In my article 7 Tips for Maintaining a Professional Attitude at Work, point number 2 is asking to think things over. This is hugely important. “Let me think it over” is infinitely more professional than say, “Over my Dead Body”, “What the ^&*( are you thinking?”, or any of a number of other phrases that spring instantly to mind. This is usually a great response for those huge requests for things that you really don’t want to do, that sound insanely stupid, or generally have your jaw on the floor. You know, those requests that have steam coming out of your ears, and your head feeling like it’s spinning off your shoulders?
In these sorts of situations, it is best to allow the fire to die down just a little bit, and compose a thoughtful, thorough response, that takes into account all of the different points of view, and allows you to state your point clearly and concisely. This is especially important if you are worried about blowing your top, because blowing your top at work isn’t going to exactly help your career. In fact, it will likely kill it faster than you can snap your fingers.
Stop, think. Ask for time to think about it, and shut your mouth. Don’t pile onto the situation, don’t fan the flames, and don’t make them worse. Think about what the long-term consequences of your actions will be. This will enable you to maintain your professional reputation, and be known as someone who is cool in a crisis, someone who handles things rationally. That is a good reputation to have.
Analyze your situation, and figure out what outcome you’re trying to achieve.
What do you think? Does asking for time to think over a major situation help you in tough times? How do you handle difficult requests or situations?
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