SUMMARY POINTS

  • When a coworker pisses you off, don’t react right away as it’ll just make things worse
  • Calm down, wait and process things first and then talk with them directly to get more clarity
  • See and use these instances as skills-building exercises to boost your interpersonal and relationship management skills
You’re at your desk doing your normal day-to-day tasks. You’re trying to stay on top of things. The emails are piling up, stupid meetings are taking up valuable work time, urgent requests from up top are being dropped in your lap and deadlines are fast approaching.

You are doing your best to manage your workload and not lose your shit. But, you’re at the cusp of your tolerance limit and your patience is running thin.

And just like Murphy’s Law, it’s usually at this exact point that another coworker does or says something that pushes you over the edge and it fucking sets you off big-time.

And, it’s not the office etiquette type stuff, which is annoying. It’s much worse than that because this negatively affects your work directly.

It’s the rude-ass email, refusing your simple request, blowing off your conference call, rejecting your meeting invitation, throwing you under the bus, etc. It could be any number of things. But whatever it is, it has now pissed you off and you’re angry as hell.

The only thing going through your head is a constant replay of an alternate world where you head over to their desk and scream obscenities at them for what they did (or didn’t do) and then get them reprimanded.

Oh, that would feel oh so good.

Thankfully, the saner side of you is prevailing but the inner asshole in your head is screaming bloody murder.

You can’t just not do anything.

Something’s gotta be done.

The 5-Step Process For Dealing With Coworkers That Piss You Off

When a work colleague does or says something that frustrates or angers you, it totally derails your day. And, it can become all-consuming, so much so that it’s the only thing that’s on your mind for the rest of the day.

It’s totally eating you up inside.

You want to scream and yell at them. However, you hold back.

But, is it really a good idea to suppress these feelings?

Are you supposed to just sit there and take it like a little bitch?

The answer is no.

But it’s also not a good idea to fly off the handle either.

It’s at this point that you need to take control of your emotions and reactions before they get you in a shitload of trouble and ruin your reputation. This is all about thinking things through first and then taking methodical actions, not reactively retaliating.

Step #1: Calm The Fuck Down & Don’t Fire Back

When someone does you wrong, your first instinct is to fire back and get revenge at that very moment. It’s about protecting yourself and your standing. When somebody intentionally makes your life harder than it has to be, it’s aggravating.

And what better way to even the score than giving them a taste of their own medicine. So, your anger quickly morphs into revenge and your ego is now taking over all control of your thoughts and actions.

It’s at this moment that you need to pull the reigns and tell yourself, “Whoa, hold up there. I know you’re pissed, but let’s calm down and not do anything stupid. Okay?”

This is a critical moment where you must overcome your raging urges to fire back. You’ll have the opportunity to get your anger out later, but right now, you’ve gotta calm the fuck down.

Give yourself a time-out.

Get up from your desk and step away for a few minutes.

Take a breather.

Go to the break room or head outside for a short walk to clear your head. Or do a one-minute meditation to calm yourself. Anything but staying at your desk.

Step #2: Don’t Stir Shit Up 

Even after taking a self-induced time-out, you’ll never truly get all of the vengeful anger out of your system. In fact, those emotions will continue to fester inside of you until you do something about it (to be addressed in the next step).

So, when you get back to your desk, there’s the temptation to stir shit up. This is when the little devil pops up on your shoulder telling you to stand up for yourself.

This can be either gossiping and talking shit about the offender to other coworkers or firing off a bunch of emails to try to throw them under the bus.

Doing this only makes you look unprofessional, immature and tarnishes your reputation. All you’re really doing, in this case, is creating unnecessary drama. Don’t do this.

It’s time to grow up and be an adult at work. You need to preserve and maintain your professionalism.

Step #3: Release Any Pent Up Anger

There are way too many recommendations to not take action on your emotions ever, keep yourself in check and suppress-control any anger or frustration.

