Career Management

What to do when someone pisses you off at work

Posted by on Sep 27, 2016 in Career Management, Work Relationships | 2 comments

Someone is bound to piss you off at some point in your career. Even the most rational and reasonable people get angry sometimes. I certainly do.

So, you get angry at your boss, a co-worker, or client. What do you do? How do you handle yourself professionally?

For years I didn’t get angry. Or, well, I suppose I did and I just held that anger back until it started to eat away at me. I was prone to depression. My health suffered. I tried to keep the peace by letting it go but what I thought was letting go was actually ignoring it. Obviously this is not a healthy way to address anger in the workplace!

I’ve worked with people who handle anger quite differently from me. They lash out in anger, raising their voice, making accusations, and blaming others. I can’t say what it’s like to be that person, but lashing out in anger doesn’t seem to benefit them and it certainly doesn’t benefit me to be on the receiving end. This response to conflict is no better than holding it back.

I recently got pissed off at someone I work with. In the moment, I shut down. Then I started to think about a better way to handle the situation and realized I already knew a better way! Here are 6 questions I asked myself to handle the situation professionally.

angry-at-work

6 Questions to Address Conflict at Work

01. How important is it?

Anger feels pretty significant in the moment, but it’s important to ask yourself, “how important is it?”

Is your ability to do your job affected? Did the situation cause irreparable harm to you or your career? Will this incident matter in a week? How about a month? How about next year?

Putting the conflict in perspective makes it easier to address.

02. What’s your part?

While someone else’s behavior may have been out-of-line, chances are so was yours. What’s your part in the conflict?

Did you communicate expectations clearly? Did you ask for more information? Did you give the other person a chance to talk? Did you treat the other person with respect?

Taking responsibility for your part in conflict builds confidence, authenticity, and authority. When you own your part of the problem, you can own your part of the solution. And, it’s easier to be compassionate with others when you acknowledge you screwed up, too.

03. What do you need?

When someone pisses you off, it’s important to take a time-out to attend to your needs.

Do you need a break? Do you need a glass of water, or to go for a walk?

Take care of yourself and you’ll be ready to approach the situation with a clear head.

04. What happened?

Instead of assuming you have all the facts, stay open and curious about what happened. Ask for more information.

What happened? Why? What is the other person’s perspective on the conflict?

Staying curious will help you understand the other person as well as the problem. Finding out what really happened leads to better relationships and better solutions.

05. What’s your motivation?

When you consider addressing the conflict, consider your motivation.

Do you want the other person to feel embarrassed or ashamed? Do you want to be heard? Do you want an apology? Do you want a mutually beneficial resolution?

Understand your motive before you try to address the conflict.

06. Can we talk about what happened?

When you’re ready to address the conflict, ask for permission to discuss it.

Is this a good time? Can we talk about what happened?

Getting permission puts you both on equal footing and starts the conversation with respect and courtesy.

The next time someone pisses you off at work, use these 6 questions to resolve conflict with self-assurance, confidence, and increase your chances for a positive resolution.

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How to deal with the office bully

Posted by on Jun 21, 2016 in Career Management, Work Relationships | 0 comments

Every office has one- the office bully. That person who intimidates and manipulates those around him- disrupting work, destroying morale, and making everyone in the office as miserable as he is.

I’ve worked with bullies who were my co-workers, my employees, and my boss. It mattered little if I was the manager or the employee- an office bully bullies indiscriminately, and the effect is the same regardless of hierarchy.

Office bullies have a particularly powerful effect on introverts as we tend to internalize our experiences. In her book Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength, Laurie A. Helgoe wrote, “Introverts tend to internalize problems. In other words, we place the source of problems within and blame ourselves. Though introverts may also externalize and see others as the problem, it’s more convenient to keep the problem ‘in house’.” Many introverts struggle to detach from the behavior of the office bully and may find our job performance scrutinized when dealing with a bully at work.

Common traits of the office bully include gossiping, criticism disguised as concern, hoarding information, exaggerating or misrepresenting situations, and playing the victim.

The office bully may be respected and well-liked around the office as they position themselves as an authority at the expense of others.

Office bullies may show genuine compassion and kindness- virtues they aspire to but are often unable to maintain.

Office bullying is often overlooked as bullies make everyone uncomfortable yet manage to fly under the radar- avoiding responsibility and shifting blame to those around them.

