We’ve all felt the cringe and goosebumps at work when the job becomes repetitive, the boss’s face gets blood red over a simple mistake, and all we want to do is change in the phone booth, show our inner super hero and save the day.
It’s when problems are not fixed and wrongs are not righted that we lose a little snippet of ourselves every day. We forget our own raison d’être—the purpose of being as it relates to our career. Poor Clark Kent remains in a dull, mundane existence without the slightest hope of leaping a tall building in a single bound. Life is all about managing which battles and which wars to fight, but in the workplace an extra layer of caution should be added—further complicating the already painstaking process of self-discovery.
So when is enough, enough? When do you stand up and reveal the super hero underneath your power suit?
1. You Have No Skeletons.
You are a great employee. You show up on time. You do what is asked without complaint. There is no debate to be had regarding your commitment, loyalty, and simple respect for the job. There are many people in the world who possess great talent and great skill. Those who don’t sometimes have to show commitment in other ways. Those who do should make it an extra point to behave with humility. There is nothing worse than entitlement and elitist behavior. The same rules apply to everyone, and no matter how capable you are, respect for yourself, others, and your job will always be revered first before anyone coos over your ability to pull a rabbit out of a hat.
2. You Keep Your Opinions to Yourself.
You weigh up the consequences of bonding over water cooler rants carefully. Instead, you think of the bigger picture, where as a respected source your voice is heard and not ignored. It always feels good to identify with those around you, but any time temptation strikes, think to yourself: “I wonder what bearing this may have down the road when I am truly in need of support and am struggling for my boss’s respect…?” Those circling the water cooler may begin to look at you as a mentor as well, instead of a contributing Negative Nancy.
3. You Don’t Cry Wolf.
As a transition from the above, you do not share in mindless chatter. You back up your grievances with fact. You do not participate in nor instigate the same rants over and over without purpose. The most powerful tool in your arsenal sometimes is the ability to possess self-control. If you have made your complaint heard, wait for it…wait for it…and if nothing is done, go back to the drawing board and figure out the best way to approach it. Or, when appropriate, take initiative and fix the issue yourself.
4. You Understand the Importance of Timing.
Timing is everything. There’s a reason why the “slow clap” is now an urban pop culture phenomenon. Very few understand the beauty of a slow clap, because they lack the depth and patience to wait for the right moment to make a statement. You have to trust me on this, but the saying is true: You will just know…and it is so cool when it happens.
5. Stand Proudly at the Lectern and Guide Your People.
Not every manager, boss, or superior was meant to be a leader. Sometimes one is thrust into this position and doesn’t know how to deal with it. It is important that when you do engage and proudly bare your vulnerability, you are constructive. You provide insight and leadership by also understanding the boundaries, respecting them, and professionally exceeding the expectations. Do so and you may find yourself providing an intervention that could very likely improve the atmosphere for everyone: management, intern, and future CEO alike.
Just always remember to keep your power suit on, change in the phone booth, and be sure to let your powers show in a time of crisis when the ordinary becomes extraordinary and the struggles you face warrant the triumph of a slow clap.