For my money, the social aspect of work is pretty much counterweight to the actual work aspect. Often not being ‘the right fit’ doesn’t mean you don’t have the necessary skills to thrive but simply that your character jars with that of the company. It’s important not to take this personally as shoehorning your idiosyncrasies into a newer, more tailor-made version of yourself can snowball into faking an entire personality unnecessarily. Besides, you might find, people actual prefer you warts and all anyway.
Playground theatrics and bullying are rife in many offices. They shouldn’t be, but humans are naturally competitive and struggle to shake off the behaviour learned in schoolyards. Often the pressure of laughing at a joke or agreeing with sentiment can be too great as the reward of group acceptance is a singularly brilliant feeling. Often that feeling of belonging will ware off if you feel that you are biting your tongue around your colleagues. Obviously, it isn’t ideal to be deliberately bullish and troublemaking but never become a ‘yes man’ for the sake of having an easy life. It will grant you immediate satisfaction but in the long run will leave you feeling hollow.
Learning to be your own person at work means you must let go of fear. The best way to do this is to remind yourself that everyone is just as insecure and desperate to fit in as you and you may have many silent supporters. Even if no one particularly likes you for speaking your mind they are more likely to begrudgingly respect you.
In more practical terms, career success can’t be forged on the back of insincerity. What’s more likely are that the truly successful humans tend to capitalise on their own originality, turning their quirks into marketable tools. It’s only by being honest with ourselves and other people that we can truly get what we want. If we are pretending to be something else we’ll end up pursuing someone else’s dreams and not our own.
If you feel you are having to water down your words in certain circles in might be time to change circles. However this isn’t always as easy as it seems and often keeping your job is important to keep living; simply put. What you must keep in mind is that the opinions of the few do not represent the culture of the office as a whole and that you can find ways to enjoy small victories without altering your personality too drastically. If you find yourself in a conflict of opinion with a co-worker, there is no shame in simply removing yourself from the situation instead of speaking your mind.
If the fact that you are disliked is still niggling at you please try and remember that people pleasers are the most likely to end up pleasing nobody. The stronger your stance and the more unshakeable your beliefs the more likely you are to polarise people but remember for every person that dislikes you, there are usually ten who’d back you. It’s only by holding steadfastly to these principles that we gain actual friends who we actually like.