My job would be great if it weren’t for…
How would you complete that sentence?
Based on the work experiences of people I talk to, I suspect “other people” might be the answer for them. Their jobs would be great if it weren’t for … the other people at work that stress them out and misbehave, and in general act in wholly annoying ways. Perhaps it is for you too!
The reality is, it’s not surprising. People are a hard gig.
First, let’s consider how complicated YOU are! Right?
Multiply that by dozens of otherwise complicated co-workers, add a stressful work environment, a workload that never ends, and a boss that doesn’t quite get it. Voila! It’s a real dog’s dinner, as they say.
People may frustrate you in many ways.
The most debilitating way they frustrate you, however, is when you expect them to change.
Do you go to work every day, hoping someone will do something differently to make your work life better? If so, how is that working out?
There’s a saying, “Hope is not a strategy.” When it comes to the workplace, I’ll match that with, “Hoping other people will change so that I’ll like my job better is not a strategy.” I mean, they may change, and if they do, awesome. But as an outcome, that one is so totally out of your control.
The only situation you can control is you.
That’s why I want you to focus on self-awareness: knowing who you are and how you show up in the world. When you do, you can develop the skills, techniques and resilience to respond to the often unpredictable and uncontrollable environment around you.
Start by developing different ways to respond.
On those days when other people are creating stress for you, instead of watching your blood pressure rise, ask these two questions:
- What do I control in this situation, right here, right now?
- What action can I take right now to mitigate this situation?
What you do control, and the action you can take is always about you.
You can’t control what other people do, think or say. And you can’t control how other people behave.
But you can always control how you choose to respond to the behavior of others. You can always control what you choose to say. You can always control if you let it affect your mood. You can always control if you jump to conclusions – that may not be rooted in fact – and that serve to further stress you out.
Often clients tell me that other people can be so tiresome, they want to quit their jobs because of it. But I’m pretty sure “other people” are in every workplace.
I would rather you learn to deal better with challenging situations. Practice some different solutions and techniques, and see if you find a more satisfying result. Then maybe moving is a good idea. But at least if you do, you’ll be prepared for the other people there.
Try something new this week.
I’ve written a number of articles that will help you better deal with challenging co-workers. They always include specific words or techniques you can use to help diffuse those stressful situations. Go to these links and find some tips that will work for you.
- How to Handle a Condescending Co-Worker (without stooping to his level)
- How to Deal With the 5 Most Negative Types of Co-Workers
- 5 Ways to Cope with Workplace Drama
- 3 Frustrating Boss Behaviors and How to Deal
- 6 Questions That Will Make You Second Guess Your Career Change Plans
This week, try something new. Choose a different response, leveraging the parts that YOU control.
Then let me know what happens. Because no matter where you work and what you do, other people are going to be a part of your world.