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Is keeping yourself to yourself at work a bad thing?


Itchy

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I only talk to less than a quarter of the people in my work place on a regular basis, I tend to ignore people, I don't socialise with a majority of my colleagues inside or outside the work place, I don't attend any work parties that are arranged by senior management, the senior management tend to be ignored by me unless they speak to me about work related matters. I have developed a reputation for being a hard worker who is considered unfriendly, unapproachable and anti-social by some of my peers according to one of my supervisors. We have worked together for seven years and he says the change in me has been large, I've gone from being a happy, friendly worker who would socialise with everyone to being closed off. This is true, but I don't like my job, I'm just there to earn money and I have no interest in being embroiled in work based politics or back passage kissing contests. I just want to come in, work hard and then go home. I don't see what's wrong with that? Sure it doesn't fit in with the organisational culture of the work place, but I fail to see why this is a problem. I speak when I am spoken to and that's all there is to it.

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For me, I found out it's much easier if I am good with people at my work (since what I do is dependand of what other people do) and so I'd be first to get things I needed etc.

 

Another thing is, you will spend 1/3 of your life at that place for the next xy years , so it wouldnt be bad to make that place comfordable for you.

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You should listen to your supervisor.

He/she isn't simply passing on an opinion, he/she is suggesting you make a change for the better.

 

To be unapproachable, unfriendly etc is not a good quality to have in a work Place. It has a knock on effect to other staff and General mood in the workplace.

In my work, I had a colleague, who yes was good at her job but her manner created a terrible atmosphere.

 

When there was an option for someone in the workplace to go on secondment for a year, my boss strongly encouraged her. Just to get her out for a while. Luckily for is, that secondment led her to getting a job elsewhere.

 

The minute she left, work became a much brighter environment.

 

My boss didn't care that she was a hard worker, he cared about the effect her bad attitude brought to everyone else. So many people in my workplace have shone since.

 

If you don't like your job , leave it.

 

But don't make it a place that no one can like.

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Billie you raise some valid points, but I fail to see how me keeping myself to myself, causing nobody else problems is creating a negative atmosphere. When I go to a shopping centre (shopping mall), I walk around minding my own business, does that mean I am creating an unpleasant shopping experience for other shoppers? My reserved nature and my attitude of just working hard to get the job done shouldn't be adversely affecting anyone else and if it is then those people need to get a grip and focus less on me (a non-entity) and focus on doing a better job because there's a lot of people in the work place who could improve on their productivity levels. I will take on board your points and perhaps do I need to start integrating myself better into the organisational culture, but I do wish to say that from my own experience "loose lips sink ships".

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I feel like that about my job but because you have to spend so much time there I pretend to be happy and helpful just to get along. I find it a much easier place to work if I have that attitude.

My boss is the kind of person who blames me for things that are not my fault and when he's in a bad mood he takes it out on me. So I feel resentful underneath. However they hold all of the power so you have to comply to some extent or you make the situation worse

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Billie you raise some valid points, but I fail to see how me keeping myself to myself, causing nobody else problems is creating a negative atmosphere. When I go to a shopping centre (shopping mall), I walk around minding my own business, does that mean I am creating an unpleasant shopping experience for other shoppers? My reserved nature and my attitude of just working hard to get the job done shouldn't be adversely affecting anyone else and if it is then those people need to get a grip and focus less on me (a non-entity) and focus on doing a better job because there's a lot of people in the work place who could improve on their productivity levels. I will take on board your points and perhaps do I need to start integrating myself better into the organisational culture, but I do wish to say that from my own experience "loose lips sink ships".

 

You would be surprised at how much of an impact you have on other people, without even trying. You are part of your environment, whether you like that idea or not.

 

I used to be a lot like you when I was in my 20s. I kept very much to myself at work. I thought, "If I do a good job, there's nothing anyone can say." Somehow that's not true. People just aren't rational like that.

