Working in the business world for more than a decade hasn’t made me less sensitive. I still bristle when someone criticizes my work, and when a colleague doesn’t want to hang out with me on the weekends, it hurts my feelings.
I’m working on it, though. In case you have a sensitivity problem too, here’s what I’m doing.
I’m trying not to take things so personally. If a person gives me the brush off and I don’t know why, I won’t jump to the immediate conclusion that I did something to offend him or her. I will accept that I don’t know everything that’s going on behind the scenes in that person’s life, and recognize that it’s possible that the person behaves this way toward everyone.
I will not globalize criticism. If a colleague makes a negative remark about my work, I won’t take it as her finding fault with me as a human being.
I will recognize that I am not going to be best friends with everyone with whom I work. Just because we happen to be on a project together doesn’t mean we have things in common beyond that project. It’s OK for my colleagues to recognize this and prefer to socialize with other people.
I’m also trying to steer clear of people who trigger my sensitivity radar — for example, someone who has already said something less than pleasant to me, or rejected me in some other fashion. If I can’t avoid these people, I will not let their behavior ruin my day. Instead, I will remind myself of all the people in my life who do love and appreciate me. I’ll raise my hand for a pep talk — they’re only a phone call away.
– Alexandra Levit is the author of “They Don’t Teach Corporate in College: A Twenty-Something’s Guide to the Business World,” and a nationally recognized authority on workplace issues facing young employees.
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