Now you can professionally tell your colleagues what you think about them
Without getting fired
“I don’t have a dream job. I do not dream of labour” goes a famous work meme on Instagram. And the 86% of Indian professionals who took part in a recent survey expressing an intent to quit their current jobs within the next six months are a testament to a resignation trend that is still running strong in 2022. According to recruitment consulting firm Michael Page India, “the pandemic has made people review their work and lives more holistically, and they are now looking for more purpose and better work-life balance.” Well, being plunged into the trenches with no end in sight can do that to the best of us. (Looking to resign? Here’s how to not blow your career up during your notice period.)
Everyone has their own escapist pleasure when faced with a crisis and we’ve found ours — scrolling through the funny work culture side of Instagram. From poking fun at the quintessential work-from-home mid-day shower to the millennial anxiety that has you taking a nap but checking your laptop every fifteen seconds in case your boss messaged you, they have it all covered.
During one such deep dive, we came across the account of @loewhaley. If you’ve ever wanted to tell your colleagues to stop emailing you on a Monday morning, she might as well be your new virtual work bestie. Her words can help you translate your murderous true feelings into corporate-friendly emails ending with a smile. Scroll down to learn the lessons we’ve learnt from our new work bestie because we may not be able to quit but we can sure make our work life a little easier, and a lot funnier.
7 nuggets of advice Instagram’s new work bestie has taught us
Start your day working for yourself before you work for someone else
If you’ve made a habit of scrolling through your emails before you even get out of bed in the morning, this nugget of work advice from Laura is for you.
According to Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of You Can’t Be Serious! Putting Humor to Work, “getting off on the right foot isn’t just important with relationships, it’s important with the start of any workday, as well —particularly busy ones.” Start your work day on a good note by brewing a cup of coffee, stretching for 10 minutes, or even something as simple as making your bed and brushing your teeth. Who likes waking up to stress-inducing emails?
Set proper boundaries with your coworkers
Your coworker won’t stop calling and texting you on your day off? Or sending you meeting requests out of the blue without checking your calendar? You may have found yourself working with an overzealous coworker who needs to be presented with clear boundaries, whether this coworker is your boss or colleague.
According to Zac Houghton, CEO of Loftera, England’s fastest-growing home advice and improvement website, you must not “view boundaries being violated as a setback but rather an opportunity to improve your communication and boundary-setting skills.”
Even though not everyone will deliberately violate your boundaries, it’s important to be strong and thorough when articulating them and be ready to repeat them until they are considered legitimate. People will eventually stop attempting to violate them.
Never bombard your colleagues first thing in the morning
Okay, this will be a tough pill to swallow for those of you who’ve been taught that emailing someone first thing in the morning is the best thing to do. Newsflash, it’s not. Laura hit the nail right on the head when she slammed her laptop’s lid on a colleague who called her as soon as her work day started.
So if you are someone who does that, you have to stop for the sake of everyone’s mental peace, yours included. But if you’re on the receiving end of such behaviour, slamming your laptop lid like Laura is not going to make the issue go away. Experts suggest clearly communicating with your colleagues and raising an issue if you find something unprofessional. Jonathan Tian, the cofounder of Mobitrix, a tech company, explains, “Setting and letting people know your boundaries is not enough. You also have to let them know when they cross you. Whenever someone crosses your boundary, you have to let them know that their action is not okay with you.”
Stop feeling guilty for using your paid vacation days
Half the year has passed and if you haven’t used up at least 10 of your vacation days, chances are you’re suffering from vacation guilt. Whether it is because you don’t want to overwork yourself when you come back from said vacation or it’s your guilt stopping you from taking your paid days off, you’re probably pushing yourself too much without giving yourself enough time to rest.
According to research, working long hours seven days a week renders you less effective, but separating yourself from your job makes you more energised and tenacious and increases your output. Asking yourself why you have been depriving yourself of this is the first step towards achieving that. You could be adding extra chores to your task list if you think your efforts are never adequate. Examine your personal propensity for putting yourself through stress and denying yourself proper self-care. It could help you gain perspective and make positive adjustments.
Keep your mindless tasks for long meetings
If you have long meetings to attend throughout the course of your day, it can often eat up the time in which you would complete your actual tasks, especially if you’re working remotely. For days like these, you can leave mindless or clerical tasks like sorting through your email and forming responses as you let the meeting drone on in the background. Maybe paint your nails like Laura does but don’t forget to put yourself on mute unless you want the whole company to know what you’ve been up to.
Always plan ahead for your meetings
The most important question you must be asking yourself before setting up a meeting is whether it can be replaced by a memo. “Save meetings for when nothing else will do, for when you need people in the room, for when their presence is more than a courtesy but a contribution”, says tech entrepreneur Ross Andrew Paquette.
Always prepare ahead for your meetings so that you’re going in with concrete plans rather than half-baked ideas that would end up wasting everyone’s time.
Leave work out of your weekends
Do you often find yourself obsessively checking your inbox, even on the weekends? Rest your horses because your boss wasn’t up all of Saturday night writing emails to you. Though you’re not alone in this. Many of us suffer from what people call the Sunday Scaries, which end up ruining our weekend for us.
Psychologist Jonathan Abramowitz says, “Psychologically, it’s a response to the perception of some sort of threat.” The perceived threat varies—it might be getting up early, or being busy and “on” for several days in a row—but the commonality, Abramowitz says, is that “we jump to conclusions” and “underestimate our ability to cope.”
If Sunday evenings have started to feel more like “the end of freedom”, start by actively telling yourself that your time is your time and not of your company’s time. Creating a Sunday night routine like watching your favourite show as you indulge in your comfort food can help beat off the scaries. Personally, planning my workweek in advance on Friday evenings before the day ends, helps me feel at peace and in control of how my Monday is going to look like.
Now, you can professionally tell your colleagues what you really think about their proposed plan without being fired for it. Especially if you do it in an email instead of calling a Monday morning meeting.