Emotional Maturity in the Workplace

Could you see this one coming? Bet, not! I’ve recently encountered two events that have changed my perspective on co-workers. Both— so jaw-dropping, that I had to stop and write about them.

The first issue involves staff that steals.. right in front of you.. unapologetically.

The second issue deals with how to confront competing directives from the senior management.

Now… so I don’t lose my job writing about this.. I want to be general about these events because I am CERTAIN that they have happened in all offices and not just mine. But the topic is emotional maturity.. and what I mean by that is.. How to take the High Road even though we want to scream about the situation the minute it occurs or at the person that plucks that last raw nerve.

Well, folks.. hate to tell you.. but it isn’t easy.. nor fun. However, it is imperative for remaining employed and having a relatively calm work environment.

So, here’s what I’ve tried to do- even though my anger was completely justified. (sure..it was…)

Excuse myself, immediately from the room, the situation, or from being emotionally present. Take a walk, a deep breath, a daydream about where I’d rather be at that very moment. Talk to myself- (probably best done in one’s head instead of aloud…) and remind myself – How important is it really?

Once calm, either I’m able to drop the issue or ignore the person. Or, I’ve had a chance to put my comments into logical and relevant commentary which I can deliver without being an ass. It goes something like this… in my wacky head!

“Mike, I would like to know what you were searching for in my desk drawer. Can I help you locate something?”
( like your ever-lovin’ mind?) “I ask because I really consider my desk to be my private work area. “
(and if you mess with my stuff it might make me get ugly… )

So when Mike tells me he was looking for some gum he knew I had.. I politely respond…. “Mike, just ask next time. Thanks.”

See.. just have to keep the feisty part — to yourself.. while smiling and let the professional side do the speaking.

And it’s amazing..having all these people compete for my work and worktime.. so here’s how I handle being in the throws of my overwhelming competence in the midst of competing requests from Senior Management.


Syke.. just kidding.

Seriously, I confront it head on..

“Sorry, Boss #3- Boss #1 just asked me to finish this, this and this by 3pm. . Iknow your work is very important and I can understand why you want me to stop right now and take on your project. ( and here’s what slays ’em) -” I”ll just step into his office and interrupt his meeting to confirm that it’s ok for me to move your work to the top.”
(You should see serious backpeddling at this point.)

Or a better and more politically correct way to handle this is to keep a numbered list of tasks. Show them the list. Now, show them ..as you add their item to the bottom of your list. Let them know you’ll try to move it up.. as time permits.

This, my friends, is known as being a mature worker. Not always measured by age in years… but the sheer ability to repress ones utmost anger and sarcasm so as to appear helpful and as team friendly as possible.

As Morris Day would say. “this dance ain’t for everybody.. just the sexy people.”

Author: KMK Foley

Storyteller. Wicked sense of humor. Tenacious learner, Coffee Lover, especially Dunkin' Donuts.

One thought on “Emotional Maturity in the Workplace”

  1. I found this interesting because I have seen the same thing on more than one occassion. In addition, I have seen the exec taking other people’s lunches, even when the name is clearly written on it. For shame! These people often forge that just because they are important, that so are we. Any idea how to make them see that our role is what helps make them successful?

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