Unfortunately, it is often those around the bully who pay the price for his bad behavior. Those of us who work with office bullies are likely to quit or worse, get fired. (Yes, it’s happened to me!)

Common traits of the office bully include gossiping, criticism disguised as concern, hoarding information, exaggerating or misrepresenting situations, and playing the victim.

I’ve observed office bullies up close and from afar. I’ve watched management handle them poorly and handle them well. I’ve been on the receiving end of their lies and misdirection and I’ve seen other good people take the fall. I don’t want it to happen to you (or me, again).

office bully

How to deal with the office bully

Keep it professional

Office bullies will use information to manipulate situations and people so avoid giving them more to work with. Keep your conversations and relationships professional. Avoid discussing personal topics and do not accept their friend request on Facebook!

Be pleasant

While you want to limit your personal contact with a bully you do want to maintain a friendly attitude, remaining kind and pleasant. For example, saying “good morning” and “good night”. A friendly attitude will minimize conflict with the bully and show you can handle yourself with grace and aplomb.

Process your emotions

The office bully benefits from getting you to react emotionally. They’ll show you their emotions in one-on-one interactions then play it cool around other people, making you appear unstable, irrational, or unreasonable. Be aware of your emotions dealing with the office bully and don’t let them control you. Notice what you’re feeling and express it in healthy ways such as working it out through exercise, journaling, or confiding in a trusted mentor or friend.

Don’t complain

Yes, working with an office bully sucks but complaining will only keep you in the pain of it, focused on the negative. If you find yourself repeating your complaints to anyone who will listen, it’s time to stop complaining and focus on something else instead.

Practice self-care

Working with a bully will drain your resources so this is a time to up your self-care. Get plenty of sleep, exercise, eat right, have fun- do whatever keeps you strong and healthy.

Keep good records

It’s always smart to keep track of your tasks and accomplishments at work. When dealing with an office bully, it’s even more important to document expectations, agreements, deadlines, and progress. Keeping a record of your good work will keep you motivated, help you focus on your work, and may defend your position if the bully makes a false accusation towards you.

Do good work

If you work with an office bully there’s a good chance you’ll start focusing on the behavior of the bully more than your own  work- don’t fall into this trap!  Do good work and continue to do your best every day. Focusing on your work can distract you from the bully, give you a sense of control over your situation, and keep you from taking the blame for reduced productivity.

While bullies may make a good impression initially, they will often reveal their true nature with time. If you find yourself working with an office bully be patient, focus on your work, and try to ride it out.

Sometimes work bullies are higher up in the organization and manage to stick around for years. In this situation, you may want to transfer out of the bully’s sphere of influence, or it may be in your best interest to find another job. In the meantime, do your best to be your best self and rise above a difficult situation.

Have you successfully dealt with an office bully? Please share your experience in the comments!

 

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What to do when you had a bad day at work

Posted by on Jun 7, 2016 in Career Management | 0 comments

It was one of those days. One of those days when I left work I was just done. One of those days that left me feeling drained and exhausted.

All said and done, this bad work day is nothing more than a series of less-than-ideal experiences. My life is neither better nor worse for a bad day at work. But as I sat down to write, and believe me, I didn’t want to, I got to thinking about getting over the bad-day slump. What am I going to make of this day?

Oh, that’s right, I get to decide what to make of this day. The frustration and stress are over now. Am I really going to let this unpleasant experience ruin my evening, too?

The answer is no.

Moving past a bad day isn’t just about feeling better. A positive attitude helps you get more done, appreciate life more, and other people are more likely to appreciate you. And the more people appreciate you, the more likely you are to get recognized and rewarded at work. I want more good stuff at work, don’t you?

So that got me thinking about how I can turn around a bad day. And I can think of lots of ways. Then I thought, “this would make a pretty good blog post!”

So maybe you had a bad day, too. And maybe you are going to take responsibility for yourself and your happiness. Maybe you’re looking for ways to move on from a bad day. I got you covered.

How to turn around a bad day

had a bad day

Get your body moving!

Exercise releases endorphins that trigger positive feelings. So get your body moving. Take a walk. Dance to your favorite song. Go for a bike run. Go for a run. It doesn’t matter how you move your body as long as you move it!

