A bad day at work is as certain as death and taxes. Even in the most perfect jobs, there will be days when everything in the bad-luck, bad-vibes atmosphere seems to conspire together to make your working hours absolute hell. Unfortunately, when it happens too often, it is likely to have a knock on effect like a bad game of dominoes. The result is a slow-build of anger and frustration until you are left dreading going in on a Monday morning and looking for another job.
It is very easy to blame everything on work as if it was some kind of all-powerful monster. It means we do not have to look at our own shortfalls, we do not have to consider mistakes we have made and how we can change them and we do not have to put any real energy into making things work. And anyway it’s much more fun insulting the boss behind closed doors…
A little light relief to get you through the night maybe, but when the alarm clock goes off in the morning, nothing will have changed and most of all you will not have the tools to change.
Job-hopping can narrow future work opportunities
Sadly, so many people leave substantially good careers and great work scenarios because they believe the bad things that take place at work are beyond their control. In this way some people just hop from job to job throughout their lives creating poor work histories and even narrower career options for the future. So instead of running away from the problems you need to confront the issues. But how do you do that?
Get into the right mind-set
The first hurdle is getting into the mind-set of expecting there to be periods where life may get a little grim. Any employee has to be suited to the tasks and environment of any workplace, but at the end of the day, nothing is going to be perfect so do not expect it to be. There will be confrontations, disagreements and doubts, humiliations, mistakes and threats. Expect it – that’s life. So it is not a matter of finding the job which allows you to go around grinning like a Cheshire cat all day. It is a matter of how you deal with the problems which will undoubtedly arise and this in a nutshell comes down to having a positive mind-set and attitude.
Now you can start preparing for the hurdles ahead. Primarily though you need to make sure you have a solid base and feel comfortable as possible in your work environment. Is there anything about the environment itself which creates stress, anxiety, frustration or anger on a daily basis? Do some repetitive tasks cause unease or uncomfortable thoughts and feelings? Have work tasks become chaotic and out of control?
Surround yourself with colleagues you trust
We rarely work alone in any work environment and it is surprising how daily work interactions – a misplaced word here, an offhand joke taken personally there – can stick with us and totally ruin what would normally be a fruitful day. It is important to refrain from being a sponge just absorbing all the bad stuff.
Take stock of the people you want around you. Try not to get dragged into activities with colleagues you do not trust, just because it seems “that is the right thing to do” and you want to feel part of the crowd. Do not be the “office party pooper” either – but keep people you mistrust or find problematic at a distance. Nurture a circle of friends around you who you trust and you can go to when feeling battered by the problems of work. A listening ear – and especially one that is attached to an individual who understands the situation you are in – is priceless.
Swallow your pride – confront shortfalls
There is an old Chinese proverb which I try to live by: “He who ask is a fool for five minutes. He who never asks is a fool forever.” This can be related to those daily task you do again and again which are causing problems and stress. If you do not do anything about them they will be there forever because they will probably follow you into your next job as well.
In many cases – especially with guys – this is a matter of swallowing your pride and saying “help”. It may mean a quick question, a morning of training, advice from the boss who wasn’t aware you were struggling. But don’t forget, it is how you couch your SOS. Coming over like the ultimate victim is not going to do you any good. You need to phrase your problems in terms of bettering yourself so that it appears you want to learn, perform better, more effectively, and, in the long run as your boss will register – mean enhanced company results. Now you are ahead of everyone else.
Every mistake is an opportunity
There is the tendency in any work situation to hide your mistakes. Clearly peer pressure and hierarchical structures within any workplace suggests any error is left in the laundry basket with the dirty linen. But that does not mean you cannot learn from your mistakes. By not confronting them (either alone, with a trusted friend or associate or your line manager) you are likely to be repeating that error for a good while to come.
Get into the mind-set where you re-visit that mistake or bad occurrence and pull it to pieces, what could you have done differently? What will you do differently next time? If you do not have the answers, do not be afraid to approach someone who will. Asking an individual for advice is a compliment in itself. If it’s your boss, couch it in the right way.
Don’t ask how – ask why
There is nothing worse than going into work knowing you are going to have to deal with the same unmanageable pile of work you could not cope with yesterday. But the question is not “how can Ideal with it?” but “why has it become unmanageable?” Take time to take a closer look at how you handle the roles in your job descriptions. Perhaps there are actions which should be delegated? Perhaps their roles you shouldn’t be doing? How can you streamline your daily tasks?
Streamlining your tasks and work environment can make for a much happier and effective day at work and create good future prospects. Whereas hopping from job to job every time things go a little awry can lead to a pretty poor looking CV and a dead end career. Think twice. Confront the issues first.
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