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<xTITLE>Snarling, Screaming Or Sobbing At Work? You’re Not alone!</xTITLE>

Snarling, Screaming Or Sobbing At Work? You’re Not alone!

by Lynne Eisaguirre
May 2009 Lynne  Eisaguirre

Everyone’s upset at work theses days it seems. If you haven’t lost your job, your spouse has and you may fear you’ll be next. Even if you’re a secure manager, you may be tossing and turning at night over the next round of layoffs you have to implement.

Whatever your status, trying to work or find your next job in an emotional fog won’t help. Instead, you need to find a way to temporarily remove your emotions from the task at hand.

Separate Your Feelings from the Issues

To deal with emotions around a challenging job situation, try taking stock of who you are and what baggage you bring to the situation. Your real task in life is to take care of yourself: You render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and the rest is all yours. No matter what the issues are that you’re facing, your job is part of a business, and it’s imperative that, as much as you possibly can, you park your issues at the door, separate your emotional needs from your financial ones, and give your best rational thinking to your work.

But Don’t Stuff Your Feelings

Let me be clear: I’m not suggesting at all that you suppress your feelings. You ignore them at your own risk, because your feelings are the keys to recognizing what’s really true for you and what you really need. By the same token, you don’t let yourself break down sobbing or fly into a rage in the middle of your presentation to the board of directors. That’s the kind of thing you do in the safety of your own home, with a friend, or in a session with a therapist. By separating your feelings out like that, by taking action to open your heart and vent your feelings on your own time, you have the reward of clearing your mind. This way, you’re not dragging your frustration or disappointment into the office and letting it sabotage you.

Seeing what needs to be done

The more you can move out of the realm of emotion at work, the more likely you are to see the situation for what it really is and be able to make rational decisions based on that information. When feelings aren’t clouding your thoughts, your brain will function at a higher level. Not only will you see the situation more clearly, you’ll see what’s under your feelings: the unrealistic expectations you’ve been harboring about your boss and about yourself.

You could discover that you you’ve been thinking the boss should know how good your work is, even though she barely has time to read her own e-mail.

You may figure out that for your entire career, you have been driven by a kind of perfectionism that has a dark side of resentment and bitterness. Or maybe you’ll find a pattern of trying so hard to prove yourself that you end up undermining your efforts and then self-destructing.

The point is that once you have insight into the underlying causes of your feelings, it becomes easier to handle them and you’re less likely to feel them so deeply or to stay stuck in them. Bringing them down to a manageable level will increase your chances of success in dealing with your current challenge. That will also help you manage all the other arenas of your life, which are probably affected by whatever situation you’re faced with.


Lynne Eisaguirre is a former practicing employment attorney whose most recent books are: We Need to Talk Tough Conversations with Your Boss: Tackle Any Topic With Sensitivity and Smarts and We Need to Talk Tough Conversations with Your Employee: Tackle Any Topic With Sensitivity and Smarts (Adams Media January 2009), as well as several books on conflict, diversity and harassment. She has presented speeches and seminars to hundreds of organizations across the United States and Canada, including Harley-Davidson, Southwest Airlines, Bristol Myers Squibb, Sun Microsystems and many others. Her media credits include CNN Headline News, ABC News, Bloomberg TV, Fox TV, U.S. News. & World Reports, The Boston Globe and The San Francisco Chronicle.

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