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Don’t Speak Up, Speak In

If you’re in a workplace that’s sucking the life out of you, making you furious or otherwise driving you nuts, you might NOT want to speak up about it.

People who speak up about what’s wrong at work are often labeled negative.

If you have feelings about what’s going on in the workplace but you don’t want to make waves, telling yourself what’s up can calm you down.

Be Your Own Confidant

You may have friends at work, but can you trust them completely with sensitive information?

If you let off steam verbally, there’s always a chance your words could come back to haunt you.

Here are some things at work that might make you want to scream:

  • You work all weekend to turn in something that was absolutely needed first thing Monday morning, and your boss says, “Oh, that? I don’t need that anymore.”
  • Blatant favoritism
  • Bumbling inefficiency that’s embraced by management
  • Refusal of management to change policies despite overwhelming evidence that change is needed

And on and on.

If you want to keep your sanity, you need to be able to shout, “This sucks!!!”

But if you want to protect your reputation, you can’t do that.

… At least, not out loud.

A Quiet Rebellion

Instead, make a point of saying exactly how you feel inside your head!

Here’s what it might look like…

While you sit there nodding in a meeting, scream “This is insane!” inside your head.

While your boss leans over you trying to intimidate you into working late, acknowledge silently to yourself: “She’s trying to intimidate me. I am so sick of this.”

No one will hear you. No one can judge you.

But you will know how you feel, and you’ll silently let off some steam. Be sure to side with yourself for best results.

Once the pressure is off, you can do some perspective-taking, if required. But it’s hard to do that when you’re ticked off.

Tell it to someone who cares: You.

That way your feelings won’t gang up on you later and come out in harsh or negative words.

Remember: You’re never more alone than when you abandon yourself.

Give it a try, and let me know how it goes.

 Photo courtesy of www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

About Tina Gilbertson

Tina Gilbertson is a psychotherapist, speaker and author based in Denver, Colorado. She specializes in supporting parents of estranged adult children through therapy, consulting and other resources, and offers assertiveness training and executive coaching for organizations. The author of "Constructive Wallowing: How to Beat Bad Feelings by Letting Yourself Have Them" and the "Guide for Parents of Estranged Adult Children," Tina is often featured in the media as an expert on communication and relationships. Her blog on PsychologyToday.com is called "Constructive Wallowing."
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0 Responses to "Don’t Speak Up, Speak In"

  • timethief
    May 3, 2014 - 9:41 am Reply

    Aha! I have always talked to myself this way in the work place and in tense family situations too and now feel validated. I became self-employed in the mid 80s and would never ever go back to working in a shared environment. By then I had recognized I was a control freak and no one except me was ever going to be the boss of me.

    • Tina Gilbertson
      May 3, 2014 - 9:51 am Reply

      It helps to know yourself as well as you do, Timethief. Still, validation is always welcome I know. Glad you’ve got this one down already. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • bookishheather
    May 3, 2014 - 9:41 am Reply

    As a person who has gotten to hear a daily litany of these sorts of complaints from a coworker, I can also add that besides getting you labeled as “negative,” complaining ad nauseum greatly impacts your coworkers in numerous ways. In my experience, it made me avoid not only the person in question (for both work-related issues and break room chitchat), but the department as a whole.

    • Tina Gilbertson
      May 3, 2014 - 9:59 am Reply

      Great point, Bookishheather! Feelings are *not* the same as behavior, and behavior is something that should always be monitored at work. Thank you so much for bringing that perspective to the discussion by sharing your experience.

  • Bob
    May 6, 2014 - 3:48 pm Reply

    Can we speak both out and in? Powerlessness in the workplace can be overcome but it requires coordinating with fellow workers outside of the boss and his clique

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