Cheerful and Delightful

My boss wants me to be more positive. He said I didn’t need to be Polyanna sunshine because he appreciates my authenticity, but I need to be more positive to be more professional.  I acknowledge that I see the negative in things and I tend to bring them up in an effort to initiate change. And the day before he brought this up, I realized myself that I was being too negative. So I accepted this request.

After three days of keeping my mouth shut in an effort not to verbalize the negative thoughts in my mind, he asked me if I was OK. I said of course. When my husband asked me what was new at work and I said nothing in an attempt to not be negative, he said that me keeping my mouth shut was not me being positive. I agreed and said I wasn’t at a positive place yet, but not verbalizing the negative should count as a step in the right direction. The hard thing is that I feel like me true self, the one I miss from my twenties, would verbalize the negative and not give a damn.

So after a couple of weeks, I feel like I have improved, but now my boss want positivity as one of my goals that goes towards my performance review. This doesn’t seem right to me. I can work on not making negative comments, but why should I be evaluated (let’s face it – judged) on if I’m more positive. I told him that he needs to write down how to measure that goal so we both agree on what success is at the end of the year.  And then he assigned me to a task, which I believe was intentionally designed to challenge my positivity and might even set me up for failure. He wants me to work with someone who he knows pushes my buttons (and a lot of other people too). I talked with a manager in a different department to see if I was over thinking things, but she validated my thoughts and concerns. I feel compelled to point out that no one else at work has ever said anything to me about my demeanor or professionalism. In fact, many people come to me with questions and problems, and in confidence.

What’s even more frustrating is that my boss isn’t a bad guy, and we usually get along well enough. I know why he wants me more positive – because that is something he is working on himself. But I have to say that his life seems a lot more charmed and easy than mine. And in truth, he might just be a happier person then I am. So I am trying to keep this all in perspective and just see it as part of my job.

I never was known as the life of the party. Even in high school and college, I was the quiet, calm, reflective one who pointed out the injustices of the world. What’s wrong with that? There are different types of people in the world and they should all be valued for what they contribute. Most of the people I work with know that and appreciate it.

If I’m on a quest to recapture my true self in attempt to be more happy, does that mean that my true self should be a happier self, or that I will be more accepting to the fact that my true self is a little negative? If I’m happy being negative, is that wrong? Is being positive, being happier? Maybe I’m not looking for happy, maybe I’m looking for content.

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