Who doesn’t have to cope with setbacks at their workplace? I certainly have. A lot. Tell me, does this sound familiar to you? You really worked your arse off - working long hours into the nights including on weekends - but in the end you see nothing of the promised pay raise, let alone the long desired promotion? Things like that can hit you hard and make you feel undervalued and even completely taken for granted.
To be honest with you, in the beginning of my career I felt underestimated a lot. I always felt that my boss knew exactly that he could rely on me and my work at all times - no matter how late in the evening I was contacted or how far away the project I was sent to was located. The main problem was that he never praised any of my efforts, nor did he give me the feeling that my hard and always impeccable work was being valued.
Don’t get me wrong - I still loved my job - but I felt really down at countless occasions when I was at home after a long day of work. But thank god, these days are over and I have become different now. No longer do I let anyone or anything destroy or even slightly depress my self-esteem. Here I would like to share how I do it and the rules I try to live by.
Never react right away.
If you are told that you won’t get your promotion or pay raise or you simply get attacked for no apparent reason, resist your urge to react immediately - you might regret it later. Instant reactions are far too emotional and can lead to actions that might backfire on you. Remind yourself that you have enough time to act on the issue. So take your time, breathe deeply, go for a walk, work out hard and sweat and sleep over it. It is important to collect your thoughts in a concise manner, construct a good case for yourself and then come back with your guns loaded. This will always bring along far better results than any reaction you might have let yourself be pushed into if you had acted immediately.
Talk to someone.
If you face a setback talk about the situation to people you trust. Seeking advice is immensely helpful, since you are able to get a second view on things. Talking also makes it easier for you to reflect on why this particular situation occurred and why it turned out the way it did. It might be hard to get anywhere by yourself. Speaking and seeking advice and feedback is key.
Did you know why this particular setback at work happened? It is important to take your time to think about the way you work, the way your boss or colleagues act and also react and how you could avoid similar setbacks and conflicts in the future. For me reflecting on my work regularly was the most important part of my career. For me it is all about self-esteem. Remember: You have the right to feel great about what you do and what you work for. Now one has the right to treat you in a bad way.
Don’t take it too personally.
I know this is extremely difficult, but it is essential not to take any setbacks too personally. I had a lot of difficulties with this for a long time, but it is important to leave your work troubles where they belong - at work. Considering my previous tips I would suggest that you take some time for reflection and seek advice from a trusted colleague - but that’s it then. Go on with your life and don’ let a work issue disturb your private life or your precious sleep. Trust me, sleepless nights were constant companions of mine for a long time. I don’t miss them.
The fact is that everybody will face different setbacks, humiliation or feeling like they are being treated unfairly throughout their (work)-life. It would be way too unrealistic to think otherwise and my tips should help you deal with these inevitable setbacks once they occur - without leaving damage to your self-esteem.
Did I forget a great tip that I should incorporate in order to survive any setbacks at work unscathed? Please leave me your comment below - I’d love to read what you think.