2022 is dragging itself to a soggy, sorry finish. Time to come up with a list of totally upbeat, 100% positive New Year’s resolutions to make the 2023 you even better than the 2022 you.
This won’t be easy.
Let’s face it: You’re pretty darn perfect. Really! I can’t see anything you need to improve.
Well, maybe one little thing.
You could resolve to stop flying off the handle over minor annoyances that occur at work. These trivial yet potentially explosive situations are what psychology professor Todd B. Kashdan calls “triggers.”
It is Kashdan, the author of “What’s Your Trigger?” in The New York Times, who triggered me to think about the subject of triggers.
Unfortunately, most of the triggers the prof discusses strike me as distinctly inconsequential.
If you’re going bonkers because you can’t find your keys or must wait on the phone for three hours to talk to customer service, even though your telephone call is very important to them, you definitely couldn’t survive in today’s volatile workplace.
Since keeping your temper under control is sure to keep your career under control, let’s disarm five common triggers.
No. 1: Your co-workers are breathing.
There you are, happily working along, when you hear it: a cough, a sigh, a breath. It’s proof positive that you are surrounded by a bunch of malcontented crazies, ready to pounce. The realization that this sinister horde of workplace monsters is out to destroy you can trigger an understandable, but potentially career-altering response, like those times when you jumped on your desk and screamed, “Leave me alone! Just stop breathing. I can’t take it anymore.”
Since it is unlikely that your co-workers will disappear, a better response is to block all triggering stimuli. A pair of earplugs will help, but splurge on a pair of the good kind, the Danish ones made out of Havarti cheese. Wearing a bucket over your head is also a potential solution. Your co-workers will never notice, but it could get you promoted by the bucket heads who run the company.
No. 2: Your manager expects you to work.
Having a boss who actually expects you to work is definitely justification for a major hissy fit. One way to defuse that geyser of rage is to go against your nature and just do your job — no procrastination, no delegation, no ignoring a critical task for two or six months and then swearing that you never got the assignment in the first place. This strategy does have risks — you might find you actually like your job. If there was ever something to trigger an emotional eruption, that would be it.
No. 3: You don’t have a yacht.
How often does this happen? It’s vacation time and you decide to sail away on a fabulous sea cruise, only to find you don’t have a yacht – not even a puny, 300-foot mini-yacht. Instead of getting angry, think of all the problems you avoid: running out of caviar, seagull droppings in the hot tub, mutiny. How much better off you are to limit your vacation travel to your trusty Schwinn, or, better yet, spend your entire vacation on your couch, bingeing all 10 seasons of “Below Deck.” (P.S.: You can still wear your captain’s hat.)
No. 4: You’re the one who always has to clean the kitchen.
Have you become the unofficial cleaner-upper in your office kitchen? Instead of blowing your top, make it your job to eat everything in the refrigerator that is not nailed down. Once your co-workers realize their lunches aren’t safe, they’ll stop using the kitchen altogether. Use the fridge as your personal wine cooler and spend quality time with Mr. Coffee — the only person in your office who really respects you.
No. 5: You don’t get fired.
Nothing provokes a workplace meltdown like not getting terminated when you so richly deserve it. The situation becomes even more explosive when others around you are getting fired left and right, while you stay at your desk. Instead of blowing up, look on the bright side. Your managers obviously think you are so ineffectual at your job that you are zero threat to them. This is a real accomplishment, and should allow you to indulge your curious addiction to eating regularly.
As New Year approaches, resolve to defuse your triggers before they explode. Examine what makes you crazy mad at work and experience 2023 as a contented, brainless employee who is always smiling and full of good cheer.
It will make everyone you work with explode with rage, guaranteed.
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected] To find out more about Bob Goldman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.