Joyce Richman is a career counselor, consultant and coach with Joyce Richman & Associates. Joyce appears frequently as a guest on television, is a newspaper columnist, and is the author of Road, Routes, and Ruts: A Guidebook for Career Success. A popular lecturer, she has conducted seminars and workshops throughout the United States and has consulted in Belgium, Canada and England.
You may have read about the flight attendant who had it with his job and the people he was paid to serve: The guy shared his four-letter feelings over the intercom, grabbed a few beers, exited via emergency chute (the plane was on the tarmac at JFK Airport in New York at the time) and went home.
From the response the story has received, it sounds like a lot of you would like to slip down that chute with him. But wisdom prevails and you suck it up, go home, rest up and return to the same stressful mess you left the evening before.
Others of you are less able to leave it at the door, and you’re saying and doing things that will eject you from the workplace before you have time to leave on your own. It may be a short-term solution, but it’s not one that will serve you well.
When you’re feeling stress pile up and know that you’re edging closer to banging heads — yours or others — you need to seek relief. That relief can be found in a variety of places — some helpful, some not so much.
Let’s start with what doesn’t work: It’s not a good idea to eat your way to bliss, drink yourself into oblivion or smoke yourself to a crisp. It’s not a good idea to take it out on the folks at home, despite your belief that they love you unconditionally. Unconditional love doesn’t include abuse, verbal or any other.
Here’s what can work. It is a good idea to take walks, have talks and get away on weekends, even if your getaway is the backyard or a local park that you explore by yourself or with others. Bottom line: Find a change of scenery and a fresh perspective.
Everyone has a story. Your story influences your responses. You have context or experience for behaving as you do, when you see or hear others saying or doing things differently from you, given the same or similar circumstances. Their stories, experience and context influence their responses and flavor what they see and feel as right or wrong for them. When your story collides with theirs, misunderstandings can fester.
Understanding the other person’s perspective and knowing their story enables you to frame the exchange and navigate the intersection differently than you otherwise might. That’s not to say that you can yield to every argument or make peace with folks who just aren’t interested. What you can do is lower the intensity.
How might you go about doing that? Do more asking than telling, more conversing than concluding. Your impatience will not make others work harder or faster. Your anger will not make others concede their points or change their opinions, no matter how hard you fight to make it so.
Move closer to those you want to stay farthest away. Talk more with those to whom you have little to say.
Everyone has a story and that story is compelling, once you understand it. It may not change your values, but if you really listen, it will expand your point of view.