3 Simple Rules for Success on the Job – Guaranteed!

I’m a 2nd generation Irish gal who’s a “Cradle Catholic”.  I went to 9 years of Parochial school where the environment demanded strict obedience.  If you got in trouble with Sr. Josephine…you got in more trouble at home.  The majority of my friends were Irish, Italian, Polish or some other heritage that had deeply rooted cultural norms and values.

The rumor today is that we’re all products of screwed up families.  What used to be passion is now an anger-management problem.  When we learned to “cross our T’s and dot our I’s” it was considered being conscientious.  Now we call it being detail-oriented…but honestly we’re all just a little OCD and titch neurotic.

We have more family secrets that you wouldn’t dare talk about – that’s called airing your dirty laundry.  But today you tell a therapist because it’s considered dysfunctional and unhealthy….or you’ll post it on Facebook.

Look, I’m not saying that the authoritarian, dogmatic, old world style of shut-your-mouth-or-else was perfect…but it did serve a purpose.  You learned to, “Listen and Follow Directions”.  You knew your place.  You learned to ACCEPT what you couldn’t change and you were rewarded when you did a good job.  It was a cause and effect model that served it’s time.


According to The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) –

“One in five workers suffers from a mental illness, such as depression or anxiety, and many are struggling to cope.”

With the economic recession of 2008, simple diagnosis such as depression, anxiety, and anger-management problems have been scripted out like the common cold…never mind the climbing statistics of more complex labels of bipolar and schizophrenia.

“Labels” are something us older folks aren’t too interested in…because we know – We’re all a little cuckoo-for-cocoa-puffs…and we don’t care how you define yourself as long as you can get the job done.  That builds a foundation of TRUST.

But the younger generations are being raised on Maslow’s higher level needs .  They want to have positive relationships and feel valued.  Well that’s impossible to have ALL the time.  I mean, if a 3 yr. old treats you poorly…would it bother you?  Probably not.  So why do you let your boss who’s 50, but emotionally 3yrs. old allow you to feel bad?  Get the concept?

Have a little bit of emotional ACCEPTANCE for human imperfection…and understanding for people’s limitations.  (Check out www.rebtnetwork.org for more guidance on how to tolerate the world without taking it so personally  😉


1.       LISTEN AND FOLLOW DIRECTIONS.  This is a big problem with younger employees.  (And yes, I know it’s definitely a problem of older know-it-alls!)  Let go of your opinions.  Get the respect you want by giving respect to authority first…No matter what your boss’s personality is like!

2.       LEAD.  Take ownership of your responsibilities.  Be resourceful…not co-dependent.  Be humbly confident but not cocky.  Be generous and committed to organizational goals.

3.       COLLABORATE – When you feel the opportunity in the air!  This is where the magic is.  You know when the time is right to use the mantra – Two heads are better than one!

 Just so you know – I’m a self-diagnosed, recovering, co-dependent crybaby, anxious-a-holic, who had #1 down pat…but couldn’t carry out #2 and #3.

So I followed my own advice and developed my leadership style for the sake of the business relationship!

What number do you need to work on?


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Kathleen Mangiafico

Kathleen Mangiafico, ORSCC is a Relationship Specialist. She works with individuals and organizations on how to navigate through cultural and generational conflict. With a mix of corporate/non-profit experience and a 19 yr. culturally rich marriage (with 3 vivacious boys!), she has the expertise to shift your perspective from, "Who's doing what to whom?" to "What's trying to happen for the sake of YOUR business relationship?" Connect with Kathleen.

Reader Interactions


  1. Lisa - Good.Co says

    I would actually add a 4th point to that list, which is, “Don’t forget to be awesome.” No matter how annoying the boss, or frustrating the clients, or maddening the workplace, always bring your A-game. Leave your baggage at the door (or even better, leave it at home!), take a deep breath whenever you need to, and do your best to be the solution instead of being mired in the problem. Also, practicing a certain amount of conscious gratitude can help to accentuate the positives at work when the negatives seem overwhelming. That said, no one should ever tolerate an authentically abusive work situation; just make sure you’ve got your objective evaluation hat on when assessing if a line has been crossed.
    Thanks for the handy tips! Lisa Chatroop, Good.Co

  2. Kathleen Mangiafico says

    Thanks for adding “Don’t forget to be awesome!” LOVE IT! My husband always says, “If I don’t believe in me, who’s going to believe in me?” AND…I agree with you – Don’t allow yourself to stay in a work environment where someone actually enjoys controlling others…create your exit strategy!


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