It’s such a cliche piece of advice, but never try to argue with someone at work if you’re feeling emotional about the situation. If a superior says something to you that hurts your feelings, or makes you irritated, or angry, or whatever… don’t respond at all. Just shut up, take your medicine, and do what you’re told.
The time to attempt to change the way things are done comes later, when you’re calm and able to be logical again.
If you’re writing up an email to your chain of command (or any system of complaint), use the draft box. Write it however you want, and then save it as a draft. Pick it back up tomorrow and look at it. Look at it every day for a week or two. Don’t even put anyone’s name in the TO or CC box until you’ve waited at least a week or two.
This is for a few reasons:
– It gives you more time to think about more / better arguments to make.
– It gives you time to cool down, so you can take out all the negative emotion in the email.
– As time passes, you’ll have less of a desire to throw insults in the email. Insults or dramatic language definitely takes away from your actual argument. People will focus on that instead of what it is that you actually have to say.
– MOST IMPORTANTLY, sometimes just writing something out completely relieves the desire to express your feelings. This is why diaries and personal journals are so popular: If I write an angry email to someone, and then don’t send it… it still feels like I expressed my feelings. In a way, sometimes it doesn’t even matter whether the person actually hears what you want to say. You just wanted to get it off your chest. Have you ever vented about someone to another friend, and then felt better? Exactly.
If you’re emotional when you go to battle, you won’t be as focused on winning. Your brain will primarily be focused on sating the emotion you’re feeling, and seeking a sense of justice for whatever wrong you’ve experienced.
What your mind should instead be focused on is logically solving the problem.
“When the higher officers are angry and insubordinate, and on meeting the enemy give battle on their own account from a feeling of resentment, before the commander-in-chief can tell whether or no he is in a position to fight, the result is ruin.” ~Sun Tzu, The Art of War
“Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget.” ~King Solomon (authorship disputed)
The more bridges you burn, the more civil engineers that take notice and refuse to help build you some new ones.