You just hired me, so why are you trying to change me? I’m assuming you brought me into the door because you knew I could do the job, so why is it that you’re trying so hard to make me conform? Why is it that you’re doing your best to make me be someone I’m not? If I had known this, I would NOT have accepted this job.
Your employees shouldn’t be thinking these thoughts. It’s not healthy and it’s counterproductive. But this is the dilemma that we face in our professional lives. At some point, we have to make the tough choice. Can we hold on to who we are and still lead a successful and meaningful life? Or do we need to conform to our organization’s culture, or to the wishes of you boss? Do we need to be constantly on, do we need to “show up well” in every meeting in every situation?
There comes a time in your professional career when the eyes are upon you. And you have to make a legitimate decision about where you want to go. Do you want to “conform” and give up part of your self to be viewed as a player? Or are you more interested in staying true to yourself and potentially being viewed as disengaged, a bad hire, or not competent?
These are conversations that happen every year in corporate America. There’s the internal struggle that plays out, and then there’s the conversations that take place behind closed doors. This is where people start questioning your commitment. It’s where decisions get made based on how well you “acclimate” to the corporate culture.
You were hired because you are smart and qualified, but if you want to stick around you may need to learn how to play the game. For many of us, this is how we get stuck in the middle. We don’t fully commit to one way or the other. We refuse to fully conform, but we’re not ready or we are afraid to try something new. The simple decision is do I change how I work, or do I change where and with whom I work?
Make a decision on what you are going to do and don’t let it linger. If you do, the longer you wait … the longer you will remain stuck in the middle.