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by James Waldroop Ph.D.
and Timothy Butler Ph.D.

Directors of MBA Career Development at the Harvard Business School. Twenty years relevant experience. Business Psychologists, Psychotherapists, Executive Coaches to many Fortune 500 companies, helping individuals work to their highest level of potential.

Ch. 11: You Can't Shut Up!

FAILURE BEHAVIOR 11: LACKING A SENSE OF BOUNDARIES. You talk too much. You have no boundaries between business and personal, between office and home, between supervisor and subordinate, between manager and managed. You can't keep your thoughts to yourself. You've got to share your feelings with everybody. You have no sense of what is appropriate to say - or where. Can't conceive of playing your cards close to your chest, can't keep your opinions to yourself.

OVERTAKE® says: Alcohol induces egregious expressions of this behavior, even in people who are normally tight-lipped.

And it is regularly, if unethically, used at social functions, trade conferences, and the like, to pry competitor information from employees, suppliers, customers, contractors, regulators, inspectors, consultants and professional advisers.

In vino veritas. Advantage in vintage. Don't lose it.


In your need for affiliation, you've become a babbling broadcaster. So friendly, so naive, you don't sense what's inappropriate. You tell all sorts of intimate details to everyone. You know no boundaries, honor no privacies. Eventually you talk yourself into trouble - even out of your job.


One possible cause is that you have attention deficit disorder or more accurately that you have had a surplus of attention and are deficient in controlling that surplus and its attendant impulses, including your impulse to talk about whatever is on your mind. If so, you need to read a good book on the topic and get medical attention.

Or you come from a culture that encourages disclosure and discussion of all information and feelings - personal and work-related - and discourages privacy and secrecy.

You need to make more friends outside work. They will meet your need for affiliation and your behavior at work will abate accordingly. You must learn to recognize people's boundaries and respect them, to see things from their perspective. And you need a colleague who will tell you to shut up.


You may be a sales superstar of short-selling-cycle goods, required to talk constantly to many customers but to each for a limited duration, outside the company, and with little access to sensitive information. In such an outside job you can use what skills you have as 'someone who can talk a dog off a meat truck' to maximum effect while causing minimum in-company disruption.

Your environment is key. You need to work where people are more relaxed and down to earth rather than formal, rigid and hierarchical. You need to be managed closely to change your behavior. When you do you can be effective, gregarious, successful. You can be a higher performance person.

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Ch. 12: You're Out Of Alignment

FAILURE BEHAVIOR 12: LOSING THE PATH. Your day-to-day work clashes with your underlying interests. You feel alienated, thinking your mood is what you are, that your symptoms are your true identity. You may be in the wrong job, even in the wrong industry.


You're losing interest in your work. You ask if this all there is - this bureaucratic routine? You feel dissatisfied with your career, unhappy, anxious, disconnected, powerless, marginalized, frustrated with your job, lethargic, cynical, pessimistic or even depressed. That is a sign that your everyday work is out of alignment with the type of activity you need to feel most engaged. It's your wake-up call. It's time for change. To a new commitment, new role, new responsibilities, new job or even a new career.


Recognize your job alienation. Everybody goes through these phases many times at the various stages of their careers. There is no one right way for all to find meaningful work. You must find your own path, traveling through a new landscape every decade, a lifetime task.

Don't blame external circumstances for your own psychological problems. Instead use the external situation to learn more about your own psychological makeup and your need to act or change.

Your potential is unique to you. It is not the potential of anyone else. Your ego is that part of your self that needs to be recognized as separate and different - and to be measured. Is your sense of self-worth, your image of success your own? Or that of your parents, your peers, your friends? Measure your success by your values, not those of others. If you lack other values you probably use money as a means of measurement, as a proxy for ego. So know the cost of things of value that you would exchange it for. Otherwise money alone will guide your decisions.

One of your tasks in life is to identify and cultivate sources of value. Value is what counts for you, what ultimately matters in your life, what you cherish. Caring is what you need to do to protect what you value. What you value and what you need to do to care for what you value should guide your career decisions.

Always know this: By the time you reached your early twenties, you had developed a unique set of interests that will be stable for the rest of your life.

You find out who you are by going into the world, having experiences and understanding how those experiences affect you. You find that some activities make you feel or see in a previously unfelt way, that this is what interests you deeply, that this is what you want to do, that this is you. Every time this happened to you, you did not discover something new, you became aware of something that was already in you, you became more of your 'self.'

There is no meaningful distinction between what you call your 'self' and your activities in the world. In the right job, on many days, you have the sense that what you are doing is what you were born for.

You need work that enables you to express your inherent patterns of life interests. Otherwise you're out of alignment.

OVERTAKE® says: This is the most important concept in this book. In your career. In your life?


Progress begins with your sense of job alienation. It can tell you of your hidden potential that's shut out now because there's no way for it to act in your current situation. With determined attention to your unique circumstances and with the courage to act, when you recognize what you've been given you can make the most of what you've got. And thereby you become a higher performance person.

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