Workplace conflict – understanding it doesn’t make it any easier

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Courtesy of Wondersofdisney

I know how it works. After all I spent many years in Human Resource work.

Anger dulls your senses. It makes you less effective. Workplace conflict gets everyone off their game and can ruin a business. Smart businesses work to resolve these situations fast.

I’m retired. So why do I let stuff bother me.

There is an internal conflict going on at a business I patronize. I am peripherally affected because some of it revolves around store closings.

Businesses that are closed cannot do business so it’s not “good business” to close. However, there are some that have memberships (as this one does) and it doesn’t directly affect the bottom line for the day.

Too many closings and it does affect the bottom line because every day the place is closed makes the membership more expensive. People also get annoyed at showing up to a locked door.

The owner does not want to work anymore. Visions of retirement are dancing in her head. Not my problem.

What is really my problem is that I am annoyed by the whole thing. The internal conflict makes my visits less fun.

Members are polarized. Are you with the owner or with the other employees who get fewer wages whenever there is a closing?

Everyone has an opinion. Some wisely keep them to themselves. Yours truly has trouble keeping anything to herself.

Years of resolving workplace conflict has given me tools to express myself without using bad words. Mostly.

But this post isn’t about all this. It’s about carrying this crap around. It’s not my problem yet I find that when I am driving to this business I am focused on possible solutions that are win-win all the way around.

As positive as this sounds, my anger and annoyance does get the best of me.

Here are examples of what happens then:

  • I miss my turnoff when driving and end up in Timbuktu.
  • I don’t see a car coming my way and almost have an accident. Then I am annoyed at the other driver for my error.
  • I order the wrong thing at Starbucks (fortunately for me the staff advises me immediately because this one would have serious repercussions).
  • I am short-tempered.
  • I blow up at OTHER innocent people and they don’t understand. Ok, they are not completely innocent as they must have done something (like said “good morning”).

There is that saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff and its all small stuff.” Well, this is really small stuff.

Now if I can get that from my head to my heart I’ll be good. It will happen. In the meantime, DO NOT CUT ME OFF. Your life may be in jeopardy.

27 thoughts on “Workplace conflict – understanding it doesn’t make it any easier

  1. There are times after a really bad day when I just have to sit down and talk some sense into me. Old hurts that I haven’t let go of, new aggravations that I need to put in my rear view mirror … yes, Kate, I can relate. I used to spend my hour commute to work in New York rehashing something that happened … or dreading something that might happen. A real waste of my time.


    • Don’t hold your breath on that one. It’s probably just time. Since I wasn’t all that involved it has already passed. It’s harder when its your work or your home life. I still get amazed that I could get that spun up.


  2. It can be hard to turn off our “how do I fix this” meter, even when we know the thoughts are interrupting our regular routine, and especially when we find ourselves angry about situations that are really outside the scope of our influence. Maybe you should give everyone that works there the address to your blog, and let them have a peek. LOL

    My experience is that talking about it usually helps … it relieves some of that pressure that builds up around annoying and aggravating things, and gives us a platform to be heard. By talking about it on your blog, you’ve probably saved yourself days and days of letting it continue to get to you. A much healthier approach than doing something damaging, all because you’re distracted. Going to the gym for a workout usually leaves us feeling recharged and energized, so if going there does just the opposite, my guess is that you’ll stay away from the drama, and find other ways to get your good energy vibes percolating. We need all the good energy vibes we can muster up!


    • If I do that I have let “them” win. I’ll just trudge on and in a few days it will be water off a duck’s back! My mantra is “it’s not my problem.” I am however, practicing my eye rolls.


  3. I am a retired elementary teacher and when I walked out of the school for the last time I didn’t look back. Enough of that! And for a while my mind was on other things. I am not involved with school or kids any more, but when I read about policies or new methods or other schooly things, I can’t help having an opinion. I have only one person to give my opinion to and he doesn’t want to hear it.
    😦 I also find myself dreaming of classroom nightmares. Little monsters of years past come back to haunt me. A couple would be sixty now. I wonder if they dream about me.


    • I can relate to that especially with new employment or benefit regulations. I don’t dream about the nasty nun I had but I sure do remember her well. She would be at least 120 by now so I assume she’s dead. They may remember you fondly.


  4. I can relate. Went bowling last night, had a few really good turns in a row – 3 spares then 2 strikes. Why? I pictured the face of someone I work with who drives me absolutely nuts. Yes the bowling score was better .. but I let him in and doing so put a bad spin on my night. It’s really hard for me to balance my feelings of extreme annoyance around this person. The thing is? He wasn’t even there.


    Hope you find a solution that works for you!


  5. Maybe you should avoid the gym and use the treadmill at home for awhile? Going to the gym sounds like a rather counter-productive (and toxic) way to start the day right now.

    Or maybe you should invite the owner to join you at Starbucks for a coffee to discuss the situation and give her the benefit of your expertise? Perhaps that’s what is frustrating to you ~ to feel like you have a solution that you aren’t able to brainstorm with the only one who can make the necessary changes.

    Or maybe you should give yourself something else to think about as you drive to the gym? Changing our thoughts changes our life.


  6. I sadly know exactly what you are talking about Kate. I hate the feeling of being consumed, especially when driving (which I do all the time). I am dealing with conflict in my own workplace and the person “in charge” has no idea how to handle a damn thing so yours truly has taken it upon herself to TRY to make things better. Thank goodness I’m hitting the gym, it’s saving lives!


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