Working Through Work

In Writing (all kinds) on January 5, 2017 at 9:00 PM

By Saad Zafar

It is quite an uncomfortable realization to learn that a significant number of one’s ex-colleagues thought of one as “difficult to work with” and “not a team player.” It hurts. It hurts a great deal especially when one has worked with those very same colleagues for years while under the impression that we’re all getting along fine.

What’s disturbing is when one finds this out after one’s gotten fired. Just the humiliation of it all. It wrecks your self-esteem and makes you wonder if there’s actually something wrong with you or whether it was just a case you simply not being the right fit for that company.

You see, when you really start pondering over it all, you start getting unhealthy thoughts that make you question whether you’re actually fit to work in any corporate environment. And it’s hard to remain level-headed under such circumstances because all your thoughts are coloured by the intense emotions that you’re experiencing. The same most interesting one (for me) being a sense of betrayal that I worked with dedication and loyalty for that organization for 5 years and this is the thanks I get.

The real purpose of any kind of self-analysis at this stage is to make sure that one learns from one’s past mistakes so as not to repeat them in the future. Yes, I was not team player because: (i) I have a natural preference for working on tasks alone, and (ii) I am a fairly shy person. And I don’t know how much of that I change.

And yes, I can understand why people perhaps deemed me difficult to work with because I don’t handle stress very well. When I get stressed, I’m really not myself. I become terse. And curt. And really downright rude. And that is all borne out of the fear of not doing a good enough job.

And in hindsight, it’s all the more ironic it is that fear of not being good enough and getting fired that actually got me fired. I see that as a major personality flaw that I can work on and actually really do need to work on. What work doesn’t involve stress? Maybe the trick to not stressing is to not care enough. But that seems counter-intuitive to me.

Maybe being able to work well without allowing stress to overwhelm you is just a skill that I need to learn. Kind of like learning how to drive. Or how to play tennis. But I think the most useful lesson I can learn that I am not a bad person. I just need to realize that there is room for improvement.

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