Stop. Look. And listen.

I’d like to think that I’m a great mediator. Someone who can easily come in a negatively charged crowd and dissipate the tension. Someone who can get well along with a lot of people.

Who can blame me? Past experience showed just how comfortable I am in a sea of people, and my friends come from a wide variety of backgrounds. “I am culturally adept,” I proudly thought to myself. “You can put me in the company of anybody, and still get along well with them.”

My, was I wrong. 🙁

Yesterday, my colleague gave me a lash out. “You know, you’re very very difficult to work with,” she said in frustration as she threw up her hands. The problem rose from me putting my foot in my mouth and saying something I shouldn’t have. Basically, I nudged my nose in a business I shouldn’t be part of. Finally, the know-it-all in the organization is vindicted.

My apologies were futile. The damage was done.

Basically, my issue is that I was so used to working alone and reporting to the top brass in my organization in Taipei, that it made me inept in working with people who share the same position as I had. Hence, whereas I would flourish being given a responsibility and executing it with pizzazz and speed, I sucked at being a teamplayer. A deathwish for any worker in a huge organization.

The fault was mine.

The thing is, when given a responsibility, I would immediately execute without keeping my other colleagues in the loop. The reason ashamedly is that 1) I think that one is not as competent and thus doesn’t really have much to say about a certain issue, while 2) maybe it’s a territorial thing but I refuse to slow down just because the others are slow.

Alas, that is not how huge organizations work. If others are slower, then you wait. If others are incompetent, you still have to keep them in the loop albeit to cover your ass.

In the very end, I cannot be the maverick in the organization. Huge institutions cannot really afford to let the entrepreneural side of you flourish. Given that I was in a smaller team in Taipei, that was applauded. Here in a bigger arena, that entrepreneural spirit is jeered and discouraged, mainly because you have other people’s feelings/opinions that you need to keep in mind of.

Basically, I need to stop, look and listen.

When given a responsibility, I should take charge less and follow the consensus more. I have to wait for others and pay attention to how they think about the issue. I have to be more careful in just executing without consulting with my fellow colleagues even though my boss wants it done, and fast.

In other words, I need to play nice. Politics has now become the name of the game.

I’ve come to realize that I am not the best loved person in the world. There was a time where I mistakenly thought that I knew a lot of people and thus I was popular. Instead, as it turns out, I knew a lot of people and was a great polarizer of people who knew me.

They liked me — or they didn’t.

A few had nothing to say, but I am still unsure whether being a polarizer was a good thing. In a way, it showed that you had a personality and either people really loved me, or not liked me. In a way, given that I’ve carried on the motto of not really caring about what other people looked at me (they can love me or hate me but so long as I do my job right, then I’d be okay), distancing myself to people who don’t really like me and merely being with people who do works wonders for me.

When you knew as many people as I do, you realize quite early that it’s impossible trying to please everyone because in the end, you’d just end up being miserable yourself.

However, I didn’t really realize the extent on how some people disliked me. And when these people cut close to home, then you pay attention.

Anyway, I’ve already apologized for my misbehavior and my lack of team spirit. Complain all they want but spilled milk is irretrievable and it’s futile to bitch and moan about the past.

I’ve made a conscious decision to stop being gung-ho and uptight about things and first observe before leaping headlong to my death. Observe and listen more and shut up less.

This was day 1 and I think I had been quite successful. Of course you understand that this change must come slowly but I will definitely do it.

For example, my soury colleague who still finds me “difficult to work with,” (as it’s more difficult to change people’s impression once it’s set) didn’t even say goodbye when she left. Actually I have noticed her sourness of disposition over the last few weeks, so I guess that wasn’t entirely my fault. It’s not that easy for a person to change her perception. Sigh.

Nonetheless, who cares. Ta-di-da-di-daaaa….!

When my colleague wanted me to make the change, I happily did it in my own time and submitted it to them, keeping everyone in the loop. When they were trying to start some sort of conflict, I let the oil run off my back and just moved away.

The change will happen slowly but surely. Hope that my career at least can handle it.

So long though as more people like me than hate me, then am all set. So long as I perform to the best of my abilities, then it should be fine. If people are sour and unhappy about it, well, that’s not my problem but theirs.

But no, from this day forward, I will stop more. Look more. And listen more.

Wish me luck!

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