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Thread: How best to deal with frustrating co-workers

  1. #1
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    How best to deal with frustrating co-workers

    Being in the restaurant industry i come across some rather lazy and selfish folks. The kind you can do nice things for, but will still bail on you all worried about their plans and their day. . How does one deal with frustrations like that? Hell, a few weeks ago, two of em who are frequent about trying to leave even if it means others have to do their work so they can finish their duties got mad when i tried to clean up early to make sure i was done before they split because i was gonna run the liune by myself for another hr and a half after they were gone.

    I've had folks just ignore people calling food items to them until someone else has to do it then act like they don't hear and then still not offer to finish up with an attitude like " well if you're doing it why would I ? "

    I am far from the best employee on the planet. But i am definitely worth keepin it around. I see some of these others and wonder how they have the same pay rate I do when all they do is get ready to run out , first chance they get with poor quality of work most of the day.

    I have left work so mad I was practically breathing fire for two days straight cuz I got stuck doing wayyyy more than my job which was busy enough to keep me occupied. Yet they make what I make?

    How do you find inner calm when this is a daily irritant?

    Dave _/_

  2. #2
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: How best to deal with frustrating co-workers

    Hi Dave,

    We all have some sort of irritation to deal with and blaming to do. I am not spared in my job. Nobody is, really. That's for the good news. The bad news is that there is no ready made answer to this. I mean, you have got various tools ranging from the great mantra : "no big deal" that you may use anytime, anyday with anything to subtle Tonglen ( a real wonderful Tibetan technique) which I always strongly recommand (check Pema Chodron on that one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=312oBat6MXs[/video]] ), you may practice loving kindness with those guys in mind, you may try to solve things using social interaction, seeking profesionnal help, counselling, even talking to the boss, or just trying to help these guys over there...But it boils down to: you. Nobody else. Nobody is irritating you but yourself and these guys ( I know them well too) are very skilled teachers: they show you ( and everybody else) the right soft spot immediately. That is what we sit with, this is the real practice and the real fire, raw as it can be. I would strongly recommand you to chew the following ones:

    We don't have the power or authority to change anybody. But we do have the freedom to change ourselves and if anything comes out, it will through forgetting the self.

    It is OK to be pissed and bothered. It is a real chance to look at these irritations as precious guides and reminders. The market place can turn into a real monastery or sometimes a very cold and lonely ermitage. Invite your working place into your practice, and your practice in the restaurant. Who said that work had to be smooth?

    You have the freedom to say no quietly and not to try to fix things for everybody. If they don't do they work, fair enough, leave it. None of your business to be a super hero.

    Using a certain sense of humour can be a great response, not teasing the guys but seing through our own drama queen and clowning ability

    These four points above are valid for my stupid self too. I often repeat the same mistakes of willing to change people, wanting things to be cosy and airy fairy and trying to be a hero.Does that ring a bell? I bet everybody suffers from these curable dis-eases.

    Welcome to the club. Wonderful noticing this. Now you can do a real good job. Let's rephrase: How best to deal with a frustrated self working?

    And the most difficult, when you leave your job, leave your job. Don't take it around like a heavy shell, you know all this mental blablabla...Laught at it, LAUGH! And enjoy your way home.

    Take great care

    gassho


    Taigu

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  3. #3
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: How best to deal with frustrating co-workers

    When I get frustrated with people, I try to remember that the source of my frustration is that I expect people to be different that who/what they are. If I can drop the expectation, then I can short-circuit the frustration. Not easy, of course. I have to remind myself constantly that people are what they are, and I have no idea how they got to be the way they are, so it's pointless to judge them because I don't know who/what I am judging. In this way all the &%$#@! people of the world become just people. i also try to remember that everyone is doing their best, however deluded they may be about what is best for them. But that's their trip, not mine, so I try to let that go. Add a little metta for them and you and you got soup for the soul.

    One other thing: You can only solve problems that belong to you, and you can only change things that you can control. The behavior of those people does not belong to you, and you cannot control their behavior. But the frustration you feel does belong to you and it is possible for you to control it. You can't "solve" those people, but you can "solve" yourself.

  4. #4
    disastermouse
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    Re: How best to deal with frustrating co-workers

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    When I get frustrated with people, I try to remember that the source of my frustration is that I expect people to be different that who/what they are.
    This is exactly the case, IMHO. Thanks, Alan!

    In my case, there's more of a give and take because I do stuff that annoys the living hell out of some people and they do the same. It's not really a matter of constant slackery because the 'OMFG, there's no way to do all of this in time' hammer falls on people indiscriminately. It's hard to be consistently lazy in my job.

    Hate to bring up Adyashanti again, but he talks in one of his talks about having a boss that was lazy and he said he basically had three options:

    A) Bang his head through a wall. (not productive or helpful)
    B) Leave. (he generally liked where he was working though..)
    C) Just accept that his boss is lazy. He even said that the guy was a pretty good guy except for being lazy.

    My situation is so different because I'm only in a place for 2-3 months before I decide whether I want to stay and they decide whether they want to keep me.

    Chet

  5. #5

    Re: How best to deal with frustrating co-workers

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    When I get frustrated with people, I try to remember that the source of my frustration is that I expect people to be different that who/what they are. If I can drop the expectation, then I can short-circuit the frustration. Not easy, of course.
    I second that . . . well said, Alan.

