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  • Kristen Herring-Asleson

Getting Out of the Doghouse

Own it, pick up and move on.

We all know what it is like to be “in the doghouse” at home, but how about work? Ever feel like you are the one in the doghouse, in the hotseat, or more simply put, in trouble?

One can get in trouble at work for multiple reasons – poor performance in general, lack of productivity, not supporting the goal or mission of the company and anything in between. Unfortunately, blinking, tilting one’s head and smiling does not fix things like it would for a child in trouble.

Being in the doghouse is not a good feeling, so that alone should create a desire to get out. Or, perhaps you are someone who does not pay attention to those feelings, but knows they need to get on the better side of a boss or work team.

Of course, I'll share a story about a situation that required a little work to get out of the doghouse. This was not me, but a close friend. In this scenario, she was assisting a woman from an out-of-state college plan an event to be held in Minnesota. The event was to present an alumnus with an award, so there had to be food and beverages ordered, and guests to invite.


Planning the event took weeks, and when all was said and done, it was a beautiful, heartfelt event appreciated by all. But, in the midst of this, the recipient was upset that her husband did not receive the same invitation as the rest of the attendees.

Rather than blurting out “Don’t you talk to your husband?," she took the criticism in stride and let it go.


However, it put her in the doghouse.


So, how do you get out?


First and foremost, follow the adage of “learn from your mistakes.” If the scenario that got you there presents itself again, will you do it differently? Hopefully yes, because making the same mistake over and over will shed negative light on your job performance in general.


Don’t let one issue leave you feeling defeated and make you quit or give up. Roll up your sleeves and keep working. Even though getting in trouble at work is frustrating, it doesn’t have to last forever. Mistakes don’t define you, unless of course, you don’t learn from them.


If you are part of a team, always keep that in mind. Often, mistakes made by one person have consequences for the entire team. When working, don’t always think of yourself and how it would affect you, but also your team. It could hurt them and the team’s outcome in the long run.


When you make a mistake, you needs to know that criticism, sometimes constructive, sometimes not, will follow. How you take that criticism is crucial to getting out of the doghouse. Just accept it, put the suggestions into play and move on. Don’t carry a grudge and don’t place blame -- just move on.


This leads to accountability. Pick up, move on and take responsibility for your actions or lack of performance or mistakes. Do not blame someone else or try to point fingers; you made the mistake, own it.


Last, remain positive. The mistake was but a blip in the wide, wide world of work. Putting yourself down and hanging your head is not handling the situation appropriately. In fact, it is far more difficult to get work done when dwelling on mistakes made in the past. There are always brighter days ahead.


At the end of the day, all you can do is push yourself to do better and learn from your mistakes.

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