Dealing with critics at work

Source: McLeod & more

When you start your first work email with ‘Goof morning…’ you know it’s going to be one of those days. But it takes a conscious effort to have the right attitude. You may find yourself working at an establishment where some colleagues try to put you down, try to set you up to fail or criticize your work. You have a choice to let them defeat you or your can decide not to let them invade your positive mindset. But how do you do that?

I’ll tell you one thing – it’s not easy. You could try to ignore them. But that’s difficult if you have to work closely with them. While I’m a believer of choosing my battles, I also encourage people to be prepared with appropriate responses to criticism. You see, keeping quiet is not a solution because it welcomes further criticism. Aggressive retort could also have bigger consequences that may result in intervention by your human resources department. You want to exhibit the right attitude not the fight attitude. There are responses that are well seasoned and would let the critics reevaluate their tactics.

You want to exhibit the right attitude not the fight attitude.

Your responses should never be personal or emotional. Keep it professional and relevant to the job. If the criticism you receive is not based on your job but your character, take a step back to reflect. Get the opinion of a trusted colleague or have a one-to-one with your line manager. If you need an attitude change then it’s better you know early enough. If your critics have overstepped their boundaries then by all means get your line manager involved and he/she may decide to take it up with the critcs’ line managers.

Another good approach is to let your work speak for itself. I like to document my activities so that it serves as an easy reference point. You never know when that work will come to your defence and vindicate you. Remember that no man is an island. Always seek opinions of others. Surround yourself with positive people both inside and outside your workplace. Try to emulate the qualities of positive people you see day-to-day. They attract good things. You can be like them too. Carrying old baggage or a chip on your shoulder is not a good way to start a new day that comes with opportunities.

I mentioned earlier that not letting people invade your positive mindset isn’t easy (if only we had a delete button to handle them, right? Ok maybe just a backspace button then). But if we make that choice to have the right attitude, a positive one, then that’s half the button…I mean battle won. I personally ask God to guide my steps and fight my battles for me. With a habit of meditation and prayer you would gradually get the divine direction you need to face life’s critics and challenges.

It won’t all happen overnight. It takes time but the first step takes seconds – make that choice. And so what if the first email you start the following day with goes ‘God morning…’ – at least this time you’re off on the right track ?

10 things to do…if you wake up tomorrow

Sometimes we take for granted the fact that we have been ‘unconscious’ throughout the night while we sleep and that some people don’t actually wake up. Nobody can say for sure what makes us wake up. If you say, ‘my alarm’ then that would be a silly answer. How about on a Saturday morning if you’re not going to work – Could you wake yourself up at exactly 9am (without the aid of some alarm)? Indeed the act of waking up is nothing short of a miracle… 

So what do you do when you wake up? Check your Blackberry for chat updates? Snooze your alarm? Jump into the bathroom and continue dozing on the toilet seat? If that’s as about creative as the start of your day is then you could consider another routine which is more refreshing and should take you less than an hour to complete: 

1. Pray ~ No matter your religious background or beliefs I believe that there is a higher being whom is responsible for this mystery called Life. As a Christian I know that one has to be thankful for so many things, including being alive, in good health, safe from the hazards of the outdoors and indoors, having food on the table, money in your pocket, a loving family, a job, etc.  But first and foremost I think one should give thanks to the Almighty for waking up to see a new day. I’m sure God would appreciate that.

2. Meditate ~ Having some quiet time or ‘me-time’ is a good way of reflecting on your life and the happenings of the previous day(s). I like to read my daily devotional which comes with short passages from the Bible. Technology makes reading the Bible so much easier as most smartphones are capable of downloading the Bible application. Meditating on God’s word is a good way to grow spiritually and to know more about one’s purpose on earth. 

3. Exercise ~ Stretching the body and moving those muscles completes the waking up process for me (I’m not a big fan of coffee since it scarred my sleeping pattern during my gruelling, 12hours-a-day A Level studies). You can do press-ups, sit-ups or crunches, aerobics, etc. The type and length of exercise you use is entirely up to you. You will feel stronger, alert and reenergized as blood circulation will be enhanced. 

4. Drink water ~ Some researchers believe that drinking water after waking up is a good way to purify the body in and out. In Japan, drinking water is believed to cure a number of ailments (Read more). Drinking water will help to move your bowels and give you that lighter feeling after sending you to the toilet. Water therapy is definitely worth a try.

5. Take a warm bath/shower ~ Throw in some foam bath and let your pores open up as your body is invigorated by the warm water. I think cold water isn’t as effective in washing off dirt from the body as warm water can (Imagine using cold water to wash an oily dinner plate – nearly impossible, right?). Sometimes a cold shower is preferable when the weather is very humid but if it’s freezing outside then you know what to do!

