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Stop ‘me, me, me!’ before I get fired–again

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in Your Office Coach

Question: “I have been fired from almost every job I have ever had.  I’m 22 years old and have been working since I was 16.  I see a pattern in my behavior, but don’t know how to change it.  As soon as I’m comfortable in a job, my emotional needs take over, and I involve everyone in my issues.  Although I’m not a complainer, I seem to need a lot of attention. I did have a rough childhood, but I’m a smart person. I know what I’m doing when I’m doing it.  I just can’t seem to stop.  Do you have any advice?”  —Desperate

Answer:  You’ve already taken a big first step.  By acknowledging that you created this problem, you’ve given yourself the power to fix it.  Many people never have the courage to confront their self-destructive tendencies.

Now you must learn to control your emotions instead of allowing your emotions to control you.  To become a mature, professional adult, you need to separate your feelings from your behavior.

Suppose, for example, that you have a big fight with your romantic partner. Instead of bringing this drama to the office, you put on your “game face” and concentrate on work. Or suppose you receive a bad performance review.  Despite feeling angry and upset, you simply ask your boss how you can improve.

To satisfy your craving for attention, seek the spotlight in positive ways. Take on difficult projects, stay late to help a co-worker and offer to assist your manager.  Avoid immature attention-getting tactics.

Learning to manage emotions will benefit both your work and personal relationships.  But if your difficult upbringing has left too many scars, a professional counselor may need to help you acquire this emotional maturity.  

If your boss seems to be unhappy with you, check out Six Signs that You May Be Hard to Manage.

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