I hate to break it to you, but if you thought fitting into the mold of high school or college was challenging, the workplace isn’t always a picnic either. Needless to say, adulting is hard, and similarly to how your professor establishes their own class curriculums and universities create official codes of conduct, professional environments have their own ebb and flow. Like anything else, getting better acquainted with a company's vibe takes some adjusting at first. But if you’ve held your position for quite some time, and it still feels like you aren’t fitting in, you might want to consider the things you’re doing wrong at work before jumping to conclusions. Chances are, your co-workers aren't actually conspiring against you in hopes that you'll call it quits.
Blink 182’s lead singer Tom DeLonge wasn’t wrong when he sang that famous "All The Small Things" lyric, “Work sucks, I know,” because, be honest, it’s crossed your mind at least once or twice. Even if you’re genuinely happy in your current state of employment and/or doing what you love, the grind isn’t always so great. We’ve all experienced lulls that make it hard to show up and perform to the best of our abilities each day, and that’s fine, but don’t be so fast to point the finger. Sometimes, it's actually not them, it's you (no offense). Here are a few things you might be doing wrong at work that are affecting how you feel about showing up to the office every day.
1. You Take Constructive Criticism Personally
I can totally relate to how hard it can be to hear your boss or supervisor disapprove of the work you've done, especially considering I cried the first time I ever received constructive criticism on a piece of writing.
When you submit an assignment for review and, in turn, receive constructive criticism, keep in mind that the phrase "it's not you, it's me" definitely applies here. It's not necessarily that you haven't performed to the best of your ability; it may just be that you and your boss weren't on the same page as far as what the company was looking to accomplish.
That being said, even if you're not used to constructive feedback, it's extremely important that you find a way to receive it in a professional manner. According to Ask A Manager blogger Alison Green, the last thing you want to do is get defensive, as this might prevent people from offering helpful advice in the future.
2. You're A Gossip
Joining in with a group of co-workers bashing the boss or a fellow employee might seem like an opportune time to bond, but I highly advise you avoid these kinds of conversation at all costs.
One of the most valuable pieces of advice my mother bestowed upon me was that those who gossip with you will have no issue gossiping about you. Unfortunately, people will be people, and gossip doesn't end in high school. Be careful who you confide in, or your words could come back to haunt you.
3. You Take On Too Much Responsibility
It's easy to be an overachiever, especially when starting a new job, and this often turns out to be a huge mistake.
A good work ethic is definitely something to strive for, but think of it this way, friends: If you've landed the dream job, you met the requirements, so everyone is well aware that you are capable of doing your job and doing it well. But when you start to over-promise or take on multiple tasks at once, things start to get messy.
Multitasking is a great skill to have, especially in a fast-paced work environment, but if you bite off more than you can chew, there's a high probability you could fall behind on important assignments. Of course, you should always accept more responsibility if you can handle it, but it's just as important to know and respect your limits.
4. You Don't Ask Enough Questions
There are no dumb questions. Period.
If you're new to a position or have been promoted to a new role, I can almost guarantee that unless you have a boss from hell, you're not expected to know everything right off the bat. The best way to learn the ropes is to ask questions — a lot of them. In fact, asking questions is encouraged.
If you're anxious or unsure whether or not you should ask a question, maybe take a moment to really think over what it is you're asking, and whether or not you can figure it out yourself. If not, don't be afraid to speak up. If nothing else, your boss or co-workers will acknowledge the fact that you take your job seriously and are making sure you're doing things by the book.
5. You Come Across As Antisocial
Shout out to all my introverts just trying to get in and out of work unscathed. I totally sympathize. Unfortunately though, because you spend more time in the workplace than you do at home, your co-workers are most likely going to want to be social or at least make some kind of friendly connection with you.
Of course, not everyone is a social butterfly, and that's OK. But people often tend to assume the quiet ones who keep to themselves either feel superior or just aren't interested in human interaction.
If you tend to be on the quieter side of the spectrum, rest assured this is not me telling you to snap out of it and become everybody's best friend. But it's important that the people you work with know who you are.
I promise your work environment will definitely be a more pleasant place to spend your days if you strike up a casual conversation from time to time, or have a drink or two at the office happy hour.
6. Your Food Choices Are Making You Sluggish
According to the National Sleep Foundation, carbohydrates contain an amino acid known as tryptophan, which causes you to feel drowsy. So instead of packing a six-inch sub and a bag of potato chips to munch on during your break, opt for some leafy greens, veggies, and fruits like bananas and citrus foods that provide a significant energy boost and keep you feeling full throughout the day.