 

What's really happening here is you are imposing your own standards on other people. You think that your way of thinking is the right way, but it's really just your standard. Other people have their own standards. Some people think it's more important to develop relationships with other people than it is to get work done. Those people are still getting paid just like you are. There's room for everybody. Nobody has to conform to anyone else's standard.

 

Where it makes a difference is in respect. Everybody can get along if they respect each other as valid. I think your boss is trying to tell you that you are starting to seem disrespectful.

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Keeping to yourself is not a bad thing, but being "unfriendly" and "unapproachable" is. Clearly that seem to be the impression you're giving to people. We aren't there to witness how you interact with people but perhaps it's good to rethink your attitude during these interactions. I know people at my previous and current job that keep to themselves a bit more than others, I didn't and don't find them unapproachable because they are always friendly (with good eye contact and smiling) when I talk to them even if they didn't initiate the conversation, they don't ignore me if we're in the kitchen at the same time or if we walk past each other or are in the lift together, it's called having basic social skills. Failure to acknowledge colleagues' and senior management's existence by ignoring them (I'm taking this literally) will no doubt come across as unfriendly and unapproachable. It doesn't have to be lengthy chats or being buddies with each other, but at least a "hey xyz, how's your day" shows basic respect for your fellow colleagues and bosses.

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I guess a lot depends on how much personal interaction your job requires. I've learned over the years that engaging with work colleagues even outside my tasks makes for a better work environment, not to mention that being genuinely friendly (as opposed to manipulative tactics) makes people more likely to help you out when you need their support or when things need to be done on short notice. Being a grumpy loner is bound to make a job you hate even worse in the long run.

 

And unless you're a manager on any level, I wouldn't even bother with assessing the productivity for others, as long as they get the job done.

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Also to add, if you don't like the job or the office culture, it's time to look for another job.

 

I will also add that I didn't really like my last job for about half the time I was there, the only thing that kept me going was the people, I got along with most of them and talking and have a laugh with them made the days go faster and the job more tolerable.

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Billie you raise some valid points, but I fail to see how me keeping myself to myself, causing nobody else problems is creating a negative atmosphere. When I go to a shopping centre (shopping mall), I walk around minding my own business, does that mean I am creating an unpleasant shopping experience for other shoppers? My reserved nature and my attitude of just working hard to get the job done shouldn't be adversely affecting anyone else and if it is then those people need to get a grip and focus less on me (a non-entity) and focus on doing a better job because there's a lot of people in the work place who could improve on their productivity levels. I will take on board your points and perhaps do I need to start integrating myself better into the organisational culture, but I do wish to say that from my own experience "loose lips sink ships".

 

For you to compare a shopping trip to the workplace, is a misunderstanding of your role. You are in your job 7 years. You might not be in a senior position yet newbies look up to you all the same. You actually have a duty in your role to junior staff. And how you conduct yourself in the workplace has significant impact.

There are many that look up to you. Yet can't approach you. When you started work there, did you look up to anyone? Seek advice or help?

If you got where you are without help, then good on you. But some need your input to get where you are and you are not helping.

Just because you are unhappy with your job doesn't mean another wouldn't love to be in your position.

 

I am not a senior in my workplace but I help and train junior staff.

I don't get monetary benefit I get personal benefit.

 

You are not irreplaceable , neither am I.

 

Being a hard worker is only a small part of your role. Helping others achieve their goals, being someone to look up to, imparting your knowledge etc is what makes a boss appreciate you.

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There's a difference between making friends at work and being personable. You should absolutely strive to conform to the latter .

 

This.

 

I don't have work friends. In fact, i have taken the time to block every coworker who gets to know me on Facebook because I dont want them looking me up and requesting me. They are all friends on Facebook and that's not something I'd want to do. I also don't go to baby showers, parties, etc.

 

But you know what, I'm personable and friendly. Friendly doesn't mean having friends. It means smiling and making the occasional small talk. That's all.

 

I have a good reputation at work. I want to be seen as approachable if people have questions. I want to be seen as helpful. Again I don't have work friends or anything like that and these people don't know much about me.

