Keeping up appearances: Keep negativity in check

Published May 11th, 2016 - 11:42 GMT
Job seeking opportunities must be built on positive experiences rather than by badmouthing. (File photo)
Job seeking opportunities must be built on positive experiences rather than by badmouthing. (File photo)

Are you happy at, and with, your job? You know the answer and so do your supervisor and immediate coworkers.

But not everyone else, including potential employers, are aware of your performance, abilities and overall satisfaction with the job circumstances. Many of these business contacts, distant coworkers and potential references will be getting their information from you.

When you think about how much your perception and statements about yourself and the job impact how others think of you as a potential hire, it is necessary to keep negativity in check. In fact, many people who go through tough times at work begin to overlook their own accomplishments and downplay the positive aspects of the job in a bid to make a point against the employer.

While they may succeed in scoring a point, they bring themselves down as well. Especially in job interviews, if you’re being considered, it is for what you are currently doing in addition to your past experience. If you downplay your accomplishments or badmouth the employer, you are simply shooting yourself in the foot.

So what is the alternative? See and present the silver lining story. If job hunting, your current situation is temporary; so replace bitterness with promise and potential.

Here are a few points to emphasise when you talk with others about the work situation, even if it is unsatisfactory.


Look objectively at the current position and find at least three opportunities that your job has offered. These could be a learning experiences, training or even dealing with difficulties. Regardless, make sure you appreciate the opportunities and be willing to bring them to the forefront when talking with others.

Your recognition of these opportunities should balance the downsides, and help you present a complete picture of your experience. Your focus on the good aspects also shows that an ability to capitalise on the situation and turn it around.

In fact, in scenarios such as job interviews, you should not even consider bringing up the negative aspects. If asked about the reason for changing jobs, you can have a scripted answer that simply state what you are looking for in the next job rather than what you will be leaving behind.

Potential employers — especially if they are competitors — may poke to get the dirt, so don’t fall in the trap of badmouthing your employer.

Image of success

Keep a smile on your face, exude joy and positive vibes and don’t engage in office gossips and cheap shots. If you have made up your mind to move on, keep up a positive outlook until the last day. Remember your coworkers, supervisors, business contacts, clients and others are not going to vanish from your life once your walk out of the building.

In many industries, people cycle through the same venues, companies, events, etc.

Down the road, you may work with some former coworkers in different capacities. You may need to collaborate with them as business contacts, or you may even cross paths again where they are in a position to hire you again — or not. So the golden rule is: Don’t burn bridges.

Stay confident and successful, even if you’re moving. Don’t give in to pressures to divulge confidential or insider information to others within your company or outside. If you do, you are sabotaging your image and others perception of your trustworthiness and integrity.

Make statements

Just like your state your accomplishments in covering letters and resume, make positive statements about your work and accomplishments to others. Without bragging, incorporate your successes in daily conversations. For example, mention how a project was completed within a defined time frame.

Talk about experiences in a certain technical area that has helped you avoid delays or bring about more efficiency. Highlighting small, daily wins to yourself and others will help you appreciate your success and help others appreciate your work — both will help you when looking for a new job.

In the process, you will maintain your image as a valuable employee. So if your job-hunting process drags longer than expected, the time spent with your current employer is more tolerable and less stressful for you and others.

By Rania Oteify

© Al Nisr Publishing LLC 2019. All rights reserved.

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