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Advice at work: don’t let people know you’re happy

April 28, 2013

One essential truth of working in any environment is you have to be paid to get along with these people you’d never have in your home. Sometimes friendships develop, but most of the time, as career change people just strip away from each other like glaciers and drift away in the currents of their next ambition. You don’t miss them, they don’t miss you. The more cunning and ambitious, keep business cards and develop professional relationship that enrich each other, but there’s never an emotional connection, and usually when everyone is on equal footing deals are made, but if one or the other is in a position above the other person, they don’t help them. Why? because they were never friends. And in the slurry of office politics everything gets confused.

So why not let people at work know you’re happy. Well, for one simple reason: most people hate their jobs. They hate seeing anyone who has accepted their choices in life and has come to terms with the simple responsibilities, as well as a quiet acceptance that the money they earn at work enables them to enjoy their life at quitting time. And the more they learn about your personal life, the more your job is in danger. Example? Let’s say you’re a rabid San Francisco Giants fan but live and work in the east coast. Then when you’re not at work on game day because you called in sick, a couple of your co-workers will raise their eyebrows and say, “You know why Bill is sick–the Giants are playing in town tonight.”

If you’re cheerful and upbeat about work and life, the disgruntled will try to make your job more unpleasant. They’re not happy with their life, so why should you be happy. Most of these people have no other social connection with others unless they’re at work. Few of them have an active social life. Again, a source of resentment. By giving you more work, they can deprive you of getting to your weekly softball game, or a dinner with friends, etc.

The best way to prevent the disgruntled from making your job difficult is to never let them know you’re happy with your life. Then they’ll leave you alone. If you come into work with a tan and one says, “So looks like you got out and went to the beach.” You say, “I wish I could, but I had work on the roof.” Make up anything, your car broke down, you had to take a relative you didn’t like to the hospital, your spouse insisted you accompany them to an event you hated. Afterr all, if they knew what you were really doing they’d be your friends, not a bitter co-worker.

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