When you stop and actually think about it, work and relationships have a lot in common. They both make you happy sometimes, they both make you crazy sometimes, and both should be cherished and valued. When I started really struggling with my career, instead of going in each day frustrated and anxious, I challenged myself to treat it as I do my relationships so that it can continue to grow. Funny enough, it actually worked.
- Honesty really is the best policy. I wouldn’t lie to my boyfriend, so why would I lie to my boss? Even if it’s something small like coming back from break a few minutes late or saying I finished a project when I had a little bit left to do, it’s not worth the agony of worrying I’ll get caught. I found that if I’m upfront with things, I get a much better reaction and even some wiggle room. I just know not to make it a habit.
- Be vocal but work toward a compromise. I’m known to speak my mind, yes, but I’ve also learned that in my relationships, it’s unrealistic to think I’ll always get my way. I have to be open to compromise. If I have suggestions for ways to make things smoother or a change that could be made to improve on something specific, I’ll voice it, but I also know to listen to my boss and colleagues so that we can come up with something that works for everyone together.
- Bad mouthing online is tacky. In a world ruled by social media, it’s incredibly easy to vent your frustrations about a horrible work day online. Employers are hip to the social media trend as well, and a lot of times my mini-rants have made it back to them. I’m extremely careful now as to what I post on any site whether they follow me or not. I know it’s a bad career move. I save the work talk for my friends and family, where there’s no risk of it getting back to my boss.
- Trust will save you a lot of unneeded stress. Anyone who’s anyone will tell you it’s not worth being with someone you can’t trust and they’re right. Until my boss gives me a reason not to, I assume they know what they’re doing. They probably got their job for good reason, so even if I’m unsure about something they’ve suggested or implemented, I need to give them the benefit of the doubt. Chances are, their reasons are upstanding and so far I’ve found that to be true.
- Highs and lows are normal. Some days work is a breeze and everything gets finished on time. Then there are days where everything that could possibly go wrong does and I want to pull my hair out. Sound like every relationship you’ve ever had, right? I can’t let a few awful days convince me my job sucks. There will be bad days anywhere I work, so I take the bad with the good and push through them. A good day could be just around the corner.
- Communication is essential. I expect to be listened to in my relationship and the same goes for work. I need to reciprocate that and be a good listener too. The only way to be successful in anything is to talk things through. I’ve learned that if I let my boss know when I’m having an off day, I get a lot more understanding because I chose to acknowledge it instead of just pretending everything is fine. My boss is a person too and probably has bad days, so usually, they get it.
- When emotions are high, take a breath. I’m an emotional person by nature. If I’m ever confronted in a passive aggressive (or even just aggressive) way, I tend to fight right back with any sarcastic remark I can think of. This doesn’t work well in relationships, and it’s probably even worse in the workplace. Sometimes I make a mistake, and if I’m already frustrated when that mistake is brought to my attention, my initial reaction is to be defensive. I’ve had to start taking a step away before responding to ensure I’m not high on adrenaline so I can be rational and respectful.
- If a break is needed, take one. When I’m deep into a fight with my guy and we’ve both forgotten what the original issue even was, pausing and returning after some time has passed makes all the difference. The same thing can completely change your work ethic. I’ve often been hours into something and it all begins blending together. Even taking five minutes to grab some water or take a short walk helps me gather my thoughts so I can return with a clear mind. As long as I’m not abusing it, it can be extremely beneficial.
- Showing appreciation will go a long way. I’ve noticed that the simple act of saying thank you for putting away the dishes makes my boyfriend feel great, and the feeling is mutual when I’m shown gratitude. At work, it seems like when you do something wrong, it’s mentioned but when you go the extra mile, it goes unnoticed. It starts with me, so if I ask my boss for something and it’s taken to heart, I make sure to let it be known how much it meant to me to be heard. This has helped so many of my work relationships, not only with my boss but with my peers as well.