The Fit Student – Right Attitude

Do you want to thrive socially? At your workplace? At school? Well, you need the right attitude. And the right attitude changes, depending on who runs the show.

I once interviewed at a funeral home. The staff beamed with smiles. The friendly HR fellow said, “When you cross paths with colleagues, you must chat.” I felt a belonging I longed to feel with my own family.

At another job, staff groaned when I greeted them. Yet, they cheered when one staff attended corporate events—during the death of her grandma. So, the corporate world seemed to favor coldness. And often they do.

Clearly, the above two companies hold different values.

What are my values? When I acted as a tutorial assistant, I got riled when a student faced ostracization. I knew the feeling firsthand. The fear of walking home safely. The fear of my friend’s safety. The loneliness.

So, I got stern. I called security to haul out the bully. I then threatened to slash her class participation grade. The sad face of the ostracized student peered hopefully at me; in the end, he earned his A.

Anger signals when a key value is violated, says author Trevor Thrones (2016). Yet, when one of my students got bullied she bullied back. But I felt unable to protect her. My value? Non-retaliation.

Many of us have values others don’t hold. Just as the differences between the workplaces above. Same with schools. So, lay out your values and find the fits.

Trevor Thrones speaks of values in his book The Power of People Skills: How to Eliminate 90% of Your HR Problems and Dramatically Increase Team and Company Morale and Performance:

• In families, classes, and offices, the central players often shape the values.
• Educate your new people on your values to make them stick.
• People fire new hires mostly because of attitude—not skills.
• If you want to dissect the values of your family, class, or office, then look to the traits of the insiders you most cherish. Ask if all members share that trait. (My family members all have high work ethics. Papa especially shines. He speaks few words but performs countless acts of kindness.)
• The values you choose should stay stable over time. If not, soul seek your truest values.
• Use three phrases for your right attitude “motto.”
• Use an acronym or alliteration when choosing your right attitude words. (My family’s motto would be hard work, high standards, and leadership.)
• When coming up with your right attitude motto, use words already in use.
• Use stories—like legends—to come up with your right attitude motto. (My family legend? Papa. He has taken care of several neighborhood seniors. I recently learned of yet another senior he supports. Papa disappears during the days, secretly helping others.)

Grandma calls her girls hearty. My brother calls us survivors. I call the clan go-getters. What right attitude defines yours?