As careers progress and ladders are climbed individuals move further away from that team environment on the shop floor. This was the place where everyone was equal, the common goal was to work, do a good job and hopefully get a promotion or a transfer to the next level at some stage in the future. If something went wrong you asked a colleague, if you didn’t know the answer you asked your mate next to you and if they didn’t know the answer they’d ask someone else and so on. Everybody looked out for each other – aside of a few of course but in the main you all worked together, regularly played together and supported each other.
Then the promotions come along and everyone starts asking you for answers. Answers to all the questions that 2-3 months ago you didn’t know and potentially still don’t know, so what do you do now? Do you lie and risk being found out later, do you guess and risk getting it hopelessly wrong and get a potential demotion because you messed up? You cannot possibly ask for help because that might mean you’re not good enough to do the job if you don’t have all the answers. This is where the isolation begins.
It just isn’t done; you can’t ask a colleague because that shows you are not up to the job. You can’t possibly ask your boss because that would tell them you don’t have the answers and it is likely to be used against you in a review at a later date when you are going for a pay rise or another role within the company. You can’t ask your spouse or partner because they haven’t got a clue what you do anyway – your friends in the pub or at the school gate will always side with you but do not know the situation and therefore can’t advise. As for asking the guys that now report into you, well that’s just not going to happen is it? Don’t believe this is any different for someone employed by a global organisation or working in a small business of their own. Isolation hurts, fact.
Why are we so afraid of not looking perfect all of the time, not having all the answers – why can’t we be vulnerable and honest that we don’t know everything? Sadly there are those who would wish us to fail, you know the people I mean, the empire builders, the schemers – those people with whom you struggle to have faith in or to trust, putting it politely their conscious and integrity markers are totally out of line with yours.
The good news is that life has a tendency to balance out in the long run and those who play games and scheme to get somewhere will eventually get caught out. For the rest of us it’s our job to be our true selves and that means we need to and should seek advice and support from those around us. The dangers of isolation include reduced productivity and performance, fear of taking action, depression, procrastination and avoidance of situations that involve interaction and questions.
There is no long term benefit in imprisoning ourselves in a world of isolation, we are social creatures, we need love and interaction. While you may not want to bear your soul or your inner most secrets to some people there are environments, associations and organisations that will help with whatever you are going through. Nobody has to work in isolation, live in isolation or exist in isolation – ask for help – we don’t have to do this all on our own, make the decision now to find help. Use that four letter word regularly….â€Help!â€