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I agree that there's a big difference between keeping to yourself and being personable. Try to think of others as well. I am sure some of the people you work with don't like their jobs either. But there's research that shows there are several dimensions to job satsifaction:

 

1. The job itself ... So I like the work?

2. Extrinsic benefits ... Pay, vacation time, work space ...

3. Opportunities ...Can I grow in this job, can I have autonomy ...

4. Work culture ... So I like the people I work with? Can I get along with my co workers? ...

 

Some people will rate some things higher than others. But the bottom line is that you ARE a part of the culture. And if your closed off behavior is so noticeable that your boss mentions it to you, be warned that people are probably saying this about you because you are ... Even in a very small way ... Negatively impacting their experience being at work. I don't think you are irreplaceable; few of us are. And it just takes ruffling the wrong feathers, or just not being likable enough, to be the first person on the chopping block if downsizing happens.

 

Bottom line. You don't need to go to parties but you should make an effort to be more personable. Think of it as assisting with job security.

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Itchy.

 

Why did this happen? The personality change......

 

"and he says the change in me has been large, I've gone from being a happy, friendly worker who would socialise with everyone to being closed off.

 

You once rekarked, Itchy:

 

"I am not the most socially competent person, so I do have problems deciphering what someone's body language or actions mean."

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Thanks for the responses. There are some eye-opening posts here that have given me a different perspective about my job role.

 

I would like to address a few points:

 

Firstly, I never have said I am irreplaceable in the work place, I know there are people who can do the job as well as I do and people who can do a much better job. Secondly, I do speak to some people and I am always willing to cooperate with others and offer help where necessary, I don't see what that has to do with being sociable with others, but it's something I'll look at changing.

 

Secondly, if people are influenced by my behaviour then that's a sad indictment of them and they should probably grow a thicker skin, however I'll look at my own behaviour and ring fence some changes and will try my best to be more "approachable" and more "friendly".

 

Thirdly, why has my personality changed? I have no idea, I don't really analyse myself in great detail, all I can say is that I've matured, I've mellowed out, I'm more laid back, I have more life experience and I dare say I am more reserved than I used to be. I would imagine that we all change as we go through life.

 

Do I hate my job and does this influence how I am at work? Hate is a strong word, I don't believe I hate my job, but I see my job as a means to an end and I'll confess I don't like the managerial decisions that have been made over the last four years that have impacted on my role and have affected my perception of the job. If my employer disrespects me continuously then why should I want to be apart of the organisational culture? But I'll try and bury my discord and will make more of an effort to fit in with organisational culture.

 

As for being the first on the chopping block? I couldn't care less.

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Is keeping yourself to yourself at work a bad thing?

 

No and yes. While minding your own business is smart, coming off as hostile and unapproachable is not.

 

Think of it on a scale, and find a balance between hyper-social and anti-social. You'll land somewhere in the semi-social range, where you can keep your private business to yourself but still greet people, meet their gaze in passing and offer a smile and a quiet hello, offer help where needed, raise ideas for workflow improvements that will make your job easier or solve a problem that is apparent to you, and be kind to people.

 

There's a difference between being private versus carrying a chip of hostility that makes it difficult to work with you. You've already been spoken to by management, so while defending your position to continue the behavior might make you feel justified, it won't save your job.

 

You don't need to play mayor or attend social functions or join in gossip in order to be kind and respectful to a work culture that exists in any job. Nobody 'owes' us a love for our work, we either create that ourselves with our own mental carrots, or we need to go find work that is suitable for us. Otherwise, any misery we demo through our behavior is on us, and we're creating a problem for others by harming morale.

 

We don't have the 'right' to bring hostility into work--it's like spraying toxic pain on the walls, and other people DO respond to that. So decide whether or not you want to keep your job. If not, the decision to find another one can make you cheerful until you depart.

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Secondly, if people are influenced by my behaviour then that's a sad indictment of them and they should probably grow a thicker skin

 

I find this an interesting this for you to say, as you've posted things like this within the last few days, on other threads:

 

if he's anything like me he's spent most of his life single, has been rejected and hurt more times than he cares to remember and he has learnt to become independent by detaching himself from his emotions and feelings

 

take it from somebody that has never been in love and has conditioned himself to fight against it.

