Life Coach Magazine

Dealing With Disappointment At Work

By Gjosefsberg @gjosefsberg

DisappointmentThe last week was not a good week for me professionally.  It started by with some bad news about something I had hoped to achieve at work.  The details are confidential but needless to say, I was very disappointed.  I felt betrayed and alone, as though other people should have been there for me, should have warned me that this was happening.  I also felt angry, I felt like I didn’t get the support I needed so it wasn’t fair to criticize me now and hold me back from what I wanted.

I wanted to sulk and blame the world.  Actually, I wanted to run away and quit my job.  Luckily, I have a bit more common sense than that, plus a very intelligent wife who listened to my issues and presented me with some great advice.  Ultimately, I went and talked to my boss about this whole thing, although I did take some time to formulate my thoughts before I marched in there.

What I realized was my career is my responsibility.  As I’ve defined it before, responsibility is the willingness and the ability to take action and I’m the only who has both of those things when it comes to my work.  Should other people have helped me along the way?  Sure, and they would have if I had asked.  Should other people have supported me?  Sure, and they would have if I told them I needed it.

Ultimately, it seems like I made a few mistakes:

  • I tried to do everything myself – This is fine when you’re an individual contributor but not when you’re a manager.  A manager has to rely on his people to do the work and I didn’t do that.  If a problem arose, I went and solved it, instead of teaching my employees how to solve them.
  • I didn’t look far enough into the future – An employee needs to be concerned with executing immediate actions.  A manager needs to be concerned with formulating plans for the future and then letting his employees execute them in the present.  I was too backwards focused.  I was reacting to what had happened before instead of planning for what was going to happen.
  • I was too reluctant to ask for help – Instead of asking for help, I waited for it to be offered.  I didn’t even tell people I needed help but instead assumed they could see it for themselves.
  • I didn’t communicate well – Because I am the product expert, I entered many conversations with the mind set of “I’m right and you’re wrong.”  Even worse, when I would get into arguments I would try to “win” the argument instead of figuring out how it could be resolved.  I didn’t take the time to say “ok, how can we resolve this?  What data would help us figure this out?” because I was too busy arguing.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I was really disappointed with myself after this realization.  Here I am preaching all these lessons about good communication, planning and asking for help and I myself had completely ignored them, much to my detriment.  The truth is that we can all be less than objective when it comes to our own lives.  It’s easy to take a look at someone else and say “they’re being too argumentative” but it’s not so easy to do the same when looking in the mirror.  Luckily for me, my boss was more objective than I and pointed out some of these issues to me.

I say lucky and I really do mean that.  There are a few possible outcomes here:

  • My boss doesn’t pick up on this, promotes me and I fail miserably
  • My boss picks up on all this and fires me without telling me why
  • My boss picks up on all this and tells me about it

Choice number 3 is the best of all worlds and it is indeed what happened.  Through this choice I can now improve my manner of work.  I’m also lucky in that my boss is someone who gives second chances.  That is, if I truly improve, I’ll get everything I want and then some.  As I said, this is probably the best of all outcomes.  Am I disappointed?  Yes, but I do believe that this is for the best.  Now I just need to prove that I can change, and that I already know how to do.


What this shows me is the value of mentors and coaches.  Everyone has a coach, even olympic players who are considered the best in their game.  Why?  Because the presence of an objective observer is an excellent way to improve.  We just have to be willing to take their advice and not get too defensive.   Our first instinct is going to be “you don’t know what you’re talking about.  I’m already doing this and you’re missing out on some facts”, but by carefully listening to what they’re saying and then digging deep to see what they actually mean by their words, we can gain some incredible insights into ourselves.

I’m glad to be working for someone like that and I’m grateful for the learning opportunity.


And no, he doesn’t read this blog


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