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Soft Skills – How Nadia Handled Her Sudden Layoff

Being laid off is inevitable.  Almost everyone will experience it once in their career.  It is how you handle the layoff that will determine your career progression afterwards.  This is why it is so important to listen to this candid conversation I had with one of our Executive Authors, Nadia Drew. In this 15 minute…

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Soft Skills Assessment and Teaching – 3 Methods

While the questions below are about soft skills teaching and soft skills assessment for high school students, I think many of the methods I share can be used also in soft skills training and assessment for professionals. Lei, Thank you for the work you do and the clarity you provide when it comes to differences…

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How to Handle Office Gossip

Question:  I joined this software company before a year and was put on a live project immediately. I had to undergo training from one of the team members before i could start working. I looked at this as an opportunity to know more about project. So as i got to know about technology, the team mate started expressing his views about other team members i.e. developers, in how they would pressurize you to work and some other negative aspects. I was sort of concerned now and formed a negative impression about the people on this project. So i made a decision to keep distance with them. Soon it was shocking to see that the team member who told me all these was himself mingling with rest of the team as if all were in good sync. I could not get out of the negative impression i formed initially and so i always felt a bit wary when relating to others.

Same thing happened with another team member who kept complaining to me that developers(other team members) were mean to us and that they were to blame for the faults. However, he became a loyal dog to them (developers) when they asked him to do something. It was as if they were friends and had good understanding with each other. And i was the one left out. I was clearly shocked at this double faced behavior of my co-workers. I would like to know if this type of behavior is common. Also is it me who is stupid in not being able to understand these office behavior?

office gossip

Thanks for reaching out.  I can’t say if this behavior is common or not, but in business I know for a fact there are always people that like to gossip about other people and be double-faced for their own interests.  It doesn’t seem to me that you knew well either team members who have been complaining to you.  My suggestion are as follows

  • Steer clear of people who like complain and gossip.  You may feel important because they seem to be telling you a secret but by wasting time listening to gossip, you get emotional entangled in what they think about others.  As you found out yourself, their biased views can lead you to pre-judge others.  This will not help your teamwork skills.  Also those who like to gossip to you are also likely to gossip about you.  You cannot change who they are, but you can choose to not partake in their gossiping by even listening.
  • Interact with all your project mates directly with an open mind, and make your own conclusions about their work style and how you feel about working with them.  This is always the best solution.  Everyone has a different perspective about their work and the people they work with.  Form your own opinion based on direct interaction.  It is the only way you can learn how to work well with others.
  • Realize gossip is not the same as the truth.    They are just expressing their opinions.  Whether they are being double faced or not is less important.   You should never have someone else’s opinion completely sway your own.  Even when all other’s opinion say the same thing, you should always have direct interactions to make your own conclusions.  Otherwise, you can always fall victim to double faced behavior.

So try to erase everything you heard and begin to interact with everyone on your project with an open mind.  You will then get a chance to know them and figure out directly how best to work with each person.  Also  you are NOT stupid.  This can happen to the best of us when we are too trusting of others.  Trust in yourself and form your own opinion and you will do fine.   Best wishes,

Your comments:  How do you handle office gossip?  Does my advice help?  Share your comments below.

Lei

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How to Create a Soft Skills Development Plan

Workout Objective:  Create a concrete plan to develop your soft skills and know exactly how developing these soft skills will help your career Prerequisite: none Recommended Frequency: once every six month to a year It can be pretty daunting to think you have to develop 28 soft skills to accelerate your career success.  There is a…

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The Leadership Lesson Don Learned Unexpectedly

I am honored to introduce another Executive Author, Don Victor, to our candid conversations series.  Don is senior executive and currently head of a division of 300 people.  Don is a senior executive, and is currently the head of a 300-person division. I am so pleased that he agreed to be an Executive Author for my website….

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How to Re-Negotiate Benefits After Signing an Employment Contract

Question:  My current employer had enrolled me for a medical plan that is due to expire in 2 days. I start at my new employment end of this month. According to contract with new employer(the bank) that I have already signed, I will be on probation for first 3 months. Also according to that contract…

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contact old employer

How to Return to My Old Employer

Q: I was wondering what may be the best way to approach acknowledging to a previous employer, that you made a mistake leaving your previous job. A year ago, I left a well paying consulting position with a large technology company to pursue another job. Unfortunately, the new job has not met my expectations and I now regret my decision to leave my previous employer.

Before leaving my previous employer, my director offered me another position that he thought would suit my skills, in order to keep me in the company. However, this position was not yet defined and thus I decided to leave. Now, a year later, I regret this decision and should have been more patient and pursued this opportunity.

Do you think it’s worth while contacting this director or should I just forget about this? Curious to hear what you think.

Maikel

contact old employer

Maikel, thanks for your question.  The short answer is absolutely contact the director.  What do you have to lose?  Just because you left an employer doesn’t mean they don’t want you back.  And it sounded like you left on good terms.  They may no longer have the same open position as an year ago, but it will always help your chances if you proactively reconnect with this director and tell him or her you are interested in returning.  

The best way to contact this director is by email.  This way it gives you a chance to craft your message.   Approach him or her honestly.  Tell him or her what you told me and ask to see if there are any opportunities currently.   Also be persistent.  If you don’t hear back from the first email, follow up with another email or on Linkedin.  Sometimes emails goes into SPAM by accident and people are busy.  It is your job to make the effort to follow up if you want to reconnect successfully with an old employer.

At the end of the day, even if he or she doesn’t have anything right away, you at least reconnected so this director can keep you in mind for future openings.    Here are two articles with real life stories that can also help you.  

Best wishes and let me know how it goes.

Lei
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