• Extreme frustration prevents you from being successful
  • Take time to calm and detach yourself from the situation before addressing it
  • Use your creativity to overcome the challenges and win
You have an idea.

An idea for your company that is mind-blowing, earth-shaking, profit-raking, and client-satisfying. You even have the facts to prove it, and it’s bound to get you that promotion.

However, when you tell your boss about it, they shrug it off.

You try again, this time putting it in presentation slides with great pictures, quotes, and even an appendix, all of which you spent weeks putting together.

It gets brushed off - again.

This time, you’re ready.

You put in so much work because you genuinely believe how important this idea is and you know for sure that it’ll boost your cred, rep and personal brand at work.

You dig much deeper. Put out surveys. Do all the crazy shit that nobody in your company has even done for existing projects. Then you decide to present it to your boss’ boss because your boss is just doesn’t get it.

And all you get is a “Great Job… we’ll think it over.


You’re doing anything and everything to make this work and yet, you’re not making any progress. Everything is getting shot down. Nothing is working.

This is what banging your head against the wall is all about. And now, you’ve got the forehead bruises to prove it.

What “Banging Your Head Against The Wall” Means And How It Happens

To bang your head against the wall or against a brick wall means feeling frustrated about doing something that seems impossible. Collins Dictionary takes it a step further by adding that it means expressing frustration when someone is blocking you from making progress on something.

So a person or a seemingly insurmountable problem can be the brick wall.

And we know that feeling. That feeling of total and all-consuming frustration when nothing goes just the way you want it. When you feel completely choked because of all that’s going on around you and it seems there’s no way out or around it.

Like the walls are closing in and you try to bang your head against them to get away. But you end up with a bad headache.

We completely get it and we know some examples of how it happens at work.

Here are some cases where you can feel extreme frustration at work.

1. When It’s Nothing But Roadblocks

You’ve heard of the quote “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results” right?

So you know you’re not insane because you’ve been trying different options to get what you want. But you’re still getting the same results.

You’ve been trying to get a promotion.

Or get a project that’s important to you approved.

Or maybe you’ve been trying to fix or escalate an issue that keeps coming up.

All of these cause extreme frustration because it comes with that feeling that you know what you're asking for makes things better in some way but just won’t make it to light.

It’s also frustrating because of the time and energy you spend trying to remove all those fucking brick walls.

2. Getting Passed Over For Promotion

No amount of writing can explain the extreme anger and frustration that happens when you don’t get that promotion. Other examples pale in comparison to this because this situation makes you feel unappreciated and angry.

All the work you put in including all of that extra overtime just doesn’t seem to get you the recognition you fucking deserve.

It’s even more painful when the person that got promoted is your junior.

Or worse, a junior that you trained.

It just makes you feel like you’re spinning your wheels in your career, feeling stuck and not making any progress.

3. Rude Criticisms From Your Boss Or Coworkers

Constructive criticisms and feedback are necessary for growth in all areas including your work life. You know and appreciate this as it helps you improve.

But you just hate it when your asshole boss does it.

They blow it out of proportion, make fun of you, and even call others to laugh at your mistakes again.

Like fucking middle school.

4. Coworkers Who Take Credit For Your Work

We all have assholes in the office but backstabbers take it a step further.

It’s very infuriating and hurtful when coworkers take credit for your work. It breaks all forms of trust and puts you so on guard that you miss out on the fun things at work.

It’s also very frustrating when no one believes that you’re actually the owner of the work.

5. Useless Managers

Managers are called managers for a reason. They manage the team and ensure everything goes smoothly and profitably for the company and the employees.

But some managers are just unresponsive bosses. They don’t know the first thing it takes to manage and lead others and resort to crude means.

It’s like, “if you can’t add something good to my life, then why are you my manager?” Right?

Um, no. The corporate world is too brutal to care.

That’s why we have bosses that don’t give a shit and even worse, fucking clueless executives that don’t know their ass from their elbow.

6. Tech Failure

Technology is supposed to make all of our lives easier but you have a hard time believing it when these supposedly smart gadgets do dumb things.

Like, die when you need that very important file during a very important meeting.

Or when your laptop’s processor decides to go into an endless loop and lock you out of any input.

Or when the WiFi or VPN is slow as molasses and sending a file takes forever.

And you wonder how this is the digital age. Ugh!

7. Dealing With PITA & Asshole Coworkers

Sometimes it feels like dealing with pain in the ass (PITA) coworkers just sucks all the life and joy out of you.

