Who you work with is important

You are the average of the five person you hang out with the most. The truth cannot be any further than that. It applies also to your professional life.

As humans, most of us want to conform to our social group and not be left out. To conform, we instinctively pick up on behaviours, the habits and mindset of the social group we are in. And it didn’t matter if it’s bad behaviour, habits or mindset.

For me, I had this sudden realisation that I’ve been affected by what my colleagues are doing and it’s actually quite damaging to my professional and personal development.

Majority of my colleagues are married. So their primarily focus is their family, kids especially. Therefore, they aren’t the kind who wants to put in so much hours at work or to deal with a fast paced environment. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Family is important. Spending the time to ensure your kids knows a loving environment is important.

As a highly-sensitive person who is also very introverted, I don’t like a high-stress or high pressure work environment too. I tend to take things slow and I don’t do well with toxic work environment either.

But I also want interesting challenges to solve. Who likes to go to office, sit there and do the same thing over and over again?

Yet, I realised my drive and desire to do good work has disappeared. A quick audit of my professional life has shown me that I allowed myself to behave like some of my colleagues. Pushing away work that’s not mine to deal with. Rushing home on time when there’s obviously nothing for me to do at home. And even join in a little bit of office politics for the wrong reason. So how is doing all that good for you? Best part is, I’m complaining about my work load. In the past, I don’t. I actually don’t mind challenging programming problems to solve.

In hindsight, there’s a difference between assertive with what you need and being plain mediocre with the things you do. Don’t confuse the two like I do.

And you know what? My audit also show me the biggest influencer on my recent attitude was the one I have to work with over the past year. Her bad attitude towards work has rubbed off on me. Lack of ownership is the biggest problem she has. While I had to go onsite to solve issues, sometimes caused by her failure to do a good job, she always try to find ways to push it away when it’s her time to go to work site. Initially, I turned a blind eye because I didn’t want to offend her since we had to work together on many things. My team lead had talked to me and her on separate occasions about her work quality too. However, there was nothing either one of us can do.

But recently, I had to confront her about why the stuff she does never quite seem to work correctly when you need it the most. I had done it in poor taste, as is typical of me. So it’s natural she took offence and now pretended that I don’t exists anymore. Yet, for some strange reason, I found it quite liberating. It’s like I have confronted what influenced me to do badly and I could finally move on with life.

And nope, I’m not going to apologise. I just have to deal with the aftermath.

With this, I hope you can see that it’s important for one to audit what’s going on with their work life and how are the little things affecting you. Being self-aware and conscious of your surroundings is very important. Less you find yourself sucked into a hole of negativity that you can’t climb out of.

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