Reflection is important

When I look back on all the jobs I’ve held since first entering the workforce at the ripe age of 14, there’s one observation that remains true. That the level of enjoyment, satisfaction and motivation are mostly influenced by one thing, your interactions with others.

The people you work with have a big impact on how you perceive and enjoy your job. That’s what I’ve learned. I’ve been lucky to have met many different yet all interesting people. From long term retail employees, to IT specialists, to construction workers. These interactions have taught me how to deal with people, how to solve problems in different ways and how to adjust to expectations.

I often cherish the workplace relations I’ve had with other colleagues in previous jobs. There have been less fond experiences also. Each experience has given me something to think about and learn from. If my attitude had not evolved since when I was 14, I certainly wouldn’t be good at my current job. So I’m glad to have had both positive and negative experiences.

To share a lesson with you, I’d say that tolerance is the greatest concept I’ve learned in the last decade of working. Understanding that every individual has the capacity to think and act differently to you is important. Guessing or assuming people will respond a particular way to something isn’t very clever. It’s important to accept people and to always respect them, even in times of irresponsibility. We are all at different stages of our lives and careers. We are unaware of different aspects that could be affecting one’s personal life. Often we perceive others inaccurately, we perceive them according to our standards, not according to a general standard. People who we think might be critical of us are probably just new to your way of thinking and approaching things.

Meeting difficult people is a two way lesson. We can learn how to deal with uncomfortable situations better but we should also be assessing whether we contributed to the difficulty in the first place. We often say to ourselves “Gee, that person has a negative attitude, they don’t contribute to team morale do they?”. What we should be thinking is “how have my actions helped in bringing about the best outcome in these circumstances?”

If we place the focus on ourselves and what we can do, then our preoccupation with others tends to have less importance. If we are being constructive in order to solve problems and contribute to our organisation, then there would be less time to judge and point the finger at others.

Whether we like it or not, for most tasks we need to rely on others to accomplish them. If we can ignore minor distinctions in peoples’ personalities then the focus is placed on your actions and the work at hand. As long as you are seen as constructive, there will be people that envy or distrust you but it’s much better to sit back and reflect on what you accomplished than to focus on the flaws (or pettiness) of your colleagues. We all have flaws. It’s better to recognise and work with peoples’ strengths.