When you perceive that external factors such as noisy coworkers or unrealistic expectations from supervisors are keeping you from achieving personal or work goals, your frustration may turn into negative, potentially career-damaging behavior. Although you can’t completely eliminate feelings of frustration in the workplace, you can reduce their occurrence by lessening the impact that external factors have on your life. Lessening these factors requires that you make simple changes to how you interact with coworkers and deal with your work environment.
- Display a list or poster of realistic short- and long-term personal and professional goals, as well as a daily agenda showing how you plan to use your time each day to achieve your goals. Advise coworkers of the importance of your displayed goals and schedule, and then ask them to help you by respecting your agenda. If one or more coworkers disrupts your work, point out your goal list or poster and daily agenda as a reminder.
- Focus on your goals and work responsibilities instead of allowing frustration to take over. Look at your list or poster and agenda often to remind yourself why to stay focused when frustrating situations occur. If your work is caught up or you have difficulty focusing on it, find other ways to distract you from frustrating situations, such as cleaning your work area or organizing your email.
- Think and act as positively as possible throughout the workday to prevent the actions of others from making you think or act negatively. When speaking with coworkers, smile and say positive things or nothing at all. If a coworker starts to complain about another coworker, say something nice about the employee he's complaining about, if possible, and then excuse yourself from the conversation.
- Restrict your conversations to work-related topics and limit the amount of personal information you share. In addition, whenever possible, remove yourself from discussions and situations involving office politics, gossip and rumors to prevent yourself from getting dragged into negative and frustrating situations and to protect your reputation.
- Write down a problem as it occurs, brainstorm ways to resolve it and then bring it to your supervisor’s attention instead of letting it eat away at you or assuming your coworkers or supervisors will eventually realize that a problem exists. For example, if you feel your skills are underutilized, write down other jobs or duties that you feel you could handle and then discuss the problem and possible solutions with your supervisor.
- Look objectively and realistically at disruptive situations that can cause frustration to gain perspective. Try to imagine the types of problems a coworker who is causing the disruption may be facing. If you continue to have difficulty with this person, complain to a trusted friend or privately with a supervisor.