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Dina Beach Lynch, is an Ombudsman, Author and former attorney. An award-winning mediator, Dina served as the Corporate Ombudsman for the 7th largest bank in the US helping over 48,000 employees to resolve workplace issues.
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Dr. Marty Seldman is one of America's most experienced executive coaches. His 35-year career includes expertise in executive coaching, group dynamics, cross-cultural studies, clinical psychology, and training.
Arnie Herz, is a lawyer, mediator, speaker, author and consultant nationally recognized for his practical and inspired approach to conflict resolution and client counseling.
Dr. John Burton LL.B. M.B.A. M.Div. Ph.D. is an ethicist, mediator, lawyer and theologian. John is currently located in Prince Rupert, B.C., Canada, working with Canada's aboriginal communities.
I later realized my conversation was taken out of context by other employees, and used as a shallow basis to make judgements on my character...
I am a recent business undergrad university graduate working at a large Canadian bank. I am currently hired on a 6 month contract/internship basis. Initially, I was extremely excited to be hired as I was eager for the opportunity, experience and mentorship possibilities to help transition from a University student mindframe to a Corporate employee mindframe.
As I began my full-time internship, I also began 2 intensive post-graduate academic courses as well as adjusting to the move to a new city, Toronto. Combined with the financial pressures of a limited internship salary, the concept of "office politics" never occurred to me. I simply assumed that if I continued to act on the same principles of "being myself" that I used in interviews, I would fit into the corporate culture and accelerate.
Unfortunately, I have now realized that this is not the case. 2 months into my internship, I now realize tension between myself and 2 female co-workers. I work between 2 floors. The 1st floor is a sales & trading environment, where people are deeply focused on their tasks, thus paying little attention to other people's behaviour. The 2nd floor is IT based and resembles a corporate "communal shower", where every conversation is audible by all and employees actively listen to each other's conversation. This floor is where I'm currently located, and where my problems arise.
Engaging in what I assumed was casual and private conversations with a fellow intern, I later realized was taken out of context by other employees, internalized, and used as a shallow basis to make judgements on my character. Based on these erroneous judgements, these employees now interact with me in a superficial and false way, that they must assume is my personality.
I find the situation extremely frustrating as their conclusions on my personality are completely wrong. As an intern, I also find it frustrating as this is my chance to prove my abilities, yet I'm being described as an insensitive, spoilt brat to my manager through these employees interpretations.
As I'm in the infancy of my career, and greatly desire to keep a healthy relationship between myself and my manager as well as these parasitic female co-workers...PLEASE HELP!!!. I apologize for the length of this letter, but I hope it reflects how serious a problem this situation presents to me. It is now beginning to bother me in my personal life, which is an even greater problem.
Dear Young Hopeful Professional,
Sounds like the "parasitic female workers" you refer to may have a point. You have mastered the art of blaming and insulting others, playing victim and taking zero responsibility for your role in the situation. You say you want a healthy relationship with your manager and co-workers so go make it happen. You have the power.
What did you say that has led them to believe you to be superficial, false, insensitive and spoiled? Are you willing to see the world from their perspective? What have you done to constructively alter (or further entrench) their perspectives of you? How would you perceive yourself to be in the situation if you are truly objective and honest with yourself?
Without knowing what you said that got you into this mess, I cannot provide specific suggestions. But I am confident that if you take a hard look in the mirror and address the above questions, you'll be able to find the answers to what you can do.
As a conflict resolution professional, I find that an honest conversation and appreciation of the other perspective along with an apology, if appropriate, goes a long way to resolving conflict. Also, you may want to express your perspective and desire to improve the dynamic.
I also recommend the book Non-Violent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg and books or articles on active listening.
By getting this life lesson early in your professional career, you'll be well on your way to huge success. Just remember me (favorably) when you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
Thanks for writing to Office-Politics.
Arnie Herz, Esq.
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The Ethics Letters that appears as a feature of this Website is an educational and discussion oriented column designed to help the reader better understand ethical issues. The matters discussed in the letter are reviewed in a summary/abbreviated way and are only meant to foster thinking on the part of the reader. If a person decides to adopt or implement suggestions, they do so at their own risk. No representation or warranty is provided in relation to suggestions or the contents of the letter. Neither the authors of the letter, Franke James, John W. Burton, Rick Brandon, Marty Seldman, Arnie Herz or the owners of this Website accept any liability whatsoever for any opinions expressed in the letter or for errors and omissions. Submission of letters to the Office-Politics Forum grants the Publisher, Nerdheaven Ltd. the right to reproduce, republish, repurpose and excerpt the submission in any and all other media, without compensation or contacting the author. Copyright Nerdheaven Ltd. 2002-2005