This post builds on one from a few weeks ago about stress management. There’s no doubt that many people have a lot of job stress. (Me included!) Unless you start your own business, win the lottery, or come into a large inheritance, though, your job (or your spouse’s job) is a necessity.
How to keep your job from making you stressed out? Well you start by implementing the suggestions in the Stress Management post above. After that, here are 3 more ideas to reduce stress.
1. DON’T COMPLAIN
As tempting as it might be to spend lunch hour listing the 1001 faults of your evil boss, RESIST the temptation. Complaining does NOT help. It only gets everybody around you riled up and creates dissatisfaction and unhappiness. And even worse than complaining about your boss is complaining about your coworkers! You know that your comments WILL get back to the person about whom you were complaining.
Instead of complaining, make it a point to be the positive person in the office. Thank others when they do a good job or help you out. Compliment at least one person every day. And try to spread it out – don’t compliment the SAME person every day, LOL!
Even better is to mention to the boss from time to time when you caught your coworker doing something right. Everybody likes to hear about things going well. The whole thing about squeaky wheels getting extra grease is NOT accurate. If you’ve got an organization full of squeaky wheels the whole lot of you are going nowhere fast, and making each other miserable the whole way.
If you happen to BE the boss, remember to praise in public and correct in private. Give criticism gently. Use the “I liked how you…, I would really like to see you…” formula, giving praise followed by a constructive comment. Replace “Don’t do this” criticisms with “Please do this” suggestions. Those who are employees like to know what they are expected to do and usually will adjust behavior if you tell them what you’d like to see them do.
2. BE CONSTRUCTIVE
This follows from #1. If there is something you can’t stand about your office and you’re not supposed to complain about it, what do you do? Come up with a suggestion about how it could be done better, whatever it is. For instance, if your cubicle is always cold, don’t complain to your coworkers about it! Call Plant Services (or whoever handles HVAC) and ask them to come check the system. Maybe the vent above your office was closed by mistake the last time the ducts were cleaned.
That seems simple but there are more difficult problems to tackle. Suppose two female staff have small children and want to work part time, but the office policy is that these positions are only full time. They might go together to the HR department and make a proposal for a job-sharing arrangement. This might allow the company to let them work part-time while only having to hire one new staff member. The company then has THREE happy, productive staff instead of two unhappy employees spreading the misery to the rest of their coworkers.
3. HAVE FUN
Lighten up! Our office does a serious business. We see people when they are not at their best. People are sick or hurt or scared, confused, angry, all sorts of negative emotions sometimes. They leak those emotions all over us too! It would be really easy for us to let the stress of it get us down.
We try very hard to keep things reasonably light around the office. We have dress-down days for sporting events, Valentine’s Day and other holidays, and we dress up for Halloween. You should have seen Amanda, Stephanie and Michael last Halloween, their coordinated costumes were awesome, LOL!
If your office doesn’t celebrate birthdays and other milestones, do a Secret Santa gift swap, or do other fun holiday theme stuff, you might want to initiate it. Office morale is like a garden, a little fertilizer goes a long way. Silly contests like an ugly sweater contest or who can decorate their cubicle in the most creative way are great ways to get everyone laughing.
Everybody has job stress. When it crosses into wondering if you can stand to go to work one more day, it’s time to take a look at whether you’re part of the problem. Stop complaining, develop a more positive attitude, and create some fun!