How do I stop being so negative and pessimistic at work?
October 2, 2013 6:40 AM Subscribe
Management told us that we need to be positive and upbeat at work. I can be fairly pessimistic and jaded. How do I reconcile these two things? Lots of snowflakiness inside.
posted by anonymous to work & money (27 answers total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
Apologies for the snowflakiness in here. Also apologies if this doesn't make all that much sense.
I'm a team lead at a firm. Our team is under 50 people, so we're sort of tight knit. Recently we received an announcement from upper management that said that everyone needs to be more positive and that negativity isn't going to really be tolerated. Trying to eliminate all negativity isn't going to work ever, so it seems silly to try to do so. It also means that the company is going to become more one-minded, and that sort of consistent patting each other on the back could lead to us biting off more than we can chew and getting ourselves in trouble with our clients.
Now admittedly, I am a generally pessimistic person. I don't have it in me to be gung-ho and overly optimistic about things. I can't bring myself to say, "Crazy project due in 3 days? We can do it!" When we get an RFP or an estimate in, I always start by finding the pain points and raise red flags so that we don't end up getting ourselves in trouble. I'm also fairly jaded, and that comes out a bit too. For example, when our clients are being stupid (as all clients tend to be), I tend to be a bit vocal about it internally with my team. Honestly I think my team responds well to this, as they're also down in the trenches dealing with our clients. I get why this may rub management the wrong way, as negativity breeds negativity, and that needs to be reined in so that our actual work doesn't suffer.
Anyway, I'm concerned that I can't be the person that management wants me to be, and that my position in the company is going to suffer as a result. I don't know how to just turn off my pessimism and jadedness - it's a part of me and always has been. As I said, a little pessimism could be good for our company so that we don't end up going off the deep end. Maybe I take it a bit too far at times, but I don't know how to rein that in. I am in therapy, but we haven't quite made it to this issue yet.
It seems like there are a few ways out of this. One, I can try to be the person management wants me to be. Alternatively, I can somehow convince them that my brand of healthy dissent is constructive and helps us be more successful. But I need AskMeFi's help on this. If the answer is the first one - that I should try to fill management's expectations - how do I do that? How do I stop myself from being negative? If the answer is the second one, how do I phrase that so that it actually sounds constructive? With whom do I discuss that? What do I do if they turn a deaf ear to me and start stonewalling me in my position? Is there another solution here that I'm not seeing? If you've been in this position, how did you get out of it?