Don’t Lose Your Head
There are people who drive you absolutely bonkers (I feel your pain), and make you lose your cool at work.
They don’t “do the work” and expect other people to cover for them, they’re constantly running their mouths all day instead of actually doing their work, they play their music through speakers instead of ear buds, they take more than their fair share of any communal food in the break room, and it doesn’t matter if it’s Monday or Friday, they’re always complaining about having to be at work (there’s a fix for that — QUIT!)
These are the people who cook fish in the office microwave and follow it up by burning a bag of microwave popcorn (a death penalty offense, amiright??)
We all have our personal pet peeves which trigger us to the point we might lose our heads over it
One of mine is people who ask questions whose answers can easily be found online, reside in a shared folder on the company networked drive, or one that they’ve asked me more than five times in the last three months.
At one job a sales team of 8 or 10 people would ask me the exact same question multiple times per day (sometimes right after one another) even after they were provided a digital copy of the answer via the shared hard drive, a physical copy given to each individual salesperson, and a copy of that form taped to each of the overhead bins of their cubicles. I decided sarcasm was my final refuge and I bought one of the coin-operated gumball machines with the plastic containers inside, and I put the answer to that one question they kept asking inside the plastic shells and called it the Dumball Machine. From that day one they could put two quarters in the machine to get the answer or go find the information at their desk.
That solution might seem a little snarky to you, but let me assure you it was an extreme solution after I believe all reasonable efforts to help them understand how to retrieve the information on their own had been exhausted.
There are two ways you can deal with people who make you lose your head
The first way is to keep kowtowing to their laziness or obstinance or selfishness (or whatever is the cause of their inability to efficiently function in the role for which they were hired). You can be patient and kind and bite your tongue and give them the benefit of the doubt to the point where their interruptions just become part of your day. In my opinion this is just training people to take advantage of you.
I demand a lot from myself in terms of getting results for my clients, educating myself to learn new things to avoid being dependent on others, and I want to behave like a partner to my co-workers. One that they can rely on to pull their own weight and complete work correctly and on time.
The second way is to help the person create a system for finding their own answers (and special folder on their computer, bookmarks in their web browser, how-to videos on YouTube, etc.) and refer them back to those tools when they come knock-knock-knockin’ on your door asking a question you’ve already helped them find the answer to in the past.
The stuff you send in emails, files you save to a drive, etc. are all searchable.
If the person returns asking about something you’ve previously sent to them, tell them to search their email inbox for an attachment or “youtube” keyword — you briefly give them information to help them find the thing, you don’t just dig it up and take extra time to resend it to them again.
Make Up Your Own Mind
You might find my advice on this topic too stark — to black and white — and that’s totally cool with me. You do you, my friend! I’m definitely suggesting these options after you feel you’ve reached a breaking point. These extremes are not my default response when someone asks me a question, but everyone has “that line” people can cross, and these are the responses I think are fair after that line has been repeatedly trampled underfoot.
I hope these ideas prevent you from losing your head, and instead help you keep your head the game.
Photo by Jan Huber on Unsplash