Don’t Let Anger Beat You

“There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.” ~ Plato

If you turn on the news lately it is easy to justify your rising blood pressure. And if you couple that with searching for the elusive next job or career then some righteous anger seems all the more acceptable.

But here’s the thing- it’s really not.  Anger is one of the most destructive emotions and it rarely leads us to anywhere positive.  According to Dr. Bernard Golden, author of the book, Overcoming Destructive Anger, anger is basically fool’s gold.  “[A]nger can give you a cortisol rush that makes you feel alive and energized. It can also help you avoid taking responsibility for your own decisions, since anger is a way of blaming others for your suffering. Plus, anger can temporarily give you what you want: It can distract you from pain…”

So what do we do about it? If what we are angry about is something we have control over then we have to try to fix it. If it is out of our control then getting upset is really just counter productive. We need stop being mad and start getting busy on the next task at hand.

For instance,  say you sent your resume and contact info to dozens of recruiters and heard nothing. What is in your control? Redesigning you resume so that it is a fit both for ATS and human readers, as well as networking with recruiters on LinkedIn. What is not in your control? Whether or not recruiters message you back. Do your best, dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s. Then, don’t get mad, just move on to the next group of targets.

Believe me, I am not saying this is easy, and I am as guilty as the next person in letting situations completely frustrate me. However, it helps to take a step back and look at things objectively. Don’t let your anger at the situation beat you.

Be Who You Want Others To Be

“The sort of words a man says is the sort he hears in return.” ― Homer, The Iliad

Be honest. How many times a day to you complain about a coworker either out-loud or simply to yourself? If you need both hands to count on you’re probably pretty average.

Our boss doesn’t listen.

The client is not reasonable.

Our team-mate isn’t pulling her weight.

Now, how often do you ask the same questions of yourself?

Am I always listening?

Am I always reasonable?

Am I pulling my weight?

Be the person you want others to be first.

Stop Complaining At Work

“When something happens, the only thing in your power is your attitude toward it; you can either accept it or resent it…What really frightens and dismays us is not external events themselves, but the way in which we think about them.  It is not things that disturb us, but our interpretation of their significance.” ~ Epictetus

We have all done it. Sat in the break-room whining about the latest round of productivity or accountability goals passed down from those on high. Or maybe you are in management and you wish those under you could just see the big picture and stop worrying about their individual fiefdoms. No one demographic holds the patent on complaining.

Letting off some steam now and then is OK and can even be healthy – in moderation. But when your job feels like one big gripe session it may be time to make some changes.

Of course we’d love to be able to eliminate those things about our jobs that drive us crazy, but often that isn’t a possibility. So we must deal with what is in our control – our response to things.

This doesn’t mean we should put up with legitimately poor, or abusive, working conditions. Rather, we should stop and recognize those things that we can change, and those things we should just accept and get on with our day.

Believe me, I realize this is easier said than done, so here are a few concrete tips to help.

Take a leave of absence– No, you can’t go on sabbatical, but you can remove yourself from a poisonous situation. If the break-room turns into the “gripe-room” just step out of it.

Have a gratitude attitude– The next time you feel the urge to whine, remember all the things you should be grateful for. No matter how bad your job may be there are over 10,000,000 without one.

Be a problem solver- If there is a bad situation at your job, do what you can to fix things. Focus on what can be done.

So take a deep breath and remember that the calmer we become, the greater our influence and success will be. After all, the best way to take out your frustrations over the annoying aspects of your job is to succeed in spite of them.

Midlife Career Changers: The Brave

Doubling down on a failed path is not hard to do. In fact, many do it all the time. They know they’re on the wrong career path, but society has brainwashed them into thinking that staying the course, and toughing it out are noble endeavors.

Don’t get me wrong, a certain stick-to-itiveness is necessary. However, when deep down in your bones you know it is time for a change and yet you still emphasize the status quo, you’re taking the easy way out.

You have a choice between hoping off the hamster wheel of a unfulfilling job , or staying on the prescribed career ladder (I know, that was a painfully mixed metaphor).  I think the right choice is obvious. The hard part is convincing those around you it is a good decision. Midlife career changes are possible, but they take guts.

Career Resilience

Control is what everyone wants. That’s why we do everything from pore over the latest productivity apps, to building walls, to making 5-year plans. If we put enough structure around our professional and personal lives we’ll be able to control everything.

But deep down we know this doesn’t work. Life is anything but predictable, controllable. The better way forward is to build resiliency.

So how do you build career resiliency? Put structures in place that help with that unpredictability. Really, it is all about being proactive rather than reactive.

Instead of scrambling to update your resume once you’ve been downsized make a resume refresh a yearly task. New year’s is a good time to look back over your past year’s accomplishments and include them on your career documents.

Instead of engaging on LinkedIn after you find out you need a new job, make professional networking a regular part of your life. Pick one day a week to go on and engage with like-minded people. It could be as little as 20 minutes a week, but you’ll be guaranteed to have better connections in place when you really need them.

Instead of deciding to take a class or go to a seminar only after your job description has changed, make continuous improvement a part of your professional life. The internet has made continuing education simple and affordable to pursue.

These are obviously just a few activities you could do, but hopefully you get the idea. So let go of trying to control everything about your career and start building resiliency.