I remember a few years ago I had a very sour experience with someone who thought I owed them a great deal of gratitude and credit. The story is really twisted but I remember being on the phone listening to this person spew negative on me for about 15 minutes.
The spew was unfounded and I wondered if this person should have been on medication for some personality disorder.
There was no reason to continue a relationship and so I haven’t tried to reach out to make amends and try and move forward.
The truth is, I’ve had enough of my own issues since I started my own company. I deal with a lot of things and think about a circus performer who has a lot of plates spinning in the air – I’m responsible for making sure those plates stay spinning, which is a lot of work!
I really can’t take the time it requires to work on bad relationships, especially if the other person has no intention of helping make it better.
As a job seeker you have a lot of plates spinning, too. I know you’ll run into a lot of negative stuff. You have to determine if it is constructive criticism that you should learn from, and shape your future actions, or if it just negative spew that you should ignore. Not easy to differentiate, sometimes, especially when emotions are hot, but figure this out and then you have two options:
- Change. If the criticism has hints of truth, or truck-loads of truth, figure out how it can make you a better person. I know it’s not fun to get criticism but separate the emotions and denial from the opportunity to become better. It doesn’t mean you have to like the person, or be BFFs again, but you shouldn’t run away from the opportunity to improve.
- Ignore. If it was just plain hurtful and not constructive or without reason, move on. Move away. Don’t email, call or communicate with the person anymore. There are other people out there and you shouldn’t surround yourself with all the junk, especially in a time that is so trying and emotional for you (aka, the job search).
I remember another time I was in a situation with someone working on a project that was just not going well. In the end, things had soured considerably. I remember being criticized for a number of things I thought were not justified and I sat there thinking how rotten it was to be on that end of the table. It reminded me of being in a hostile work environment… there was a huge difference, though:
In the hostile work environment I was somewhat trapped. I know you are never really trapped, but they had control over a lot of things I liked (salary, benefits, etc.).
In the other project I was not beholden to the other person at all.
I was pushed out of my job environment, but I voluntarily walked away from the other project (at the right time).
Both situations were liberating. The lesson I learned was this: when you are on your own you do not have to sit and take it like you may have it you were dealing with an employer.
Move on, don’t look back, and make forward progress! You deserve it!