A more than a couple of years ago, when I worked in retail hell, I was told by my boss, “You control your mood.” I’d come in all pissed off about something, probably stupid, and it was reflecting in my behavior towards my coworkers and my customers.
A few years later, when I was working in call center hell, The Psychological Abuser had done something pretty shitty to me. He’d asked me to keep so many lies that to ask one person to keep something from him, that was completely inconsequential, evidently was worthy of parting company. I’d started grad school and cut back hours. I knew he’d be unhappy that I’d did that. I asked one of our mutual friends, Needy, just to not say anything. Not to lie! Well, maybe lying by omissions. But just not to say anything.
Well it came up, and Needy told him. I wasn’t mad at her. I didn’t want her to straight fib. And she told me it came out. Later, I got all these weird text messages from the Abuser and called. He did his typical, threaten to leave. “How dare you make that little girl lie.” — Needy was older than I was. Right. It was all bullshit. He’d asked me to lie about so many things it seemed hypocritical. He’d asked me to do so many things that I would never do anyways… But I had a personality addiction and I wanted to be around him all the time, even if that meant enduring the abuse. I mean, I thought my world would end without him.
And all of this resulted in a panic attack. At work. In call center hell. And I couldn’t leave or I’d get fired.
But I held it together. I did calls. Wiped my eyes on my sleeve. Kept my voice low and steady. Tried to even out my breathing. And my coworkers around me never knew different.
Fast forward to this morning — one of my coworkers came in in a huff. I said, “Good Morning” like I always do. Nothing. Door slam. And continued rudeness to all of us. I know we did nothing. But it’s the fact that she’s taking it out on all of us — something we didn’t even do to her.
I guess the moral of the story — In a professional setting, your emotional upheavals take a back seat. You are there to do a job. If you are unable, after trying to maintain calm, you need to ask to be excused for a short break, or leave. I mean, even when I had anxiety issues in this job. I’d quietly close my door, maintain calm, distract myself with work and the tasks at hand, and move the fuck on with my life.
And I hate to be mean or matter of fact, but if you are unable to control your emotions at work, you need professional help, or to find a job where you aren’t so effected by work stress, or deal with your at home stressors. Fix your life. It’s hard and it sucks. But living in such negativity sucks the life out of you. And you will be happy for it.
After that one boss told me about controlling my mood, especially in a professional setting, I’ve tried to maintain that rule. Do my job. Maintain cool. If I have an anxiety attack, take a break, go on a walk. Focus on work. Take an unnecessary trip to the bathroom to just be alone in your little area. Breathing exercises. Even stretches.