It all began on a sunny afternoon in the kitchenette of an unsuspecting office. An innocent conversation about an actress’s glorious assets quickly exploded into a four-part soap opera.
If you missed any of the action you can find it here:
I’m a fan of ‘The Office’ UK. In the final Episode Tim, you may know him as Jim from the US version, had a confessional moment which stuck with me.
Tim Canterbury: The people you work with are people you were just thrown together with. You know, you don't know them, it wasn't your choice, and yet you spend more time with them then you do your friends or your family. But probably all you've got in common is the fact that you walk around on the same bit of carpet for 8 hours a day.
There was something so true and a bit sad that hit me. I remember being on yet another business trip in which I felt the golden handcuffs that attached me to my laptop tighten just that tiny bit more.
Returning to my hotel room at 1 am after a very long day I went about my usual wind down routine of having a glass of wine and a bath while watching something on my laptop. That particular night I watched ‘The Office’ and that quote I’m a bit embarrassed to admit brought a tear to my eye.
I spent more time with my laptop screen and co-workers than anyone else in my life at that point. Given that I had recently relocated my life to a new country for me this meant that I couldn’t even afford the time to make new friends of my own. My social mental well being was entirely at the mercy of the people the gods at GiantTech Corp. decided should be in my department and team along with me.
Add to that all of the stress of censoring behavior, overworking myself, and constantly proving myself in the name of keeping my job. I can see how easily small misunderstandings and a loss of perspective can quickly spiral out of control.
It took me a few places of work, teams, and episodes of my emotions and circumstances getting the better of me to realize that I have a lot more control than I realize. I won’t sugar coat it and say that it is easy. It is a huge exercise in willpower, self-control, and frantically pacing up and down many many stairs in the office building to build this new skill. In the long run, it is worth it. All of the anger and blood pressure I needlessly wasted on people who did not deserve it started to disappear.
The added side effect, I became a force to be feared. Feared simply because when provoked the expectation was that I would get angery, fight back, explode - pick your reaction. However, when my reaction was that of calm and being unaffected, it was unfamiliar and the unknown can be a scary thing.
How can you find that inner peace and skills to handle anything that comes your way?
Next time anger flares over at work try to take a breath and try to see what power you have.
You have the power over your reaction. Does this moment, conversation take anything away from you?
Does it change how your ability to do your job?
Will the person that made the comment, give that comment a second thought after they walk away?
Will someone die as a result of this conversation or comment?
It is just work, this is not the whole of who you are and the whole of your life.
Take a deep breath, remember your worth. No one can take that away from you. Only you can give it away.
You are worth more than you know. Never forget that.