6. Have breakfast ~ The thought of eating food in the morning makes some people nauseous – not me! You can give me a full English breakfast at 5.30am and I’ll be asking for extra bacon. But if time is not your side then a bowl of cereal or oatmeal would be good. Fruits like apples would be ideal because they have antioxidant properties that can keep you healthy (Read more). For the most part eating something before you leave for work would give you some energy since your last meal the day before. Please don’t go out hungry – you might get grouchy and binge on junk food which may add-on some unwanted weight and the guilt and self-loathing that comes with it!

7. Listen to some news ~ What if you didn’t turn on your radio or switch on your TV to find that everybody in your neighbourhood was meant to stay indoors because of an ongoing riot? You might just get caught in the thick of it and have difficulty get back home. It’s always good to be informed about what’s happening locally and globally. There just might be one piece of news that could affect your life or that of someone you know.

8. Plan your day ~ Think about what you want to set out to achieve. Do you have to pay some bills? Do you have a meeting to attend or an appointment to keep? Do you have shopping to do? Having a ‘mind map’ of how you would like your day to go can go a long way in giving you some level of control on what you will and will not do. No plan means that you’re just going with the flow and even worse, you could just be a pun in someone else’s plan.

9. Have a Positive Mental Attitude ~ If you decide it is going to be a bad day then guess what, it most certainly will be. No smiling, no consideration for others, no good utterances from your mouth, etc, would all serve as a perfect recipe for a shit day. If you wake up and it’s raining, so what? Everywhere will be wet but that’s mother nature. Maybe yu just got dumped – get over it! There are other potentials out there who would appreciate you better than your ex. If you don’t like your job then what are you doing about it? Applying for a better one, discussing other job options with your HR manager or just grumbling and making your colleagues eventually avoid your company…the attitude you choose to put on before you leave your apartment will determine how you will relate with people and invariably how they will relate with you so choose wisely!   

10. Show some love ~ We all like being loved so why not do something like hold the elevator/lift or door for someone, or offer to buy lunch for a colleague, or call someone whom you haven’t spoken to in a long while…sky’s the limit when it comes to gestures of love. But if you’re married and you presumably share the same bed with your partner, then there is one other thing I can think of that is worth doing when you wake up in the morning 😉 


Entry #54 – Don’t panic…it’s only a card!

…my examination card, that is. After leaving the examination centre yesterday I could have sworn it left with me and got into my car as I drove home. I was gravely dissappointed when I started looking through my folder close to 15times. I must have checked the ins and outs of my car to the point that a passerby would have thought I was clearly under the influence of some class-A drugs…or that I was looking for a stash of the same.

What can I say? I’m careless. And so the inevitable torture cycle begins:

Anxiety – Which I’ve already pointed out. Accelerated heartbeat, dry mouth, struggling to study for the next exam…reading the words but they’re just not sinking in (because you lost you’re f***ing examination card, that’s why)

Time-travel – Retracing my steps (in my mind) and seeing that card when it last rested between my fingers…yes, I could see myself dropping it on a table as I submitted my answer sheet. The invigilator must be keeping it safe for me…yay! 😀

Doubt – What if I took it out of the exam centre, carelessly dropped it outside the premises before I zoomed off and its sitting by in an algae-infested gutter somewhere with my passport pic getting a slimy makeover? nay! 🙁

Self-blame – Well there’s no one else to blame but me. It was all my fault, no blonde-girl distraction, no ice-cream truck, and certainly no facebook mobile update. This was pure, unadulterated, crazy nigerian- carelessness!

And after all this what comes next? What other ordeal do I need to go through in order to move on with my life?

Hope?. I hoped I would still be let into the exam centre the following day to do the exam anyway (even though entry without the card is strictly forbidden). I hoped that I could probably bribe one of the invigilators with a stripper (or two) if that was what was required. I hoped I would look in my folder for the 16th time and maybe, just maybe, I would mysteriously find it. I did a lot of hoping…but no, the answer was Prayer, and at precisely 8am today (an hour before the exam) I had an epiphany.

I was staring at the same page of my study pack for the last 20mins (quietly worrying) when something said to me ‘Look again around the passenger’s seat and look carefully this time’. I pulled the lever underneath and pulled the chair forward and at the side of the chair facing the car door, a white half-A4 sized card stuck out. ‘HALLELUJAH! Thank you Lord, God thank you thank you thank you I love you….oh man…whooo!…where’s my phone…Mum, guess what? I found it!…’

Well let’s say that the words I read started to sink in a bit better and now that my exams are over all I can do is sit and wait…ok…sit, blog and wait 😉