Journaling Work Issues

By Byron Pulsifer, ©2003

I don't know about you, but every so often I'd get really aggravated about some less than brilliant idea, or policy at work.

Sometimes, I just couldn't believe how utterly ridiculous some decisions were emanating from so-called senior staff. Not being one to sit back and let things slide, I used to get into hot water constantly by speaking my mind even though, deep down, I knew I was creating a big hole for myself.

And, to make matters worse, not only would I create a big hole for myself, inevitably someone else with a much calmer and more reasoned approach would say the same thing and reap all sorts of praise for bringing the issue to their attention. How annoying. Would I ever learn?

Well, I knew there must be a better way for me to control my impulse to speak out too quickly and forcefully so I wouldn't end up in deep water but could get my point across to effect positive change or reaction.

Late one Friday afternoon, through email, came one of those less than stellar policy moves that sent me for a loop. I knew I just had to make a pitch to get this policy revamped, but it was too late in the day to get to see the person responsible. So, not wanting to let my momentum take a back seat, I sat down at my computer and wrote. I wrote about everything that was on my mind. I didn't spare any one's emotions or refrain from letting loose a tirade less than diplomatic.

I spelled out, in no uncertain terms, what I would do, how the policy violated every reasonable thought process, and them some. After I finished burning up my keyboard, I had written a scathing rebuttal of more than five pages. And then, as good fortune would have it, I printed my document, and put it in my desk for safe keeping where I could grab it first thing Monday morning. The written document had taken me about forty-five minutes to write, and, when I was finished, I felt a lot calmer and more relaxed. I was really glad I had gotten this issue off my mind.

I had a great weekend - no work issues festering in the back of my mind - no work issues to negatively impact my thoughts or intrude on may leisurely activities. I returned to work Monday morning ready to pick up where I had left off. But then, a funny thing happened. I pulled my document from my desk and sat down and read it thoroughly. I was flabbergasted. I shockingly realized that if this document had been presented as written, I wouldn't have to worry about anything at work any longer - I would have been fired on the spot. I learned a valuable lesson, and better still, a technique to keep my blood pressure and stress in check. In fact, this is a technique that can positively impact on one's health. The technique is no mystery; it's simple to do yet very effective. And, best of all, it allows venting of potentially dangerous emotions in a secure format - simply call it journaling.

A very simple solution to all sorts of stressors that one may encounter at work. Simply, write down what you feel with no editing, set them aside for at least twenty-four hours, and then review. In my case, I rewrote the document using reasonable arguments, rational thought, and professional and diplomatic language. Use this technique and you may just find an easy way to relieve stress - and keep your job.



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