What happens before you get to work?
What’s the atmosphere at home?
I think about coworkers who have small children trying to get them prepared for the day and off to where they need to be. I think about the one year my son was a freshman and one daughter was a senior in high school. I live maybe several miles, at most, from the high school. I would drop them off and be glad I had not physically injured them. They bickered at home. They bickered on the ride to school… seemingly every single day. It was a really tough year to arrive at work in a good mood. Although it was a relief to be there.
And what about getting to work?
Is there a troublesome intersection for you where it would be easy to become upset? I heard a great story recently of a man who had to make a left turn into heavy traffic. Cars and cars would go by and he’d not be able to get on his way. Once in a while someone would give him room to get out into traffic. He thought about that a bit and reflected that if the roles were reversed, he probably wouldn’t let his car out into traffic. He concluded he should be more accommodating to other drivers.
This is one of those empathy situations.
Think about what those you work with may have contended with before they arrived at work. The dog ran away. They missed the bus. Their spouse was ill. If they look disheveled or out of sorts, there may be good cause. All the more reason to hold a door, give a nice ‘good morning’, be quick to make some coffee. Put some civility into the beginning of the work day for others…and ultimately yourself. You’ll feel better and hopefully they will also.