by Rebecca Harmon, MPM, RHIA, CCA
No one enjoys negative experiences, but we all know people who hold on to certain negative incidents like treasured possessions. Whether we have lived through something negative at work, in our career, in a relationship, or even in traffic, the best response is to let go and move on!
I was reminded of this in traffic last week. I was queued up ahead of the merge point onto a Pittsburgh bridge. I was watching my mirrors and saw an opening when a woman in a minivan lagged behind the car in front of her. I hit my blinker and moved quickly into the open space that easily accommodated my Jeep.
Right about the time I moved over she looked up and hit the gas and the horn at the same time. I usually ignore people who honk their horns in bad traffic. Let’s face it – we are all a little tense in rush hour traffic and there is no need to acknowledge bad behavior or add fuel to the fire.
I will never know what set her off that day, or why she decided to act in such a way, but she laid on her horn and rode my bumper for the next painfully-slow mile. She even occasionally put her hand in the air to send me “signals.” It was irritating for multiple reasons – not the least of which is the reality that no one owns or has “preferred status” on any piece of asphalt. If we drive, we’re sharing!
Other than the idea that she gave me for another blog, I didn’t think much of her, or her antics after exiting. I went home and went about my weekend, which was filled with family, fun, rest and relaxation. In other words, I let that negative experience fly right out the window and out of my life. I had the experience, but the experience didn’t have me.
In our careers we may encounter angry, unreasonable people. They may treat us unfairly and even seem to go out of their way to make us miserable. Sometimes these people are in positions of power, which can make for interesting (and often painful) circumstances, but when we find ourselves on the receiving end of an angry and unreasonable person, we get to choose how it impacts us:
1. We can take on the negativity and get caught up in whether they had the “right” to talk to us or behave that way; telling everyone who will listen about the story and eliciting shocked responses and sympathy. When we make this choice we are deciding to live and relive that negative moment over and over.
2. We can make the choice to leave the negativity at the feet of the person who introduced it to us in the first place. When we make this choice we take control of the experience and its impact on our life.
Too often we allow the negativity of one person or circumstance to grow out of control and taint our view of our job, our employer, or our career. When we do this, we have allowed that person or experience to take over our decision-making power. Before we know it, that good career choice or smart job move starts to feel like a burden in our life instead of the benefit that it had been previously. This negative thinking can expand, overtake our entire outlook and contaminate our view on everything in our lives. It can impact our careers, our ability to advance, and even our longevity in a job. In a previous blog I mentioned the importance of not communicating anger or frustration when engaged in a prolonged job search. It is just as important to not fall into the negativity habit once we have a job.
The good news is that it is easy to avoid this trap when we realize that we have the power to choose. We get to decide: did we have an experience in the past or does the negative experience continue to have us? We can predict how our careers will unfold in large part based on how we answer that simple question.
Make the choice today to let the negative stuff go. You and your career are worth it!
Other posts in this series:
Coders and Networking: It Goes Both Ways
Stay in Touch! Build your Network of Contacts to Help your Coding Career
Attn Coders: Make the Most of Attending your first Professional Meeting
Looking for a Coding Job? Try Networking Outside the Profession
Give First to Receive: Lessons for Coders Seeking their Next Job
Medical Coders: Giving Back and Paying it Forward
Coding Careers: Learning to Embrace the Detours