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Rebels at Work by Debra Cameron, Carmen Medina, Lois Kelly

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Chapter 9. Am I Becoming a Bad Rebel?

Each rebel journey is unique. But all unsuccessful journeys—especially when you don’t take the time to take care of yourself and maintain your rebel fitness—will look a lot like the rebel arc (Figure 9-1).

The rebel arc
Figure 9-1. The rebel arc

You notice something that needs fixing.

You come up with your idea.

You get a hearing, which is fair or less fair. Your ideas don’t receive the acclaim you expected. They’re just not a priority for the leadership team.

You get frustrated, and then, if you’re not careful, slide into obsession.

You don’t give up. You can’t take no for an answer.

You don’t notice how your tone is changing. In fact, many rebels never really understand why people start calling them cynical and negative.

But people at work notice you’ve changed. They can tell right away. You have slipped into obsession. Next stop—negativity. You’ve become so pessimistic and angry that people no longer consider your ideas, and you fall into irrelevance.

You are becoming a bad rebel.

Avoiding Bad Rebel Behavior

Most rebels we’ve talked to admit their behavior sometimes falls on the bad side of the rebel ledger. There are some circumstances in whic such “bad behavior” is unavoidable and even necessary (see “Bad Rebel Doing Good”). But in general, bad rebels cannot survive long in most organizations.

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