Sometimes things just don’t go our way at the office. I get it. I felt that way this week. But after I took an evening to recover and recharge, I began thinking “how do I bounce back from this?” We can’t stay down forever, nor should we. In every tough situation, there is a lesson for us to learn about ourselves, about people, and about the realities of the world. Below are some tactics that helped me recover from my tough week, and I hope they will come in handy for you as well:
1. Don’t continue to stir the pot. When you have a tough day/week at work, be mindful that you do not make situations worse by spreading gossip, firing off passive-aggressive emails, or letting the quality of your work slip. I was certainly tempted to do these things, but exercise self-control and remain professional.
You do not want to damage your career prospects over a temporary misunderstanding.
Sometimes everyone just needs a little time and space to cool down and collect their thoughts. Do just that. Don’t do things that could reignite the tension.
2. Swallow the pride, and initiate resolution with your coworkers. If you have had a conflict with a colleague, the best thing to do is be the bigger person and try to find a common ground. Pull them aside for a private conversation, and just level with them.
“Hey, I don’t know how we developed this tension, but let me be the first to say I apologize for my part in it. Is there a way we can get past this?” Be extremely gracious. Admit faults and accept apologies as appropriate.
It may sound cliche to do this. But often neither you nor the person you’re at odds with REALLY wants the awkward tension to continue. It just takes one person to stand up and say let’s work this out.
3. Vent to a friend, but not a coworker. It’s okay to vent. We all need to do this. But try not to vent about work drama to other coworkers. Call a friend or family member that knows you well and can give you honest feedback on how you should approach the situation.
College friends, siblings, and even parents have known you long enough to understand what things frustrate you, and they may be able to give you advice based on their own work experiences.
4. Don’t quit your job because of a difficult week. Society has almost glamorized the moment when the undervalued, morally justified employee stands up and declares “I QUIT” as he storms out of the office to find a life of purpose and happiness.
In reality, this may not be the best course of action to take. I admit, the thought crosses my mind from time to time. “I want to go somewhere that has…” (fill in the blank with whatever you feel is missing from your current job).
Keep in mind that work, like any other relationship, has its ups and downs. Do not quit simply because you have found yourself at one of those down times. The next job you go to will have ups and downs as well. Sometimes we have to simply ride it out.
Saying “I QUIT” too soon could be a short sighted move if you do not have a Plan B lined up and if you have bills that need to be paid. And if you tell your coworkers you’re leaving, yet end up staying, that could cause your promotion prospects to be diminished, because the company cannot count on you to be a loyal employee.
5. Treat Yourself. My final tip for dealing with a difficult workweek is to treat yourself. I went bowling and enjoyed a nice dinner to relax and relieve stress. I hadn’t been bowling in a while, and it was great to just spend an evening focused on my own happiness.
What have you wanted to do for yourself that you’ve been putting off? What would put a smile on your face despite the craziness of this past week?
Take that tense energy and funnel it into an activity that brings you peace and joy. Then show up to work again renewed and ready to move on.
Conclusion. Hopefully you picked up some tips on how to deal with tough workweeks. Everyone is bound to have one of those weeks at some point, so now may be a good time to go ahead and plan how you will deal with that.
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