Lose the Bad Attitude at Work
Goodbye to Snide Remarks, Sarcasm and Sticky Situations
To paraphrase Led Zeppelin, “Good days, bad days, you know I’ve had my share.” Haven’t we all? Being part of the corporate rat race does not exclude you from being part of the corporeal human race. There are going to be days when what happens at home follows you to work or vice versa. That’s a given. But you don’t have to take it out on your colleagues, clients, and family. Some of us are so out of touch with our feelings that we don’t even know when we’ve got a bad attitude.
If you’re guilty of snapping at others, making sarcastic comebacks, finding fault with people or situations, spreading malicious rumors at the water cooler, and just being a pain in the butt know-it-all on a constant basis, you are in need of an attitude adjustment. Either take a vacation or get a new job. But above all, lose the ‘tude, dude! Here’s how:
Recognize the Source
Get better at recognizing the source of your feelings. Is the reason you chewed out your assistant really because she misspelled your name on an interoffice memo? Or was the extra dose of sarcastic humiliation you gave her in front of her coworkers due to a headache and lack of sleep? Be aware of when it’s you that is the culprit creating the bad vibe at work.
Be humble. We all make mistakes. It’s understood that tempers sometimes flare when people are working under the pressure of tight deadlines. If you chew someone out at work, admit it and make amends with a quick apology. Smoothing the waters as tensions arise goes a long way towards keeping yourself and your colleagues on an even keel.
Learn to take your own emotional temperature. If you’re feeling upset about something before you even cross the office threshold, slow down for a moment. Take a few deep breaths. In out, in out. Try to visualize letting the tension out with every breath. Go to the washroom and splash some cold water on your face if you need to. A walk around the block in the sunshine will also do wonders to decompress and relax your anxiety. If you’re truly not up to being at work, take a sick day. That’s what they are there for. Maybe all you need is a change-of-pace for half a day to get yourself back in the groove.
We Are Not All Out to Get You
Don’t take things personally. Just because the A/C in your office is the only one that isn’t working does not mean there’s an office conspiracy to make you miserable. It happens. Call maintenance and get on with your day.
Look for Solutions
Being the guy or gal who always points out the negative can backfire on you. For instance, if you are trying to gain points with your supervisors by pointing out errors that your associates or predecessors have made, think again. Nobody likes a snitch or a superior attitude. Don’t just point out problems—criticisms often fall on deaf ears. Present positive ideas you have for problem solving without denigrating coworkers. Be the one people look to for solutions.
Be a Team Player
We all want to get ahead and deserve to be recognized for our personal achievements. Where we sometimes get stuck is when we think someone else’s good fortune somehow diminishes our own. Taking all the credit for a team effort is not only self-serving, it’s a quick way to lower morale among your colleagues and cause them to be less than helpful when the next group project comes up. There’s enough to go around and we all have our time to shine. Be supportive of others while supporting your own career goals. Make the environment you work in a win-win situation for everyone on your team.
There are many options available for modern careerists. Depending on the nature of your problem, if you are having difficulties getting along with people at work, you can seek out the advice of a career coach, a spiritual counselor, or a therapist. Many companies include therapy in their health insurance plans. If you are seriously troubled or depressed and find it interfering with your daily activities at work and at home, you may want to take advantage of some professional help.
Take a Break
Sometimes the only thing needed is a real vacation. If you can’t remember the last time you took your full two week’s worth all at one time and spent it somewhere other than your own backyard, no wonder you’re in a bad mood! Book your next vacation today. Your colleagues will thank you.
Katy Allgeyer is an artist and freelance writer. She writes the Feng Shui column for Working World and the Tell Us About It column for Working Nurse.