REALIZATION 12: When you work with Oscar the Grouch

The beginning of March means it’s time for the single greatest sporting event on U.S. soil—March Madness.

I know I will be following from Brazil and hoping that my Cincinnati Bearcats finally make it past the Sweet Sixteen.

But the tournament is never without drama, upsets and surprises—kind of like the workplace, right?

Three months into the year, and your co-workers’ and clients’ post-holiday spirit has pretty much all but vanished, hasn’t it?

Workplace memes

Right—instead of giving back attitude when you get it, here are three tips for maintaining your Zen when others don’t know how:

#1 Apologize for nothing

You’re thinking, “What? Don’t apologize? That’s not what my mother taught me.”

No, DO apologize. Apologize for something vague, even if you’ve done nothing wrong, like:

“Dear Sally, I’m really sorry about that,” or, “My apologies; I was (insert validation).”

I’ve found that if someone is being short with you, apologizing for something and reciprocating with kindness actually makes them feel guilty.

It never fails; every time I’ve done this, sure enough, the person actually wrote back and apologized to me!

Reverse psychology, people!

Since then, this one person in particular has always been overly friendly.

“Have a good weekend, Sara!” or “No worries, Sara!” or “Get some rest on your next trip, Sara!”

...All because I did not write back and say what my big mouth wanted to say.

#2 – Imagine that whatever you are writing in an email, you are actually saying to the person’s face

Guys, it’s like road rage. People think that because they are protected by a large piece of machinery that they can be as rude as all get out.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have a quick trigger with the finger in the car if the situation calls for it (much to the annoyance of my fiancé who thinks I will end up getting shot). In fact, I gave two fingers to a guy in Philadelphia last week who didn’t know how to merge.

My face when...

But ever replaced the finger with a smile?

It’s a scientific fact that smiling makes you happier, and it seems scientific enough that giving the finger would leave you angrier.

So why not do something that delivers the same message but allows you to move on quickly without ruining the rest of your day?

It’s the same with emails; just because you are behind a computer screen doesn’t mean you have the right to forget your manners!

#3 – Someone’s complaining? Offer to call or meet them personally to discuss

Ever notice that disagreements with your partner over text messages never get solved? Same goes for email sometimes.

Again, it’s super easy to complain online, but people are generally less confrontational in person (unless you really messed up)! :P

Plus, offering this alternative makes them feel important and shows that you are not only proactive but also solution-focused.

Madness in sports is awesome, but madness anywhere else can be avoided with the right strategies!


Realization #12 – Want better relationships at home and in the office? Be humble, calm and personal—even when the others aren’t!

And when this doesn't work, I just stare at these happy items on my desk and count to three...

Note: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

My fiancé gave me this so I can visualize my goal of someday living there, and it's my FAVORITE mug (love the blue + zebra)!

How can a simple organizer keep me so calm?

Happiness candles from Target! It's so good to breathe in these good vibes at work.

Isn't this the cutest "stuff" organizer? Imagine getting these as a message in the bottle!


Do you work (or live) with an Oscar the Grouch? If so, The Real[ization] Blog wants to know how you deal!