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Drama queen seeks help

Marie G. McIntyre
Marie G. McIntyre

Q: I recently realized that I’ve been acting like an emotional drama queen in my new job. Because of this behavior, my manager has expressed doubts about my fitness for the position. However, I think he might be willing to give me a second chance.

I now understand that I must respect personal boundaries and be careful about the subjects I discuss at work. I’ve considered sending my boss an apology email explaining what I’ve learned and how I plan to change. Do you think this will help?

A: Kudos to you for recognizing that your own behavior is the source of your problems. Instead of defensively rejecting your manager’s concerns, you considered the possibility that he might have a point. Honest self-examination is the first step in personal growth, so this mature attitude bodes well for your ability to change.

While an apology email may encourage your boss to keep an open mind, you need regular feedback to be sure his opinion is shifting. For example, you might suggest meeting every Friday to review the previous week. This will not only highlight your progress, but also make you aware of any concerns.

To increase your odds of success, identify the triggers for your emotional behavior. Do certain subjects spark excessive self-revelation? Try to avoid those topics. Do particular people push your buttons? Limit your time with them. And if you inadvertently wander into conversational quicksand, be ready with an exit line, like “Sorry, I’m getting off the subject.”

Very few drama queens are able or willing to acknowledge their problem, so you’ve already made a big first step. Changing entrenched habits can be difficult, but with determination and perseverance, I believe you can do it.

Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and author. Send in questions and get free coaching tips at www.yourofficecoach.com, or follow her on Twitter @officecoach.

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