Culture & Engagement, HR Industry, Workplace Well-Being

Hey HR, You’re Allowed to Have Bad Days


In the aftermath of one of the most explosive terminations of my career (things were thrown…), I made a point to make my rounds through the office to ensure employees were doing okay. Largely I was avoided like the plague, but one employee went out of his way to say something I’ll never forget:

“Hey, she’s human too. She’s just like the rest of us.” 

Despite it being right at the top of the job description, as Human Resources professionals we sometimes forget to allow ourselves to actually be human. We hold ourselves to a higher standard since we need to set an example for our employees, often internalizing our emotions in the process. When we do this, we become vulnerable to succumbing to burnout and developing a plethora of health problems. This doesn’t have to be the case, and here are a few ways to balance work and your emotions:

Let it Out: Pent up emotions aren’t doing you any good. In fact, bottling up your emotions over time can lead to health complications such as depression, chronic headaches, and heart disease. Since screaming into the void at your desk probably isn’t the most reasonable solution, finding a method of release will benefit you in the long run. Try taking up kickboxing, rocking out to a rage playlist, or use an alternative to the classic stress ball to let it all out during or after a stressful day.

Take a Break: I know it may sound counter-intuitive to think about taking vacation when all hell breaks loose, but according to a 2017 Project Time Off study, those Americans who use their whole vacation allotment throughout the year report having higher job satisfaction and receive more frequent raises and promotions than their vacation-hoarding counterparts. Even if you can’t afford to jet off on vacation, use your time to disconnect and relax: spend time with your loved ones, tackle a personal project you’ve been putting off, or take a stay-cation and explore your own city.

Step Back:  While passive-aggressive e-mails, phones ringing off the hook, and frantic in-person interruptions may have you running for the hills, obviously you can’t pack up and go every time you’re faced with a frustrating situation at work. If you find yourself about to burst, take a few minutes to compose yourself: take a walk, hydrate yourself, and take a deep breath to prevent issuing a harried response you may later regret.

Find Your People: We know that HR can be lonely, and due to the confidential nature of our work we can’t exactly vent to our coworkers at the lunch table. Having a support system with similar experiences and interests to share with outside of work reduces the risk of internalizing and dwelling on these situations on your own. So hit up a friend, grab a beer, and talk things out—for your health.

These are just a few ways to restore the sanity in your work life. What are your go-to hacks for keeping things together at work? Share in the comments below!



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