To everyone who has ever been told at work that you have a "bad attitude," I have a little story I'd like to share that might make your day.
At age seventeen, I received my first job-related disciplinary action for my "attitude," simply because I wanted to go to a football game.
By that time I'd worked at fast food restaurant for over a year. I'd established myself as a reliable and hard worker, punctual, flexible and eager to learn new things. I never hesitated to come in when someone else called in sick, stayed late if needed, and tried my darnedest to be a model employee.
But I wanted badly to go to that football game. My high school's team would be facing its arch rival, which had soundly beaten us year before. Well in advance, I asked to have Saturday of game off. My manager said he'd see, but couldn't make any promises.
He ended up scheduling me to work that day anyway. Determined not to miss something that mattered so much to me, I took it upon myself to switch schedules with a co-worker. I made it to game (which we won, by way), confident that I had not let my place of employment down.
My manager saw it differently. As retribution, he took me entirely off work schedule for following week, a terrible price to pay for a kid who was saving half of every paycheck for college. Undaunted, I used free time to find another, better paying, part time job.
As it turns out, this was first in a series of work-related incidents over a span of 25 years in which I'd get singled out by bosses for having a "bad attitude." And for most of that time, I accepted that label, and felt I deserved it. Why else would it keep happening if it wasn't due to some character flaw that seemed to stymie any chance I'd have to succeed in working world?
Still, pattern concerned and baffled me, so I finally decided to analyze it. Had I ever been reprimanded for poor attendance or punctuality? No. Was I ever disciplined for failure to do job for which I'd been hired? Nada--in fact, I always tried to excel at everything I tackled. Did I rub co-workers wrong way? Not as a rule; I've made many friends in jobs I've held, a number of whom remain friends long after I moved onto other employment.