This is a particularly challenging time of year at work – holidays, end of year, taxes, oh my. Some days it’s a challenge just to “keep a civil tongue in your head” as they say. So if you aren’t fortunate enough to have saved up some vacation time this month, what can you do?
Put the whole holiday madness aside for a while (“Stress Buster and Holiday Survival Guide”) and try to focus on the job at hand. I’m going to assume that you aren’t on the verge of either:
A. Punching out your cubicle neighbor for humming “Jingle Bells,” or
B. Taking up or starting smoking again just to go to the “Butt Hut,” or
C. Having a psychotic or any other type of disassociative episode or
D. Fill in the blank (bad, bad , bad meltdown.)
So how do you back yourself off of the precipice and get down to work? Jobacle has given you lots of wonderful (hey, they ARE!) suggestions to deal with your anger in past posts, (“How to Squash Office Anger,” “5 Ways to Stop Feeling Angry at Work.”) But maybe you are just being a big baby and need a TIME OUT?
We didn’t have “time out” when I was a kid. We had “wait till your parents get home” from my grandmother or the sitter since both my parents worked. This was not an empty threat because you did not want to mess with my dad’s temper. He wasn’t at all abusive or mean, it was just not something you wanted to be around if you could avoid it.
We also had the “go to your room.” Of course now if you’re an older kid, this just means better texting opps. and games, etc. But time out gives the younger child time to cool off, calm down and takes him out of pure reactive, no-impulse-control mode.
So how do you do the self-imposed time out at work? Try the following steps:
• First of all – shut up. If you’re angry and trying to make a point, no one will be listening. They are watching your body language, tone of voice, etc. That cancels out the content.
• Disengage – I used this with couple’s in counseling. Tell the other person that you need a few minutes to “collect yourself” or whatever and that you will get back to them. Some people have a hard time doing this – they have to make their point and be heard. Hey, see above.
• Re-evaluate – How important is this really? Important enough that your blood pressure is going through the roof? I doubt it. Get your brain out of pi—-off and into some rational thinking.
• Do all the recommended things – take a walk, deep breathe, call a close friend and vent (a bit).
If none of this works, I suppose you can have your tantrum and make that scrunchy, angry baby face, but I wouldn’t advise it. Someone will probably grab some photos of you…
This is a post by Jobacle team member Nancy LaFever.