Eat a delicious meal

Studies show that eating can also release stress-reducing endorphins. Dark chocolate and spicy foods are specifically known to boost good feelings. Maybe sometimes it’s okay to eat for your mood.

Drink a cool, tall glass of water

Did you know even mild hydration can negatively affect your mood? It’s true. So drink a tall glass of refreshing H2O because hydration makes you happy!

Get gratitude

Gratitude is an instant mood-lifter! Take out a piece of paper and write down what you’re grateful for- anything and everything you’re grateful for- including things you enjoy about your work. Try to list at least 10 things. You’re probably feeling better already!

Don’t complain

When you complain you revisit a negative experience over and over again. If your complaint won’t result in a change in your situation, well, what’s the point of complaining? Why keep yourself in that pain?

Release frustrations

Find a healthy way to release feelings of anger, stress, disappointment, and frustration.

You can try imagining filling a backpack with your complaints, taking the pack off your back and setting it on the floor. If you start to feel the weight of it, take it off again.

You might try journaling about your day and turn the page, leaving your journal open to an empty page.

Take my suggestions or make up your own! The important thing it so find some way to give a voice to your frustrations and then release them.

 Make a change

If you find you have a bad day at work more often than not, it may be time to make a change in your career.

I’m a career coach with 100% success rate getting clients hired, promoted, and negotiating raises. If it’s time to make a change in your career, contact me at chrysta@liveandlovework.com to schedule a complimentary Love Your Work strategy session.

Tell me, what do you do when you’ve had a bad day at work? How do you turn it around?

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When to give up (and when not to)

Posted by on May 10, 2016 in Career Management | 3 comments

I’m ready to give up.

I started my business 7 months ago. It was my big bold career move- to follow my dream, to start my own business, to be an entrepreneur. Since starting my business I’ve failed. A lot.

A few weeks ago I thought long and hard about giving up. Let’s be real, giving up would make my life so much easier and so much less painful. I gave myself permission to give up.

And I haven’t given up. At least not yet.

Most days I hear stories of women stuck in their jobs and they’ve all but given up. Some of them really have given up. Some of them haven’t given up on their dreams, but they’ve given up on the idea that they’ll ever get anything better than what they’ve got right now.

How do you know when it’s time to give up? Here’s how I knew for me it wasn’t time for me to give up.

don't give up

 

When Not To Give Up

When you haven’t really gotten started

Anything worth your time takes time.

If you’re facing a big career change, give it at least 6 – 12 months. That could be 6 – 12 months to network, job search, or pursue a graceful exit from your current job.

When you aren’t good at it yet

When you try something new, it takes time to get good.

Don’t give up because you don’t know what you’re doing- learn how to do it, practice doing it, and don’t quit until you’re good at it.

When you haven’t asked for help

You can accomplish far greater things with help than without.

Get help before you quit- just make sure the help comes from a reputable source like a trusted mentor or career coach.

When you’re comparing yourself to someone else

Comparison is a sure way to settle for less.

Don’t worry about what someone else has– do what you can to do your best and be your best.

When you’re not choosing for yourself

Are you basing your decision on what’s best for someone else, or what’s best for you?

If you’re not making you’re own choices, you’re never making the choice that’s right for you.

When you’re afraid

Are you making a fear-based decision?

Doing something amazing is downright terrifying, but don’t let that stop you.

When it’s hard

It’s hard to make a change in your career. Don’t give up just because it’s hard.

When you failed

Failure is a sign of progress. If you failed, learn from your failure. Keep trying.

When to give up

Sometimes it is okay to give up. And that’s when what you’re doing isn’t working. You know, when you’re exhausted, overwhelmed, and burned out.

It may be time to give up what you’re doing to do something different, or it could be time to do it differently. Just know when you do something different, you’re probably going to want to give up as you get started.

Are you ready to give up? It may be time to ask for help from someone like me. Go ahead, ask.

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When to take advice about your career

Posted by on Apr 12, 2016 in Career Management | 0 comments

Everyone’s got an opinion and people love to dole out their best advice. From your mom to the Facebook “friend” you haven’t spoken to in years, everyone has advice about your career.

How do you know when to take career advice? Well, that’s a complex matter and I don’t want to be one more person giving you advice. Okay, maybe I do. But before I get to my advice to you I want to share something I recently learned about when to take advice.

