Peers, your boss, and others may ask you, “How’s It going?” Seems innocuous . . .unless you screw up the answer.
From a career angle perspective, you know, sometimes you run into people, sometimes you talk to your boss or your boss’s boss
and they’ll ask you that ever-popular question–“So, how’s it going?”
And the wrong answer is, “It’s going okay, I guess,” or something that’s anything other than positive.
Now, understand where they are coming from. This could be a peer. This could be your boss. This could be your boss’s boss. What they want to hear is positivity.
They don’t want to hear the truth because the world of work is not the place where you suddenly become “confessional,” where you start telling everyone the truth about every little teeny complaint you have in life.
You have to be a big girl or a big boy, suck it up, and give them what they want to hear because the impact of telling them the truth can be detrimental to your career. Is that really what you want? Of course, not.
You want to communicate in ways that are effective and serve you and your interests and being that person who says, it’s going okay, I guess,” doesn’t help you.
You think they’re going to sit down and say, “oh! Tell me all about it. We’re really concerned about you.”
NO! They kind of look puzzled and they feel as though, suddenly, they’re trapped and they have to ask the follow-up question, “Oh! What’s wrong? “They don’t want to hear this lengthy complaint. They don’t want to hear the truth.
I know you’re encouraged to be authentic at work but authenticity is for senior leadership. It’s not for most individuals there. Most individuals, when they are authentic, when they are truthful, it get punished in some way for it. It’s a sad truth. It is the reality.
If they ask you about your work and how it’s going, you say, “Well, I’ve done a lot of very constructive things to develop a mastery over what I do. You know, I feel really good about that. And I’m curious about next steps for me.”
That, at least, engages them in terms of the advancement opportunities as part of the conversation and you’ve also said, ” I’ve developed a degree of mastery over what I do . . . ” If true.
I want to be clear.
If you’re masterful at what you do, you say “I’ve developed a great mastery over what I do. I’m kind of thinking about what’s going to happen next for me. And you know, I’m looking forward to hearing what that’s going to be all about.”
Or, you know, “exploring what it’s going to be about,” or whatever it is.
You want to always talk from the positive vein, looking ahead in a positive way because, again, what do organizations not want? You know this.
They don’t want the truth about problems. They want them smoothed over.
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the
host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1300 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.
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