shutterstock_163917194Recently, I wrote a post for MindBodyGreen, on 31 ways to “be the change” you wish to see in the world, that went viral.

Twelve thousand-odd shares later, after a wildly positive response, I got a tiny bit of negative feedback on one item: the idea that we should all acknowledge our part in workplace conflict, and strive to rectify it.

One reader wrote the following to me on Facebook: “This is all crap . . . Sorry, but when work is full of sharks and weak bosses who are lead by idiots; this cannot apply. You will be eaten alive.”

Now, I don’t take it personally when people write things like this, because it’s all part of the conversation I’m engaged in, and I like the conversation. Some negative comments actually get me thinking about issues that are front and center for my clients, and thus motivate me to help others to overcome challenges they’re facing, so it’s all good.

And true to form, this contribution to the conversation got me thinking about an insidious issue that many of my clients face in the workplace, which is revealed dramatically in the reader’s comment.

What is it?

It’s known as Victim Mentality.

If you believe that you have no control over your professional circumstances, you have a Victim Mentality.

If you believe that you are where you are in your career because others have screwed you, you have a Victim Mentality.

If you believe that any effort to change your environment will result in your being “eaten alive,” yep, you have a Victim Mentality.

And most importantly, if you believe that you have no way out of your current job, you have a Victim Mentality.

Now here’s the thing: I don’t judge. I used to have a Victim Mentality. I used to cling to it like a life preserver on a sinking ship. It was my best friend at work for years.

You know why? Because the thing about a Victim Mentality is that it absolves us from having to take responsibility for our own careers (and indeed our lives, in some cases), and therefore gives us a convenient excuse to DO NOTHING.

And it’s easy to absolve ourselves of guilt about doing nothing if we’re not in charge of where we find ourselves.

So here’s where I’m throwing in a little tough love, because I’ve been there. If any of this sounds familiar– and particularly if you’re in a job or a career that you hate, and you are choosing to do nothing to change things– I’ve got a question for you: do you LIKE suffering? (smile.)

Nope. I didn’t think so.

So here’s how to get over your Victim Mentality: look around you. Take stock of where you find yourself. And if you truly hate your job and believe that it is beyond saving, or that your work environment is so toxic as to be beyond redemption, START LOOKING FOR A NEW JOB.

Here’s a secret: the quickest way to overcome a Victim Mentality is to take action. (Tweet this!)

Because you can’t be a victim if you are propelling yourself toward something better. YOU are in control. And that mentality can’t survive when you are showing it evidence that you are not a victim, but an active participant in your career, job and life.

(And I’ll let you in on another secret: people who offload a Victim Mentality and instead adopt a proactive, positive approach to finding a new job are more likely than anyone to find one, especially in this economy, because they believe they can.)

I’ve got news for you: YOU are in charge of your life! So kick that Victim Mentality to the curb and get on with it. Bigger, better and brighter things await you, I promise.

Wishing you a great week.


PS. Are you ready to offload your Victim Mentality and start looking for a job you love? The Ultimate Job Seeker’s Toolkit is coming your way, just in time. Get on the pre-launch VIP list here, and you’ll get access to my FREE training video, The Three Keys to a Successful Job Search, right now.




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