at the end of the day. Having something to look forward to will keep you grounded and focused.
Have a great day at the office!