Bullshit.

This is absolutely the wrong way to deal with pent up emotions.

You need to “feel it to heal it” in order to move on.

Ever witness children when they’re hysterically crying and losing it?

All of their emotions are pouring out of them, unfiltered and without restraint. They’re not holding back. Everything’s being unleashed. And once all of it is out of their system, within minutes, they’re back to normal like it never happened.

This is the better way to process and work through the anger.

What this means is that you need to get those emotions out of you in a real way that works best for you.

For many, the good ol’ venting to your BFF is always a reliable way to let loose.

For others, a plain and simple loud scream at the top of your lungs works wonders.

VIDEO: Screaming Marmot
YOUTUBE: MegaTCart
LENGTH: 00:10
Unfortunately, a lot of us don’t have a vast open wilderness as our backyard. So, try screaming inside your car or into your pillow at home. You could also pound the bed with your fist or throw balled up socks against the wall.

Or, put that energy to good use at the gym and go for a hard run, throw weighted medicine balls, hit the punching bag, wrestle with battle ropes, etc. Any good workout is a great way to release some anger and frustration.

Find whatever activity that is ideal for you to get all of that pent up emotion released and do it. The more you can unload the better you’ll feel afterward.

Step #4: Cool Down & Relax Overnight

After releasing all of your emotional pressure, it’s always a good idea to cool down for a bit and not think about the event that triggered this whole mess - like overnight.

What this means is that you don’t want to react to anything that same day. If you do, it’s not you that’s in control but your ego and anger.

In most cases, it’s acceptable to not reply or respond to emails, voice-mails, etc. until the next business day. And even if it’s a live conversation or an instant message, you can simply acknowledge that you got it and that you’ll get back to them the next day with more info.

It’s important to disconnect for work and let that shit go for the night. This is all about not replaying this episode in your head over and over. Dedicate some “me-time” for yourself that evening and let yourself relax.

Step #5: Get Clarity The Next Day

After an overnight cool down, you’ll be in a much better state of mind to process things the following day.

The key action here is to reach out to the coworker and get a better understanding of why they did what they did to piss you off. Come at it like a research project, not like a criminal investigation. Stay level-headed and neutral.

Talk to them live either face-to-face, video chat or on the phone. Don’t do this via email as email doesn’t convey tone very well.

You want to get context and background for more clarity and understanding for what happened. Ask for the reasoning, logic and purpose etc.

What you will discover is that in many cases, their action or lack of it was not intentional just to piss you off.

In fact, in some cases, the timing of that event may have been right when things were going ape-shit for you at work. So, it was like the last straw that broke your back.

In other cases, it’s also possible that they may not have realized that what they did was actually kind of a dick move. Or maybe, it’s not them but the asshole boss that made them do it.

Whatever the case, through live one-on-one conversation, you and your coworker can get a clearer understanding of each other and the situation.

And when you do, you’ll feel an immense release and relief from it all.

Reframe These Events As Skills Building Exercises

This is the secret to turning the tables on coworkers that piss you off. Don’t see these kinds of events as personal attacks. That’s the wrong approach and it’ll only feed into a never-ending negativity cycle.

You want to see this from a much higher level perspective. You want to spin this and see every single event as a positive skills-building exercise.

Think of the very first time you had to present in front of a group - like back in elementary or high school.

Remember how nervous you were?

Well today, you’re much better at speaking in front of a group than when you were in junior high, right?

You got much better at it.

It’s the same deal here.

Each time a coworker sets you off and you follow these steps to manage and work through it, you’re building up very valuable skills in interpersonal communication, relationship management and negotiations.

And guess what?

Those are all key qualities that upper management seek for promoting people. You’ll start to get noticed and maybe even gain some bonus kudos on your annual review.

Plus, it’ll boost your personal brand, office reputation and credibility.

So, don’t get mad - get better. 😉

Feel Better,
[Cubicle\Therapy]

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