Slacking Tips for Work #7: Be Cool, Stay Cool

This cool!

Wow, it’s been a while since this has happened! By my count it’s been over two years since I last did one of these but right now it’s the article idea that’s on the forefront of my mind. I’ll probably do an review of Stalin’s Peasants (chapter 11) on Wednesday but I figured I’d keep things a little more simple and give myself some time to prepare for the review.

As I said in my previous post, I sincerely hate my job as it interferes with the thing I love most, writing. But at the same time given that I write for this website and talk about anti-work so much it also fuels it too. So I have a very mixed relationship with work because at times it’ll burn me out but others it’ll give me the right ideas I need for a good article.

Either way, I have a few ideas about how best to handle stress at work. You may not like or agree with these ideas and it definitely depends on your objectives and preferred strategies. But as always I’m just writing from my own experiences and what I’ve found helpful.

Be Cool

One of those things (and especially when you’re new and still learning) is to be cool.

I mean this in the metaphoric sense (for now, but we’ll get to that later) of simply keeping your calm. Whenever my co-workers are being assholes to me or (especially) if my boss is, I try to remember that arguing with them won’t get me anywhere. Sometimes I’ll make smart-ass remarks in an attempt to cut against their remark but in a friendly way. But even then I try to temper my remarks as much as possible so I can still keep my job.

There’s some good banter I have between myself and a few of my co-workers and it can get passive aggressive at time. If (and when) it steps over the lines on either side I try to remember that getting upset isn’t going to do anything helpful. It’s only going to slow down the rate at which customers are helped out and more liable to get me (the new person) in trouble. And that’s especially likely given the fact that at least two of the co-workers have been there far longer than me.

I don’t necessarily like the seniority privilege model that a lot of workplaces have in place implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) but I can’t argue that it has some merits. Folks who have been there much longer and have shown organizational dedication and deference are simply more likely to be valued than folks who haven’t.

And to some degree that sort of rationale makes a good deal of sense.

But at the same time, it puts people who are new at a disadvantage where they may feel like outsiders for one thing. They also may feel like their opinions simply aren’t respected or new ideas aren’t welcomed. In addition, when explicit benefits are made clear to longer time employees then it seems even more abundantly clear who is valued more.

As I said before, there’s a solid rationale behind treating those who help out longer and more consistently better than those who don’t. I just wish the application of this logic wasn’t so viscerally felt by everyone in the workforce and it didn’t tend to create entitlement among the senior members.

Whatever your problems at work however, staying cool is a good way to keep it going. That is, if you want to keep it going. There’s always a friend you can vent to, a sky you can shout at or a video game you can lose yourself in (if that’s your sort of thing). I’m not saying this is a pleasant experience but sometimes it’s better to swallow your pride if you really need the money that’s involved. Which isn’t to say you should like doing that, but it may have to happen from time to time…while at the same time looking for a job where you at least won’t have to do that much on a regular basis.

Stay Cool

By now my love of puns should be obvious and apparent (and furthermore clear!) to the readership of this site. So in the spirit of puns when I say “stay cool” I’m actually talking literally. Use the coolers in your store (if you have any!) to your full advantage and spend as much time in there as possible.

The last few times I used the cooler there were a few minutes here and there when I was able to use it to just take a seat for a second. It’s not much but in a high-stress job like convenience it’s important to take the time for yourself. And sometimes these stores don’t exactly have great break policies (I basically take mine on a “when you can” basis).

Sitting in the cooler can allow you to briefly recharge, it can allow you to get away from people for a few minutes and the best part of it is that you’re supposed to be in there. And again, if you’re new then it might even be partially expected that you might take longer than normal. That’s something that you can really only use to your advantage for a certain amount of time of course, but it likely can be helpful the given time, especially when things might be particularly overwhelming.

Your Feelings Are Valid

Whatever you decide to do with these tips or your workplace experience in general, remember that you matter and that your feelings do too. If you feel like you’re putting up with too much shit and simply can’t deal with it thenĀ don’t. Get your support network together before making any big moves, but get out of there if you truly feel like there’s no other options.

I know I’m telling folks to be calm during grueling and often unfair situations but that doesn’t mean I think it’s easy or that I’m perfect at it. Nor would I tell people that getting angry and upset and using those feelings towards other people who are mistreating them would be wrong. I just think it’s unhelpful if your goal is to get understanding and more money.

But of course I don’t know all possible situations and sometimes people really do listen to how you really feel and listen to it better when you don’t put a filter around it. You’ve got to decide for yourself what you want to do, you know your localized conditions better than I do and I try not to presume otherwise.

Happy slacking y’all and stay cool!


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