Illustrated by Tyler Spangler.
When it comes to getting ahead at work, nice guys finish last — right? Well, it depends. No one wants to be thought of as "difficult," "bossy," or worse even, "the office bitch." But, where do you draw the line between telling it like it is, and being so brutally honest that you're burning bridges? How can you be accommodating — without being a doormat? Here are a few tips on how to stay real while dodging your cubicle neighbor's stink-eye.
This may be obvious, but never dumb yourself down at work, even if you're trying to be more likable. Part of upholding standards of intelligence and honesty for yourself is expecting that those around will you do the same. The best way to address a reputation for being "difficult"? By asking your coworkers what they think of you, and when they find you easiest to work with.
From there, you'll realize something that's key to maintaining your working relationships: No one needs you to be "nice" all the time. But, they definitely need you to listen. It's no easy feat to strike a balance between being assertive and receptive, but it's what you need to do in order to succeed and avoid making too many enemies along the way.