We’ve all experienced it at one point or another, even if we don’t want to admit it. Life is unpredictable and sometimes our best intentions of keeping a professional composure go out the window. As someone who usually has control in their work setting, I can tell you that no matter how hard you try to keep your emotions in check – with upbeat music playing in the background – losing your temper occasionally on the job just happens!
February marked the start of my first legitimate job here at Levo, and prior to three weeks ago, I was professional beyond measure. My attendance record was spotless, my attire appropriate for any context and I spoke up whenever necessary. Nevertheless, when Monday came around this week it almost felt like everything outside of work had come crashing down all at once. As I was overwhelmed by my chaotic friend life, increasingly frustrated with the dating scene in New York City (it’s not for the faint of heart), and yet again found myself without a roommate or apartment for when I moved in September – let me warn you: if you choose to take on finding an apartment here, it will be one of your most unpleasant experiences ever!
It all came to pass in a flurry of chaos. I was trying my best not to succumb and sat at my desk, only for tremors to overtake me, breath quickening as if it might escape from me any moment. My heart thumped madly against its ribcage before I made the sudden decision to leave the office and seek solace in an empty hallway nearby. Not knowing how to proceed, I reached out for consolation from my parents. As soon as I began delving into the circumstance, tears cascaded down my face. It took a few minutes before I could get together enough composure to form words. A passerby had observed me in distress and expressed her empathy with an expression that made me feel even worse.
After I had poured my heart out to Mom, I began feeling a bit better. To erase the evidence of tears from my face, I visited the restroom and then tried to act as if nothing had happened when returning back to work; however, that plan failed miserably. My emotions were still running high as it dawned on me that this was part of learning how a balance between life and career must be achieved. As we live in a world that is increasingly inundated with technology, separating life and work can be challenging, especially for small businesses like Levo. Everyone from the team has cell phones close by and easy access to their social media accounts; however, this lifestyle often causes difficulty when one tries to find a balance for themselves.
I personally struggled at first with finding harmony between my personal life and career but was able to learn valuable lessons along the way which I am more than happy to share:
1. It happens to everyone.
To reinvigorate myself, I exercise; this summer has been especially useful for me in that regard because I’ve had a weekly tennis match with one of my friends. We usually have to wait before playing on the free courts around town and make good use of it by having heart-to-hearts about our struggles. After sharing a particularly disheartening story recently, she admitted that she too had cried multiple times at work due to conflicts between coworkers – it’s comforting knowing you’re not alone! Somehow understanding there’s strength in numbers makes any problem feel marginally better.
2. It could be worse.
When I was able to converse coherently with my parents on the phone, they informed me that they thought I had lost my job. That could have been a much more devastating experience than what occurred in reality. It may feel like your world is crumbling around you when something unexpected happens; yet don’t forget the power of resilience! We can pick ourselves up and press onward – eventually, this pain will become nothing but a distant memory. Although I was uncertain about where I would stay for a few weeks, at least I could take comfort in knowing that my job held great joy for me, my parents were understanding listeners when life got hard to cope with, and friends stood by me no matter what. Life could be far worse than it is today, so remember to count your blessings!
3. You CAN talk to your coworkers.
Although you may not want to reveal all of your hidden secrets to coworkers, it can be beneficial to just step out and ask for some advice. Especially if they are a bit older, they might have already gone through what you’re going through now. During my personal meltdown moment, one coworker said something that really hit home – the people I was stressing over were simply not worth my time; their words stuck with me more when coming from another person’s mouth rather than in my thoughts alone.
4. Shedding a tear won’t hurt your career.
Surprisingly, my experience not only didn’t damage my career but inspired me to write this post, adding another topic to my writing skillset. I was thankful for the empathy of both colleagues and boss as they were aware that life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Fretting about your job at such a difficult time is far from ideal; it’s essential to be considerate of yourself first during these challenging times. It’s ok to admit you are struggling, and it is important to make use of the resources available. Is working from home a better option for you? Request this from your employer. If taking a personal day is what will help get through the situation, don’t be afraid: that’s why they exist! Digging yourself into an emotional hole won’t do any good for anyone involved – not just yourself but also those around you as well.
5. Find an outlet.
When I was feeling stressed and overwhelmed, I found myself doing things like writing, running farther than ever before, starting a blog (of questionable success!), probably annoying my mom with incessant phone calls, and eating lots of ice cream. At the time it all felt silly but looking back on it now – each activity somehow managed to help me move forward.
Despite all the preparation and hard work, you put into your job, there will always be those days when everything seems to go a bit wrong. Having an action plan for such instances is essential! How do you manage to stay composed during challenging times? Share your advice in the comments section below; we’d love to hear it!