One day, my coworker pulled me aside for a private conversation. What she said caught me completely off guard. Things began so innocently — she started out by asking a few questions about my performance review and, without giving details, I told her that everything went well. After a little more probing, the bomb was dropped. A few coworkers, including herself, believed that I had received a positive performance review because I was the manager’s favorite. *Sigh*
They all believed their negative reviews were created as part of our manager’s master plan to promote me as the next manager. By having the better review, it would position me as the most qualified candidate for the promotion. This was the first I’d ever heard of any such plan, and I didn’t believe it to be a legitimate story.
You see, our manager had put in a resignation with a lengthy notice time and a promise to help find her replacement. I was only six months into the position and knew my chances were slim in taking her position. So this “plan” seemed beyond ridiculous.
The worst part about it is that I now felt this dark cloud hanging over me knowing the office was talking behind my back.
I couldn’t help but think my coworkers hated me, and that’s when I developed a serious case of impostor syndrome. Was I really a value to the company or a corporate pawn? How did I end up being the center of office gossip? I was torn up about the situation. I shut down and no longer communicated with my coworkers, which is teamwork suicide in the office.
So how did I get over it?
I had to look at my track record and realize I was the bomb.com when it came to hitting my goals. I performed well in other areas of work. And the performance review, aka the cause of the problem, proved exactly what I was worth. If I was the favorite, then guess what? I earned it. I had gotten there with hard work and dedication. That’s something that couldn’t be argued.
How did I address things with my coworkers?
I began communicating with my team individually and discussed the rumor with each one of them. I listened to their concerns and found they were just upset with their critiques. I didn’t have to say much but just offer my support and ask for us to once again be a team in order to work together to crush our goals. I had to take the bad image of the “favorite” and turn it into that of a friendly and helpful coworker.
But let’s not forget! My review was none of their business. To even come up with such a theory and to label me as the favorite was just a reason to take the blame away from themselves for under-performing. They could have used a serious sip of “stay-in-your-lane” tea and, in reality, I could have used a sip too. By focusing on myself, I wouldn’t have let office chitter -chatter get under my skin. At the end of the day, don’t let how others feel about themselves dictate how you should feel about yourself in the workplace or in everyday life.