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Kids and Coworkers, Attitude is Everything.

I can remember the day when I learned I was going to become a father.  It was over seventeen years ago, but it really does seem like just yesterday.  The thought of being responsible for a new life, someone completely dependant upon me was overwhelming.  I remember driving down to the local K-Mart to pick up some house items, walking through the aisles in a daze of confusion.  Something caught my eye, and it brought everything into perspective (yeah, just like that).  A young couple, younger than me, pushing a stroller with a young toddler; meanwhile the young woman was pregnant (and very close to delivering).  They walked through the store like it was any ordinary day.  I knew from watching them for three minutes that I would be able to raise children as well.

Life became challenging right away, and hasn't gotten any easier since.  Each step along the way, I kept telling myself that it was going to get easier, but much to my chagrin, it has only become more involved, complicated, and just plain hard.  I love my children dearly, but they are tough on me no doubt.  I have finally figured out why life gets tougher and more involved, I just have know idea what to do with the information.

Raising a family in a way is very similar to organizational development in our occupations.  We are in the midst of separate and distinct personalities that vary in their dynamic level of self-centeredness.  Dynamic is putting it lightly, since people's lives can be so unpredictable that we never know what we will be stepping into when we are on our way to work.  Like moody teenagers whose fickle ways can be mind boggling, our coworkers, subordinates, and superiors have varying moods and reactions to events in the workplace.  In an earlier post (What Does Your Name tag Say About You) I mentioned the book Dealing With People You Can't Stand by Dr. Rick Brinkman and Dr. Rick Kirshner.

Just because most coworkers aren't always stereotypical icons illustrated in this book like the "Tank", "Sniper", "Know-it-All", etc. doesn't mean that the techniques taught in the Ricks' book can't help us adjust our attitudes.  This is the most important point that joins this analogy of raising kids to dealing with coworkers.  We need to succeed in matching our attitude to the environment that we find ourselves in.  Whether it is raising a new family, dealing with obnoxious self-centered teenagers, obnoxious self-centered coworkers, or bullying superiors, our attitude is what will govern our success.  It is easy to name stamp someone an A**hole and blame their actions and attitudes for our lack of success, but it is our lack of action in adjusting our attitudes that really is the root cause of our failures.

Find a buddy, vent to him or her about your challenges at work or at home, then get to work fixing the problem from within.  It may take years, especially at home, but if it was easy, it would have already been solved.  Feel better? We are all in this together, make the best of it.


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