There’s a reason why some people call their job “the daily grind.” Between late hours, harried deadlines and vicious water cooler gossip, you might be struggling to keep your head above the waves. Don’t let office politics or a heavy workload get you down; instead of giving your energy to your ever-present stress factors, focus on clearing your mind. Meditate in the mornings before work and zone in on a peaceful vibe that you carry throughout the day.
Adjust your focus. If you’re feeling glum at work, it could be because you’re focusing on the negative. Instead, look on the bright side. You’re alive and healthy enough to work. Perhaps the drama at work is teaching you a valuable lesson that will only make you stronger in the long run. To quote philosopher Napoleon Hill, “Inside every adversity exists the seed of an equivalent benefit.” Summon gratitude for the rainbow that will inevitably materialize from the storm.
Refuse to participate in office politics. Don’t gossip. Don’t complain. Excuse yourself when co-workers begin gossiping and complaining around you. If a colleague wants to tell you what another co-worker said about you, say you’re not interested in hearsay. Remember that whatever you think about grows -- keep your mind off the drama and focus on enjoying a peaceful work environment. Post motivational phrases and peaceful pictures around your workspace. Throughout the day, listen to music that soothes and uplifts you.
Be the best you can be. Every story has two sides; perhaps the drama you’re dealing with has a bit to do with how you’re approaching the situation. Acknowledge that no one’s perfect (not even you), and determine to put your best foot forward from now on. You won’t have much time to focus on office drama if you’re busy doing your job. Challenge yourself with renewed work goals. Decide to beat your old records. Give yourself a timeline to achieve a promotion or a lateral move that better utilizes your talents. If people insist on whispering behind your back, let it be about the great job you’re doing.
Enjoy yourself outside of work. Put your job (and its drama) in its proper place as only part of your life. Don’t give the situation more attention than it deserves. After your shift, do things that remind you who really are and what’s really important to you. Spend time with your family and friends. Eat at your favorite restaurants. Go to movies, concerts and plays. Read books that you can’t put down. Learn something new. Create beautiful art. Volunteer to help the less fortunate. Focus only the things that matter.
Speak up for yourself at work. If you need a raise, compile proof of your outstanding performance and attendance record and call a meeting with your boss. If you need your co-workers to communicate differently or be better team players, sit down with your colleagues and a HR representative and say what’s on your mind. Ask for whatever you feel will improve your work experience, whether it's added responsibility, an adjusted schedule so you can return to school, or revamping one or two processes to make your workday more effective. Just remember -- be fair, be honest, and listen as much as you speak. You might not get all (or any) of what you ask for, but at least you’ll know you tried.
Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.