Temper, Temper! Staying Cool At Work

So, you’ve just started your new job or apprenticeship and you find that there is someone who you simply can’t stand the sight of. Don’t worry, it happens. The trick is not letting it boil over until you lose your temper. Losing your temper at work is rarely acceptable, and is unlikely to portray you in a good light. Of course, you would much rather be getting on with your job, doing some training, earning some money and pursuing your career. You can’t afford to have it side-tracked by someone else, but how do you deal with the situation and keep your cool at work?

Whether you are currently in a job or are looking for work, learning how to keep your temper is a great skill that you can take with you anywhere.

If you feel your temper fraying at the edges then the best thing to do is to remove yourself from the situation – leave the room to get a drink, for example. Give yourself time to clear your head and regain your focus and perspective.

You might want to try doing some deep breathing, counting to five in your head on each breath in and each one out (up to ten breaths or however many you need to calm down!). This can be useful when you can’t leave the room – for example in a meeting.

Another tip is to try to remember that, while you can’t control what other people do, you can always control how you respond to it. Rather than allowing yourself to get angry, just roll your eyes and let yourself observe as Steve from accounts makes an idiot of himself – again. Don’t lower your standards to the level of idiots – they’ll always win as they are the experts at it.

Dealing with awkward people and situations is part of the soft skills that employers admire, so the sooner you get used to it, the better for your career.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should accept anyone making a fool out of you. You are allowed to calmly tell them how you feel or ask them to stop doing something. But as soon as you raise your voice you are losing control, as well as the moral high ground.

Getting into a heated argument or even a physical fight (I have seen such things at previous employers!), will never reflect well on you. Generally, such extreme reactions are unlikely, unless you let any bad feeling secretly build up inside of you. You should try to address any situations as quickly as possible, before they become an issue.

However, in those cases where you don’t seem to have much choice but to grin and bear it (if your boss is an idiot, for example), then you will need to decide how much you can take. If it is short term, then you may feel that you can manage for the duration until you qualify, get promoted, etc.

That said, you should never accept abusive or bullying behaviour at work. Be sure to report it where it occurs, and if necessary, remember that you always have the ultimate answer – just leave and go somewhere else instead.

Of course, if you do decide to find work elsewhere, you might need to be careful about revealing your reasons for leaving, you don’t want to seem like an unreasonable employee. However, that is something to deal with when you think about how to write your covering letter!

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