How to deal with people that eats your lunch

20 11 2008

Some of us have been there, sitting on the cafeteria bench, gaily contemplating our surroundings and slowly, acquisitively, opening our brown bag; until, out of the blue your personal bully materializes and snatches it away, amidst general laughter. Oops, that was part of my happy youth.

Locker by Steven Fernandez

Locker by Steven Fernandez

You get the picture: after much effort and energy invested into something, someone else slips right in to place and takes the standing ovation. What to do? Should you stand up and shout at the top of your lungs that you were the master mind behind it all? Shy away from the scene? Punch someone in the nose? Well, I’ve tried several options and would love to share what I’ve found works for me in this cases.

Golden rule: the only one you need to fascinate is yourself. When we were kids, we all dreamed about having jobs that not only gave us fun things to do but also hordes of fans. Most of us have grown out of those archetypes but still worry when we don’t hear good things about our work, hoping that thru the optimistic reviews our work is even better. The idealization of positive criticism is, perhaps, the reason why every time someone else gets credit for our work we felt dismayed and sometimes even tricked.

Over expectation around appraisals comes hand in hand with having an image of ourselves. Once someone else steps into our hard earned place, it feels like that other is zeroing on that ideal we have constructed and we are further from it (social appraisal for some of us helps asses how far we are from that model), thus the anger and frustration.

What about your managers? Could the powers that be discern between the Milli Vanilli and real artist? Well, things can go to ways don’t they? They can be part of the crowd and just mesmerize at the performance or they could have been there sometime in the past and be able to know who was the one behind the scenes and act accordingly.

So what to do? Do the things you do, not to receive appraisal from others but to satisfy your inner needs, your goals. Follow your passion and if the time comes again and someone else steps into your light, you will be able to see right thru their intentions and understand they do so because they are in desperately need to harmonize their ideal with what others think of them and are loosing the chance to really build on their selves.

I can almost here you .. “aha and what about the managers?” How will the feared 360 evaluation go? Well, you have as much control over your managers as you would have over an applauding crowd: ZERO. Golden rule still applies: don’t worry about what they see, worry about playing your act right; at the end, either everyone will be able to see that the guy who explains things generally and without deep knowledge is a marionette or you will decide that your current workplace is not the place you should be since it values more the marrionette than the performer hence they adding no value.

Shine from the inside.

Further Reading
The Self in Social Psychology by Roy F. Baumeister

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4 responses

21 11 2008
Francisco

Nice!
If you are mature enough you can implement this rule easily.
If you implement it you´ll be in calm.

Shine crazy diamond!

26 11 2008
Mariana Santoyo

Just what I was looking for a day like today!

Thanks!

28 11 2008
pZ

That’s right!: ovations, cheering, applauses… not a very substantial food menu.

Being in a wider part of the pyramid [the operative one], my digestive system don’t need nor asimilate them.

Eclipse gives me better rewards, and never took my credit (but it should, because the so-many auto-complete features).

I don’t really care if anyone take my lunch. I’m worried about my wife…

Keep the rhythm, Marito!
pZ

29 11 2008
Z

You know what they say…recognition from one’s peers is the highest coin of the realm. No matter that you can’t spend it, because you don’t want to.

That is the only kind of recognition that matters…and if you get to follow your passions…then that´s just it.

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