Editor’s note: Trainer Chris Ward recently earned Microsoft Lync Server certification. This is the 12th in a series of posts during which he’ll share his experiences and advice.
I’ll warn you up front that this blog post is fairly personal. It’s not the most cheerful subject, and it might be a bit of a downer to some of you. So I won’t be offended if you wait until next week for a more cheerful, happy Chris.
I am probably not the only one (in fact I’m pretty confident that everyone has experienced this in form or the other) who has had to work when you’re having a no good, very bad day, when the world seems to be crashing in on you and you don’t know if you can even get up in the morning, let alone try to troubleshoot your network, deal with end-users, or sit through meetings.
My Grandfather passed away from Lung cancer this past week. He was 91 years old, but the diagnosis happened two weeks prior. One of my strongest supporters, mentors, teachers was gone. He taught me how to ride a bike, throw a ball, how to drive, and how to work hard and do it right the first time. He lived through the Depression and World War 2. He worked on the Atlas and Polaris missile projects. He was one of my heroes.
Normally, you have time to grieve, if your company gives you some time. My bosses were awesome and gave me “all the time” I needed. However I had two deadlines for some other side projects that couldn’t be changed. I had to work through. I had to suck in a breath and let it out slowly to enable me to keep my cool in a video conference.
So how do you handle this? Perhaps it isn’t the death of a loved one, but bad news. Maybe it’s a sudden layoff spree at your company and your team has been decimated, morale is in the pits, and you wonder if you even want to show up tomorrow.
Can I encourage you with a few tips to help you through these times?
- Have faith. I know that not everyone is religious or even perhaps spiritual, but we all believe in something. It might only be in yourself or your friends/family, but holding on to that anchor in the storm will see you through. Circumstances change all the time, and you can choose how to respond. It might not even be the end of the horrible days, but there is always tomorrow, the next day, or even the next month. My faith has sustained me through layoffs, death in the family, and even a chronic disease that I struggle with.
- Take a break. Perhaps you can’t do it right this minute, but work with your bosses/HR department to get a few days off as soon as you can. Getting that breather will allow you to focus on yourself and not the problem. Work will still get done, and you can finish that project when you get back. I find that it is the exception rather than the rule that you HAVE to finish this tomorrow.
- Turn off the Facebook/TV/Newsfeeds. They are full of encouragement, but also full of grumpy, depressing, downright rude people that will not encourage or uplift you. I took a “electronic-free” vacation and used my smart-phone for…TALKING. I basically got rid of all the apps and games and just used the phone to talk to people. Which brings me to my last tip.
- Don’t isolate yourself. John Donne was right when he said, “No Man is an Island.” Even introverts need some socialization, and you do yourself no favors by hiding. Yes, take some “me time”, but make sure you spend time with your friends and loved ones. Even if you’re grieving, it will help you to do it together.
All that to say, it’s okay if you lose it, if you shake your fist at the sky, if you literally run around your building a few times yelling out your frustration. You can get through this. I believe in you!
Lync On my friends!