Posts Tagged ‘work’
I just got back from a holiday with my significant other and as I get ready to take a long weekend with family, I’m thinking about how fortunate I am this year to be taking so much time off. I realize not everyone has the same opportunity, so I thought I’d share some ways in which one can take a vacation at work without actually taking time off.
First, don’t sign up for things. If you’re the person who is always volunteering or stepping up to take on a task because everyone else at the conference table doesn’t seem to be picking up on the importance of getting things done, just wait a minute before you say yes. Believe it or not, sitting in awkward silence for even a few seconds just may be the thing that catapults others into action.
Be okay with not being included. Don’t feel like the last kid picked in gym class if you’re not part of the project committee or pout if you don’t have a role in the big product launch. No need to create work; enjoy the free time!
Invite someone to lunch. There’s no rule that says you can’t socialize during the day. Once in a while, take that full hour and just enjoy someone else’s company. If you need to take baby steps in this area, meet for coffee before work or challenge to yourself to have a 10 minute conversation with a coworker in which you talk about anything but work. Hint: let the other person talk!
Close the door (literally or figuratively). If you’re lucky enough to have an office with a door, close it for 20 minutes while you clean up a bit or savor that one piece of chocolate your diet allows. No door? Dare to close your eyes while you listen to a cut from your favorite island music CD or change your monitor’s screen saver to something that represents your happy place.
Inspire yourself. Take 10 minutes to journal ideas that don’t have anything to do with work. What would you do if you weren’t working? What’s next on your bucket list? Find a way to create the essence of big ideas if you don’t have the time or money to bring the big things to life right now. For example, want to float down the Nile? Check out the local museums for Egyptian exhibits or spend 30 minutes during your lunch break reading about the adventures of other travelers.
Ignore the little things. So what if Karen is late again or Dave can be seen brown-nosing the boss? Take a vacation from the junk!
Let’s face it; we often spend more hours with the people at work than we do our family and friends. Sometimes, if we’re lucky, our best friends are our co-workers, but even in the best of times it’s not unusual to be faced with the guy three cubicles down from you who you’d just as soon clobber than look at again. Fold in a heightened sense of tension due to uncertain job security these days and even the smallest disagreements can turn into firestorms. What you do when a conflict at work seems out of control; especially if you don’t have the luxury of delivering a Jerry McGuire-esque speech to the entire office before making your dramatic exit with Renee Zellwegger in tow? Working it out in a way that calms the situation, improves your working relationship, and satisfies both your needs is ideal, but where do you start?
First, keep in mind that whenever you’re in conflict with anyone (at work or anywhere else for that matter) both parties are not against each other, they’re just for themselves. If you can objectively look at the situation and put yourself in the other person’s shoes, you’re more likely to see what it is he wants and find a way to deliver that without diminishing your own needs. Asking someone you view as an adversary if he’s willing to find a solution that works for both you often ends with a creative and satisfying solution. Thinking you have to beat him at his own game or publically humiliate him creates a loss for you as much as it does for him. Being seen as a bully or unnecessarily smashing a coworker might feel good in the moment, but it leaves you with a tarnished reputation and you may never know the extent to which others go out of their way not to recommend you for promotions or raises because of it. Bad behavior on your part will only put your name at the top of the list for the next round of layoffs.
Second, think beyond what appears to be the issue at hand. You may have had situations in the past in which you agreed to a resolution only to find that the same problem repeats itself over and over again. If you’re fighting with a coworker about timely reports, chances are you’re really disagreeing about deeper values such as respect and reputation and the reports are only a demonstration of the values you hold near and dear. Try having a conversation about what the issue represents for both of you. You might be surprised to learn that the hoopla isn’t about reports at all but the tone in which you ask for them or that your boss feels you’re disrespecting her authority when you miss a deadline. Keeping a positive line of communication open will keep the noise and chatter down and that can only be a good thing.
Next, control what you can control. If things are going crazy and it seems everyone is at each other’s throats, choose the amount of energy you’ll put into it. Even if the only thing you can control is how you’ll make a graceful exit, put a plan together that has you leaving on good terms when you can afford to make a move. Change the way you look at the problem and talk about it terms of a learning experience with a hopeful ending. When asked, saying things like, “It’s not been an easy time, but I’m confident we’ll figure something out” will move others to see the conflict as resolvable. Heck, they may even see you as a leader, and that’s not a bad thing if a boss has to decide to keep you or a coworker.
Finally, when your expectations don’t fit the situation, even though you’ve tried everything you can imagine to make them fit, change your expectations. Notice that I said change, not lower. It may be possible that your expectations are what are causing your frustration and the conflict to continue. I’m not talking job performance issues here, but rather personal preferences for how another person behaves. Your frustrations will decrease if you can stop holding others to standards they don’t know they’re being measured against. Give yourself permission to get a new yardstick and laugh all the way to the bank; or at least every day that you earn a paycheck.