You have to find a way to navigate through work with all its stress and bullshit plus deal with 35-year-olds with the emotional intelligence of a spoiled 2-year-old. It’s time to grow up folks and be an adult at work.

And it gets worse when they’re the boss’ favorites. Nepotism sucks.

We feel just how frustrated you are when you deal with them and sometimes it may even seem like a relief to physically bang your head against a wall.

How To Minimize Extreme Frustration

Frustration comes in many ways. But the effects it can have on your health are even worse.

Extreme frustration can lead to rumination where you constantly worry about that stupid situation at work which then negatively affects other areas of your life. It becomes really hard to keep a positive attitude when life sucks.

It also damages our relationships as we become prone to taking out our frustrations on those around us rather than addressing the damn problem.

So it’s important to prevent or control this feeling for your mental wellbeing, your career success, and your relationship with others.

1. Know Your Triggers

Sun Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher, wisely said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles”.

Identify what triggers you. It could be something telling like a tic that starts when you get worked up.

Or your heart starts to race when you’re about to say something you’ll regret.

Or your eyes begin to burn when that sinking feeling of anger and frustration comes.

Or your ears prick up and heat.

Or it could be your blood vessels in your neck and head popping out.

Identifying your triggers will help you to create an early warning system for yourself.

For example, when your eyes flare, your back straightens, and your shoulders shake after receiving a rude comment from your boss, you can immediately identify this as your body’s signs of frustration and that can prevent sudden outbursts or actions that you’re bound to regret.

2. Give Yourself A Timeout

Once you’ve identified your emotions, the next thing is to give yourself a timeout.

Take that time to get away from the madness and just breathe. Take slow and full breaths and concentrate on what makes you happy.

Don’t take our word for it. This study by the Department of Physiology at Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta shows the benefits of this simple exercise.

Doing this enables you to detach yourself from the situation and approach it with a clear and objective mindset.

3. Build A Stress Relief Routine

As simple as it sounds, a stress-relief routine that you begin immediately you feel the onset of your frustration triggers can help reduce the feeling instantly.

Think about a baby crying who immediately sees you do a funny face. They laugh instantly and are relieved for long enough while you sort out why they’re crying (hunger, wet diapers, etc).

It works the same way here. This routine helps calm you down and approach the source of your frustration with a calm, positive, and even happy mindset.

Try some of these things:
- Going for a walk
- Meditation or Yoga
- Listening to music
- Taking a nap
- Playing with a pet
- Using a stress-relieving toy

You could do one or more of these or any short 10-minute activity that calms you.

Check out this ultimate beginner’s guide to managing work stress for even more ideas.

You don’t need to wait till you’re frustrated to do this either. Going through this routine daily and weekly prevents frustration as you’ll be too calm and happy to get worked up.

4. Channel Your Frustration To Something Productive

“When we are dissatisfied, instead of fight or flight, sometimes we invent,” says Adam Grant, a renowned organizational behavior psychologist.

Sometimes a 10-minute yoga session is not enough to calm you, especially in a situation where you’re unable to stay in that toxic environment any longer.

Channeling all that energy into something productive is another option.

Physical exercise such as going for a run, hitting the punching bag at the gym or even less intensive activities like gardening or adult coloring can put you at ease.

You could also channel that energy into doing other work-related tasks for the day if that helps to get you detached. Doing this will help you get ahead of other nagging projects and allow you to experience some kind of positive progress.

This will help you to keep the momentum when things get fucking hard. More on this later.

5. Reframe Your Perspective

Once you’ve detached yourself from the situation, it’s easy to fall back into overthinking the situation.

That’s why you need to reframe your perspective.

Think of the situation as an intriguing puzzle that needs to be solved.

Or an opportunity to learn, build more skills and gain more experience.

Think of it this way and the solutions will begin to pour out of your head.

This is because you’re now looking at it from the outside, the bigger picture. You’re level-headed enough to see what pieces of the puzzle you’ve been missing because you were previously too focused on the one piece in front of you.

It helps you to focus on your strengths and on what’s working, rather than what’s not working.

6. Manage Your Expectations

With self-awareness comes the ability to manage your expectations.

You need to ask yourself if your frustration is within your control.

Are you stressed out about what your bitchy boss will think about your new idea?

Or worried about your coworkers' opinions of you?

Or nervous about how your managers see you at work?

Just remember this - you can’t control the emotions and actions of others but you can control your own.

Read that again.

Your job is to do what you have to do when you say you’ll do it and to enjoy the moment. What others think doesn’t matter.

