Stupid Career Mistakes: Read The Tea Leaves at Work |

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So many people ignore the obvious and then think they are the victim when they chose to ignore the teal leaves

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I've been coaching someone for not all that long and he just described a situation to me at work and I just want to hit them. I'll just simply say, "that's my stuff," because I've listened to this same story in different forms many many times. Here's what he's gone through. Him him him
He works for an organization. A new manager comes on. Now, this guy's reviews have all been extremely good. Everyone says positive things about him. New manager comes on. Starts hiring his own team of people from his last organization and this guy's just forced to hunker down. He's trying real hard.
It's kind of like in the restaurant business. You know, a new the owner is going to come in and suddenly the restaurant staff is in a frenzy. They are all trying to put on a good show for the owner who runs multiple restaurants and you pause for a second and go, "If you're worried about the restaurant, close."
Your performance on this one day, is it going to make a difference? The decision's already been made. Well, the same thing exists here. If, regardless of the person's performance, that decisions already been made. What he chose to do is hunker down and do a good job and not really focus on the relationship with his boss or with the fact that his boss was hiring people that he already knows.
So, I just want to point out to you some of the insanity that many of us do, and I know I've made this mistake myself. It's part of the reason I can recognize this and, you know, I learned my lesson years ago about this.
The first thing you have to do really is pay attention to your relationship with the boss. Even in an existing organization where there has been no change in your relationship with your manager is really pivotal because they dictate whether or not should get the plum assignments, whether you get support and moving up, moving ahead, things along those lines, If they are trying to hire from the outside,it is an indicator there that you don't really have a future here and, thus, it's time to start looking. at. So, always focus on your relationship with your manager.
Also think in terms of those, your manager does your managers manager think of you, as the expert experts often are seen as indispensable?
I always think in terms of what can you do to present yourself as "world class." Now the notion of being world class can't suddenly start when you feel threatened. You have to always think in terms of your organization and how you're perceived. How you're seen .
As a result, to not see yourself in that way, you're leaving yourself vulnerable or because if you don't see it, they sure don't.
Then, you have to ask yourself a question. The question really is, "why should we keep you?" What is it about your performance that makes you unique in the organization . . . and it's not just to simply say, "I'm a good worker, I'm always there on time. . . . and words to that effect. There are a lot of good employees out there who will also be there on time. What can you do that's special? What makes you world class and distinguishes you from others? If you can't answer that question, you are dispensable and it's no surprise that this individual who I coach suddenly finds himself on the outside.
And, really the only thing that you can do at a time like this is start hunkering down. And then go to your boss and say, "I've got to apologize to you. I've been off my game for a little while. But if you haven't noticed, I feel like a back again, and giving you the kind of effort and results that you've been expecting. I apologize for this period of time. I've had some struggles outside of work, and I took it out in the workplace. But, at the end of the day, I just want you to know I'm back and I hope I could resolve these things."
Back to the initial thing about reading the tea leaves at work, you have to notice how you're being seen. You have to notice what's going on around you. All you can really do is your best. And once you start to notice that these things are going on around you, you have to be out there networking to try and find alternative situations where you're appreciated.
Again, someone I coached recently works for a small firm in the city I live in, and he's been frustrated at work. He's tried working hard, it hasn't really worked and you start to reach out to people who've already left this firm and got to someone who has already found a position, introduced him for a role and he starts in a week.
Remember, statistically, your network is always going to be the place where you're going to get the results. It may not be directly from them, and that they may not be the ones who hire you, but they may introduce you to someone who will be the one who hires you. So I just want to remind you to pay attention to the signals around and, yes, you want to be putting in great work but don't ignore what's going on and ensure . . .
The classic example is the person who eats at their desk. They never go out to lunch. They never talk to people in other departments. They never talk to people outside the organization. As a result, when they're suddenly let go in situations like I outlined, they're completely unprepared. There's no resume. No up to date LinkedIn profile. No network in place to help.
You don't want to be caught short like this. You've got to pay attention to all the tea leaves at work and all the signals that are going in and take action to protect your interest. After all, you're the Chairman of the Board of your organization. You have shareholders--Your wife, husband, partner. Kids whomever, you are a corporate entity in and of yourself and you have to protect your show shareholders.


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. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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