Honesty is good for your career

Can you be honest with the people you work with?

When your boss asks you whether you’re enjoying working on this project, and you don’t, do you feel comfortable saying “not really”?

When your coworkers are not doing their job, are you able to tell them “guys, I feel that your work could have been better recently—let’s sit down to talk about it”?

Honesty is good for your career because it weeds out bad matches between you and other people, between you and certain projects, and between you and certain jobs. Honesty can also open up new opportunities: if you’re not happy about your work, but you never tell anyone about it, why would they suggest different work to you?

Being honest is easier and less stressful to boot.

One caveat is that it is possible to come off as abrasive when you speak your mind or when you answer questions honestly. In some corporate cultures—in some societal cultures, in fact—people do not appreciate honesty and frown upon confrontation. (Fortunately, being Dutch and living in The Netherlands, I don’t suffer from this problem. 😉)

If you work in a culture like that, you can still be more honest by practicing speaking your mind graciously. Or, if all else fails, you can “vote with your feet”: work somewhere else, where honesty is appreciated.

Often, when you’re honest, you trade short-term pain for a long-term gain. Learn to be honest with grace and you’ll be much happier in the end.

Yours,

— Peter

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