Working in the Polar Vortex

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How cold was it? For anyone caught in the frigid, teeth rattling cold it is not a rhetorical question. The cold reminded us that there is a big difference between +20 degrees and -20 and that it is easier to get to work when it is twenty above. For those who show up under such harsh conditions, it’s like living in the movie Planes, Trains & Automobiles. Proper credit should be given.

Showing up for work when it’s cold is one thing. But what happens when you are “frozen out”at work? Like pornography, it is hard to define but you know it when you are experiencing it. Here are a few symptoms that will tell you that you are being frozen out at work:

  • You are not included on email distribution lists. If you are lucky, one of your friends will forward them to you. Your friend might be sending them to make you realize your situation is precarious.
  • You walk by conference rooms full of people and believe you should be in that meeting. The people sitting in the conference room glance up guiltily.
  • You enter the coffee room and the chitchat stops. Eventually, someone starts talking to you about sports. Awkward!

So now you have to wonder…

  • Do I have a hygiene problem? It is always possible. Could be body odor, breath or worse.
  • Is there not enough work to go around? If not, it may be a wicked game of freezing out the one person who won’t speak up.
  • More likely, ask yourself if people want to work with you. If you hear the phrase Diva, prima donna or any tough movie star, this is probably the problem.
  • Does your boss like you? If not, you may not ever come in from the cold.

All of these are bad scenarios and could be tough to overcome. You may not ever really know the truth about the freeze problem.

If you ask your boss what’s up, you may be calling the question and the boss might finally recognize that you haven’t made a contribution in a while.

The best solution is to ask a co-worker or someone who might tell the truth. If you get the truth you probably will learn something that you don’t want to hear . (See hygiene comments above.) Chances are you wont get the truth so a little introspection might be in order. Ask yourself why you may be part of the corporate Polar Vortex and be brutally honest.

If you are part of the Polar Vortex at work and you have been frozen out, you have choices, but not many. The obvious one is to stay in the cold until you can find a new job where the reception is warmer. Sometime it is easier to change jobs than to fix damage that has taken years to inflict. The other obvious choice is to stay in the frozen area until you lose your job which is probably going to happen.

The most difficult choice is to change. That is, change whatever behavior, smell or circumstance that pushed you into the cold in the first place. It might be the most difficult option but may save you from the Polar Vortex in your next position.

Spring will soon be here.

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