This is a tale of two days.
The first day I felt overwhelmed, I was incredibly testy, and in general unable to do my job effectively. I so felt at wits end that I almost quit, walking out on the job. For anyone who knows me that is not me. I may complain a lot, but I would never put an employer and coworkers in such a situation.
The second day I was subdued, controlled, calm. I wasn’t ‘on fire’ and still a bit surly, but I never felt a need to lash out, walk out, or freak out like I day the first day. Both days were comparable on many key levels.
The key difference, in my estimation, was about knowing. Yes, knowing is half the battle.
I was suffering from a head cold. The thing is I don’t normally get colds in the summer so I didn’t know how to interpret how I was feeling. I was taking the feelings of sickness and externalizing it, blaming it on my environment. That night, I got more symptoms, realized I was sick. The next day, knowing I was sick, I was able to realize that it wasn’t my environment that was making me feel bad, it was internal.
Now you may be asking how this applies to you or anything else.
In any situation there are variables that we are not aware of. We think we are operating with full knowledge but we aren’t. Our decisions are affected by the missing information. If everything is falling apart and not meshing with what we consider normal, then our first step should be to stop and determine if we are lacking a piece of information.
I think back and kick myself for not realizing I was sick on that first day. I still wouldn’t of had a great day but I would not have felt a need to lash out. Luckily I didn’t express my testiness to any of the users who called the help desk, but my poor coworkers had to put up with my mumbling and grumbling. The dark cloud over my head also created some visibility issues.
Of course, knowing is only half the battle. Doing something with the knowledge is the other half, and now I’m medicating and going to sleep.