How to Survive at Work
Sometimes, you just gotta get away! Whenever I came out of a stressful group, I would immediately go into my office. Patients would often follow me, so I ended up shutting the door. I wasn’t trying to be rude, I just needed 10 minutes to myself (Besides, I’m an introvert- I’m refreshed by “alone time”!)
It’s okay to say no! I know we want to please our clients & co-workers, but if you already have too much on your plate, don’t take on anymore responsibilities until you’re ready. If a client is freaking out & they want an individual session, you don’t have to do it right away unless it’s an absolute emergency. If a co-worker wants you to run their group but you have important things to do, say no & explain why. And do NOT, I repeat, do NOT skip your lunch break to deal with a work-related problem! The thing is, if you say yes too often, you get taken advantage of. You will burn out.
At work and at home, I feel better when everything is organized. If you have a lot of paperwork & notes scattered on your desk, try to come up with a system to keep your work space less cluttered. Have a calendar that marks any individual & family sessions that you have. Keep an agenda to track your day-to-day responsibilities. Don’t keep writing things down on separate sticky notes- you’ll have way too many by the end of the day!
*Maintain boundaries with angry clients
Let’s face it. You will get yelled at by clients (and by their family members, too). You can’t prevent this. But what you can do is maintain boundaries. If they start to yell at you or use profanity, you have the right to tell them that you would like to hear what they have to say, but they must remain calm & respectful. When someone is screaming in our face, a lot of things run through our head, and we forget to tell that person that their yelling & cursing is absolutely unacceptable (and unnecessary)!
After a tough group session, it felt reeeeeally good to vent to two of my co-workers. When you’re listening to clients all day, it can get emotionally draining (especially when they’re talking about heavy topics). You need to get things off your chest & vent any of your frustrations- talk to a co-worker, call a friend for a quick chat, or journal. Get it out.
I’ll admit it, when I knew I had a loooong day ahead of me, I would bring things to work to make myself feel better… soda, sweets, starbucks, whatever it took. Listen, you have a hard job- do what you can to make it better.
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