 

You don't exactly seem to have the thickest skin yourself. Why should the thin skin of others be so deplorable?

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I find this an interesting this for you to say, as you've posted things like this within the last few days, on other threads:

 

 

 

 

 

You don't exactly seem to have the thickest skin yourself. Why should the thin skin of others be so deplorable?

 

I wasn't' going address this topic again, but since you've replied with this, I'll bite.

 

I'm not sure why you're bringing those quotations into this discussion, especially when they have nothing to do with the topic of this thread? You're basically slinging mud aren't you? Now if I did this I suspect I'd be getting infraction points from the administrator for flaming or disrespecting others.

 

I have a thick skin believe it or not, there really isn't much that affects me.

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I wasn't' going address this topic again, but since you've replied with this, I'll bite.

 

I'm not sure why you're bringing those quotations into this discussion, especially when they have nothing to do with the topic of this thread? You're basically slinging mud aren't you? Now if I did this I suspect I'd be getting infraction points from the administrator for flaming or disrespecting others.

 

I have a thick skin believe it or not, there really isn't much that affects me.

 

I'm sorry to have offended you. It seemed relevant to me.

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I'm sorry to have offended you. It seemed relevant to me.

 

It's hard to tell whether someone is being genuine or if they are deliberately trying to ruffle someone's feathers. I'm not offended, I just don't expect people to use sensitive information I have posted about me as a form of ammunition.

 

Why does it seem relevant to you? Me going about my day is not the same thing as the two things you posted and I fail to see how they are comparable? I also find it remarkable how a forum with "intelligent" people can come to so many wild conclusions about things I haven't said, the main one seeming to be that I have some how said I am irreplaceable. I never said I was or suggested I was and yet it's an baseless accusation that has been levelled at me.

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I just don't expect people to use sensitive information I have posted about me as a form of ammunition.

 

I didn't use it as ammunition, and I didn't expect you to see it that way.

 

Why does it seem relevant to you? Me going about my day is not the same thing as the two things you posted and I fail to see how they are comparable? I also find it remarkable how a forum with "intelligent" people can come to so many wild conclusions about things I haven't said, the main one seeming to be that I have some how said I am irreplaceable. I never said I was or suggested I was and yet it's an baseless accusation that has been levelled at me.

 

I can't help you there. It seemed similar to me. I must apologize again for my wild imagination.

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I can't help you there. It seemed similar to me. I must apologize again for my wild imagination.

 

I fail to see how it is similar. You're comparing apples and oranges. I fail to see how continuing about my day not harming a single soul and despite not being the most sociable of people at work (for good reason) I do talk to some people, I do help train up new people on my department, I do acknowledge some people and everyone and I have accepted that I need to improve, become more fake, just so I don't hurt and upset non-entities to me in the work place and me having to deal with a lot of personal issues in my life are the same thing or similar things. Maybe I'm being obtuse and there is actually a correlation there.

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"Secondly, if people are influenced by my behaviour then that's a sad indictment of them and they should probably grow a thicker skin, however I'll look at my own behaviour and ring fence some changes and will try my best to be more "approachable" and more "friendly". "

 

I think approachable and friendly -in a professional context -is essential in most work places - and people who notice you for being the opposite are being perfectly reasonable IMO.

 

Having been on the hiring end and the job-searching end (the latter is true right now), the number one resource for getting hired in a job you want is knowing people in your professional network who are inspired to help you. Some might be inspired just by your job-related skills and your smarts but most will not put in the effort to be a reference for you, or match you with a potential employer or lead unless they've also found you personable and approachable. For one thing, that tends to mean that you would return the favor.

 

Almost 100% of my interviews and job leads over the last year came from former colleagues or people in my former career who I met socially and "bonded" with in part because of our professional commonalities. Very few came from "cold" sources.

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