First impressions can be hard to overcome. If you feel like you have earned a reputation that is less than sterling in the workplace, it can make you feel frustrated, misconstrued and undervalued. If this is the case, there is still a lot you can do to improve your image.
Don't Make Excuses
One of the most important things is not to make excuses. This will make you seem defensive, which is never seen as a positive trait. Let the past go and focus on now. No one else will be likely to bring up the past, so let it lie. The second piece of this is not to blame others for their part in past transgressions. Give your coworkers the credit to see themselves who is typically the instigator in different situations.
Though others may not know the whole story during different situations, consider why you may have a bad image at work. Ask hard questions and try to be honest with yourself. Are you a team player who shares group chores like cleaning the break area and pitching in extra time, work, communal coffee, etc.? Do you respect the property of others such as clients, ideas or even lunches in the refrigerator? Do you come as early and stay as late as others? Do you participate in group functions after work or at lunch? Do you avoid gossiping about others? Are you typically positive or negative in your conversations? Do you admit when you are wrong? Is there something else that you do?
Consider How to Amend it
Once you have identified the ways in which you were partially responsible for your image, try to find ways to make this better. Focus more on turning the behavior around than making grand gestures to make up for it. Use this as a long-term strategy of personal betterment rather than pleasing others for a short time if you want it to work. This will make success more dependent upon personal fulfillment rather than the approval of others.
If you are having trouble emotionally with not fitting in at work, consider getting a third party level of support. A therapist can help you understand if the bad image is real or imagined and whether or not it is due to your actions or other factors. In some cases, working in a place with a sex, race or religious bias may be uncomfortable simply for who you are.
Know When to Move On
If you are the first woman in a traditionally male job or have another way in which you are a nontraditional employee, the solution to your issue may just be one of time and tolerance. However, you need to decide if this is the part you want to play in history or if you would rather just find a more accepting workplace. Both are perfectly acceptable viewpoints and are completely reasonable and responsible choices.
No matter the reason for your bad image at work, there is much you can do to identify and repair it. No matter the choices you make,