What your boss thinks should only be tied to your performance and if your performance is great then everything else will fall into place.

7. Start Small & Get Quick Wins

Start with what you can first.

Sometimes a situation may not be very bad but it’s the overwhelming sense you get when trying to confront the entire problem that stresses and frustrates you.

So start small by breaking things down into smaller more manageable pieces and work your way up.

By doing it this way, you’re tackling the issues in smaller chunks and it increases the chances that you’ll sort it out. And, this allows you to get quick wins earlier and celebrate small victories to turn things around.

8. Vent To An Objective And Trusted Coworker

Just speaking to someone about your problem is a stress-reliever alone. That’s one way therapy is effective.

But venting to a coworker you trust and who is objective about the situation beats speaking to just anyone random hands-down. It’s even better when it can be your work BFF.

That coworker cares about you enough to sympathize with you and calm you down, but they’re also objective enough to come up with a solution to help your situation.

Be careful not to vent to someone who’s part of the situation or who you don’t trust.

While venting to them may be temporarily relieving, it always best to raise the issue up the management chain to get the support you need.

And don’t forget that misery loves company so a coworker who’s involved in the situation shouldn’t be your first listening ear. Otherwise, it’ll just turn into a giant blamestorming session.

9. Speak To Your Boss

Is this situation serious enough that your boss needs to know or is your boss the cause of the situation? Let them know!

Easier said than done, right?

Yeah, we know. Which is why we’re here to help.

If you feel that it’s a situation your boss is better equipped to handle, reach out to them and be transparent. Explain the situation, what you’ve done so far, and how you think they could help.

It’s all a part of escalating issues at work and one of your manager’s responsibilities is to help solve and remove these issues.

That way, they know exactly where to help and to make your life easier.

However, if your boss doesn’t give a shit, then you’ll need to take up another level.

While you may need to supplement with other measures, a good communication style with your boss always helps.

10. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

It may seem we covered it in the point above, but communication is so important that it needs its own point.

No one is a mind reader. Your boss and coworkers certainly aren’t.

So if someone’s working style is restrictive to yours and causes frustration, try adjusting. Adjusting here refers to both you and the other person.

Communicate to find a common ground.

Ask their preferences and communicate yours.

Would you rather have a bi-weekly in-person status update with your boss rather than through email?

Communicate that.

Is a coworker fucking pissing you off?

Communicate that by letting them know - politely and professionally. Maybe they have no idea about it.

Communication is also non-verbal. If you need people to, say, stop reaching out after 8 PM, then stop answering their messages. They’ll get the message loud and clear.

If they don’t, communicate that to them verbally.

It saves you a lot of stress and prevents frustration. It also reduces frustration when a situation gets out of control as you’ve established a clear line of communication and transparency.

11. Start Another Project

This is exactly what Brad Bird did when he got appointed as a director for Pixar after a string of failed projects.

Brad put together a team of misfits and disgruntled Pixar employees whose ideas had been rejected to create the blockbuster animation, The Incredibles.

Today, there’s no millennial alive with access to a TV that hasn’t heard of The Incredibles.

And it all started when a bunch of frustrated employees directed all their energy into another project that they truly cared about.

If your frustration is with a situation that isn’t easy to change, such as the office politics or bureaucracy in your company, but you care too deeply about the company or its mission, start another project.

Start many projects. Anything that matches your vision and will bring you satisfaction.

You may not be an animator but your project could be the next Mr. Incredible your company needs.

12. Visualize Your Situation A Year From Now

This simple exercise helps to reframe your perspective just like we discussed above.

A year from now, will this situation even matter?

Is it worth the dent in my happiness?

Is it worth the strain on my relationship?

If not, why worry?

If yes - even though nothing is really worth your happiness and stress - then reframe your perspective and address the problem so you can continue to live your life!

No More Head Banging, Just Happy Productivity

Face it, there’s no getting around some frustrations at work. However, you don’t need to keep banging your head against the wall. It won’t do you any good.

You need to change your perspective and approach to work.

Create a process that works for you to manage the issues and develop a stress-relief routine. This will help you stay calm during stressful work situations and remove the tension that cramped your headspace.

In fact, as you get better at this, you can flip the tables on the situation and use it to your advantage. It may even help you get in the zone with work.

So, the next time that you’ve got that great idea or that solution to that ever-nagging problem, you’ll get that win without having to metaphorically head-butt that wall over and over.

Let’s leave the head-banging to the metalheads.

We’re all about happy productivity.

Feel Better,

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