Q&A: How Do I Keep a Job?

Q: All the job I had, I ran into troubles and then quit. I take them all seriously, doing everything to the best of my abilities. I don’t talk much, but I focus on work at hand. Still, people like co-workers and the bosses give me a hard time. Also, when I do something I do it perfect. This might be a problem with efficiency? So what kind of mindset/attitude do I need to keep afloat in any job?

A: Kudos to you Leslie, for wanting to improve your longevity on your future job(s). You are absolutely right, it’s all about your mindset. Working to the best of your abilities, striving for perfection, and focusing on the job at hand all speak to your work ethic. Because you already have these in place, I wouldn’t think that efficiency (or lack thereof) is your challenge. You mentioned troubles with co-workers and bosses giving you a hard time. Is it usually others in the workplace that cause you to want to terminate your employment? Perhaps your interpersonal skills and/or a few other of your soft skills need some work.

Interpersonal skills have to do with your ability to find common ground with others, to have empathy, and to build trust and ultimately good relationships. The article “Ten Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Skills” published online by Kent State University, offers several methods for bettering how you relate to others. These include smiling and laughing with others, being verbally positive and encouraging, practicing active listening when communicating, searching for effective ways to resolve conflicts, and seeing yourself as a member of a team all working together to accomplish a goal. The article also emphasizes the importance of trying to see things from other people’s side and not just your own and eliminating complaining form your everyday conversation.

The soft skills that you may want to concentrate on include:

* Self-awareness (which has to do with knowing and understanding what drives, angers, motivates, embarrasses, frustrates, and inspires you)

* Emotion regulation (being able to manage your feelings and emotions at work, e.g. anger, frustration, embarrassment), Stress management (being able to remain calm and balanced in challenging situations)

* Resilience (being able to bounce back after a disappointment or set back, big or small, and continue to move onward and upward)

* “Forgive and forget” (allowing people and yourself to make mistakes and being able to forgive and move on)

* Persistence and perseverance (maintaining the same energy and dedication despite difficulties, failures, and oppositions)

* Patience

* Teamwork skills (being able to work effectively with anyone with different skill sets, personalities, work styles, or motivation level to achieve a better team result)

* Dealing with Difficult Personalities (being able to still achieve the work result needed while working with someone whom you find difficult.)

The first step to any growing in any of these areas is self observation. Take sometime to think about who you are and how you do things. How do you currently handle situations where you feel you’ve been wronged? How do you handle embarrassment? frustration? disappointments? Do you shut down? Do you become quiet? Are you easily angered? Do you become loud or aggressive? Are you easily irritated?

Once you begin to think about who you are, how you think and behave, and what motivates you positively or negatively, it may be a good idea to begin journaling. Explore alternative thoughts and actions and begin to put these in practice. Read articles that deal with improving the characteristics you believe most need development in your life. Lastly, don’t be afraid to seek the assistance of a professional job coach, life coach, or therapist if that becomes necessary.

Here are some articles to get you started.

Best wishes for lengthy employment!

Stress management:

Self Awareness:

Emotion Regulation


Interpersonal Skills

Soft Skills


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