    Eika

  6. #6
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Re: How best to deal with frustrating co-workers

    Well damn. To top off my week I just flubbed and erased a message i spent 20-30 min typing. So here is the shorter version.

    Great advice!!! Alot of it is things I have tried to institute before. Only to find myself all stressed out. It seems when i don't have anything left to give i have to give more because someone else has some poor excuse for why they don't feel like working. Which isn't to say i run the place by myself or that there aren't perfectly valid reasons out there (where i try to be friendly and more helpful than the norm).



    Reason i brought it up is I have had a lonnngggg week. I was so mad Fri. afternoon I had to get a cig before i walked the hell out of my job. then to top it off when another co-worker asked me this morning about what happened to get me mad enough to get a cig Fri. , one of the people ( a friendly but kind of rough and tumble ex-con) that pissed me off was ready to fight saying I was talking behind his back when I had my say directly to him Fri. and said nothing of a personal nature about him.

    Which then led to both of us having our jobs threatened if a fight broke out. To which I responded with " I dropped the subject hours ago. Haven't fueled it, Don't look in his direction and have made no claims of being able to take him, any mention of hitting him, or any plans or desire to have any physical confrontation with him whatsoever. But if he hits me, i'm gonna defend myself as best I can with no more force than is neccessary to stop the conflict. Then i'm callin the cops and he's getting thrown back in prison."

    The only comment made about it to another employee was " Well he's been in prison for 6 yrs, and lifts weights everyday. He's gonna beat my ass, but if he wants a fight it's all him and he'll be hitting me from behind. He hits me even once and he's going back to prison. but i do intend on fighting back win or lose because i'm just not getting my ass kicked and not defending myself....that's stupid."

    Sat 30 min. of zazen for my break. Sat another 30 between shifts( never left the building from 7am to 9:45pm but had a break for an hour and half between.)

    Evening shift, I spoke politely from the time he walked into the building. Just talked like nothing had happened. Helped him with some stuff, he returned the favor (I almost poo'ed myself because of the situation and politely thanked him). Then stopedd what i was doing, took off the latex glove, apologized and shook his hand. So we're cool now.

    _/_ Dave


    P.S. Taigu, I am horrid about bringing work home with me. Dunno why, just have a hard time letting it all go. No matter what i try to do to relax, some days i fume till i go to bed.

  7. #7
    disastermouse
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    Re: How best to deal with frustrating co-workers

    All I can say is that it's really cool how you handled that, Dave. A lot of time people say and do stuff they don't mean and instead of escalating it, you let it chill out and settled it peacefully.

    Chet

  8. #8
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: How best to deal with frustrating co-workers

    Dave,

    I still go out of the school door fuming sometimes. I used to take it to the train station and beyond. Now when i do, I drop it somewhere along the walk. Nature helps. People's faces. Sky and noises. Life. In fact, I am talking bull....! Nothing helps! You just have to be okay with the fuming, have a good laugh and live your now.

    gassho

    Taigu

  9. #9

    Re: How best to deal with frustrating co-workers

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    When I get frustrated with people, I try to remember that the source of my frustration is that I expect people to be different that who/what they are. If I can drop the expectation, then I can short-circuit the frustration.
    This is so true for most of life imho. The way hubby and I are the rare times he is home, the way the kids and I are with each other everything really.

  10. #10
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: How best to deal with frustrating co-workers

    Glad people liked my first post, now the professor is assigning a more difficult chapter:

    Another thing that helps is to realize people Are Not what they Do. What people Are a complex mystery of genes and social learning that exists in a cultural stew. What people Do is a momentary expression of all that complexity. We say "John is a jerk," but more accurate might be "John is doing jerky things," and then we have to define what we mean by the word "jerk." By separating the behavior from the person it is much easier to deal with both the person and his/her behavior. To reduce people to their behavior is a gross oversimplification of a very complex set of circumstances. Such shorthand cognitive categorization of people works for us by making the social world more manageable, but the mistake is that we think those categories are real when they are just delusions.

    Sorry this isn't more practical, but applying it is up to you to Do. I believe that practicing the process of looking deeply at people's actions so as to learn how to separate their Being from their Doing is part of our Buddhist practice. I find the practice opens the path to a more deeply meaningful metta practice. Instead of just sending good thoughts toward some "a-hole" that I work with I can understand that he/she is a product of his/her genes and environment that does things that aggravate me, and because I see this bigger picture I find it much easier to believe deep down that this person deserves the metta I send their way. Seeing the bigger picture helps me feel much more connected to the person, thus making me feel more a part of the solution instead of someone subjected to a problem.

    Finally, before Jundo gets in here and says it, I need to add that being and doing are not two separate things, despite everything I said above :twisted:

  11. #11
    disastermouse
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    Re: How best to deal with frustrating co-workers

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    Another thing that helps is to realize people Are Not what they Do. People Are a complex mystery of genes and social learning that exists in a cultural stew. What people Do is a momentary expression of all that complexity. We say "John is a jerk," but more accurate might be "John is doing jerky things," and then we have to define what we mean by the work "jerk." By separating the behavior from the person it is much easier to deal with both the person and his/her behavior. To reduce people to their behavior is a gross oversimplification of a very complex set of circumstances. Such shorthand cognitive categorization of people works for us by making the social world more manageable, but the mistake is that we think those categories are real when they are just delusions.

    Sorry this isn't more practical, but applying it is up to you to Do.
    The Fundamental Attribution Error.

    Chet

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