I’ve been working with a business coach the last 6 months and she recently gave me some advice. Or coaching. Call it what you will.

She gave me this advice about my business and my initial response was a big bucket of nope. I felt a strong resistance to her insight.  For 3 weeks I pouted. For 3 weeks I complained. For 3 weeks I resisted. I was sure she wasn’t right about the advice she gave me.

Then I had an insight of my own.

My strong resistance wasn’t a sign she was wrong, it was a sign I was wrong.

Errr……

I realized that when someone gives me bad advice, I feel calm. When someone gives me advice that doesn’t resonate with me, I disagree without conflict. When someone gives me good advice I may feel the truth of it right away or I might feel resistant.

My resistance is a sign that maybe, just maybe, someone gave me advice worth considering.

Now I’m going to give you some advice. When you notice yourself resisting advice, take some time to carefully consider this advice. I’ll even share some questions to help you explore advice that brings up resistance.

when to take advice

5 Questions to know when take career advice

01. Does the advice come from someone you trust?

02. Does the advice come from someone with knowledge of your business, industry, or occupation?

03. Is the advice-giver successful in her career?

04. How do you feel in response to the advice? Why do you feel that way?

05. What fears come up related to the advice? Are you making a fear-based decision?

Sit with these questions. Explore your responses. Don’t be afraid to take advice that scares you just because it scares you. The only outcome with guaranteed results is doing the same thing you’ve always done (hint: you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.)

Now, let’s have some fun! What’s the best career advice you resisted? Share in the comments and sign up for my biweekly newsletter for career advice right to your inbox!

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Do people at work take advantage of you?

Posted by on Apr 5, 2016 in Career Management | 1 comment

For many years at different jobs I was the go-to gal, the most helpful person in the office. You have a problem? I am the problem-solver!

I dabbled in office equipment use and repair, IT, Microsoft Excel how-to, insurance, business law- you name it.

Need help with a special project? I can do that! Oh, sure, I can stay late. Bob called in sick again? I’ll cover Bob’s workload, no problem. I got this. You can count on me.

do you give more than you get

Once a co-worker wanted to take off 3 weeks during our busiest time of year. Her vacation request was approved because the owners were nice guys and wanted to accommodate her if at all possible. They didn’t understand or know the toll her absence would have on me.

I started to worry about how I would get all the work done by myself. I became extremely stressed. Then I realized no one had asked me to sacrifice my mental and physical health. Maybe I didn’t have to make it happen on my own.

I sent the owners an email detailing 2 options available to them. Option 1 included hiring a temporary employee to help while my co-worker was on vacation. Option 2 was being late on the reports that were due.

After I sent that email the owners decided my co-worker could not take 3 weeks off during our busiest time of year.

I didn’t have to do it all. I didn’t have to stretch my health to the limit. I chose not to allow myself to be taken advantage of.

For many years I went above and beyond what anyone else expected of me. I went above and beyond what I was paid to do. I went above and beyond any reasonable request and expectations- and most of the time the people I worked with didn’t even have to ask me to do it. I gave of myself until I didn’t have much left to give.

I was undervalued at work because I undervalued myself. I gave co-workers and clients permission to take advantage of me because I took advantage of myself.

I lacked healthy boundaries. I didn’t take care of myself. I took responsibility for things that were not my responsibility. I rarely, if ever, said no.

Allowing myself to be taken advantage of lead to increased stress, recurring health problems, and resentment of my co-workers and clients. I lived and worked that way for too long.

I was talking with a friend who hates her job and has a similar pattern of undervaluing herself, accepting less than she’s worth and doing more work for it.

She’s looking to change jobs and was considering accepting a position making $12,000 less than her salary requirement with fewer benefits than her current job.

This is how it happens.

We allow ourselves to be taken advantage of when we accept a job offer significantly below our salary requirement. Once in the job, we do far more than we were hired to do.

We ask for the raise we were promised and we grumble but continue to work our asses off when the promised raise doesn’t come through.

When other employees leave the company, we take on a portion of their work. Maybe we even take it all on.

It’s time to break this pattern. It’s time to set boundaries.

Stop doing work you haven’t been asked to do.

Stop agreeing to unreasonable requests.

Stop accepting less than you are worth.

Start believing in yourself. You can start by joining my group for regular inspiration and motivation to create positive and healthy habits at work and beyond!

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