Moments of frustration are inevitable.
Whether it’s dealing with missed deadlines, uncooperative colleagues, or the ever-present pressure to perform, these challenges can leave us feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, and even resentful.
Frustration is not a sign of weakness or failure; it’s a natural human response to situations that test our resilience and adaptability.
Dealing with workplace resentment
Workplace frustration stems from a multitude of factors, both external and internal.
External factors often involve external forces beyond our control, such as:
- Unrealistic expectations: When faced with unrealistic deadlines, demanding workloads, or unclear expectations, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and frustrated.
- Communication breakdowns: Miscommunication, lack of transparency, or conflicting priorities can lead to misunderstandings, frustration, and resentment.
- Inadequate resources: Insufficient resources, such as time, tools, or personnel, can hinder progress and contribute to frustration.
Internal factors, on the other hand, arise from our own thoughts, emotions, and perceptions, such as:
- Self-doubt: When we doubt our abilities or feel inadequate, it can lead to frustration and hinder our performance.
- Perfectionism: The relentless pursuit of perfection can lead to frustration when we fall short of our own high standards.
- Lack of control: Feeling powerless or unable to influence a situation can lead to frustration and a sense of helplessness.
Here are some of the things that I find helpful when I’m especially frustrated.
Remember that it holds you back from dealing with the situation
Frustration doesn’t help you move forward.
It keeps you stuck.
Your initial response might be to figure out why exactly you’re frustrated and to go through a process where you try to understand every step of failure that got you to the point where you are now.
This is constructive. This is definitely worth doing.
Once you’ve gotten to that point, there’s no more purpose in being frustrated because everything beyond that point will distract you from acting.
Focus on what you can do from now on
The best thing about every frustrating situation is that there’s usually a lesson you can take from it, whatever that lesson might be.
Imagine you were in the exact same situation again, only this time you have the knowledge of hindsight because you’ve gone through it once before.
What would you do differently? What have you learned from this experience for your next time?
You might come out of that exercise with the belief that you wouldn’t actually do anything differently because you still made the best decision you could’ve.
That is also a valuable lesson to learn.
Do what you can
Once you’ve figured out how to respond to the situation and what to learn from it for the future, it’s time to act.
Let’s say there was a major bug that impacted all of your users and now it’s fixed. If you feel that the impact was large enough that you should do a post-mortem with everyone involved, go ahead and do it. If you think it was inconvenient enough to your customers that you should communicate it to them, figure out how to make that happen.
Frustration is often made a lot worse when you feel powerless.
Whether it’s speaking to your manager, seeking additional resources, or implementing new strategies, proactive steps can turn frustration into a catalyst for positive change.
Let go of the rest
Letting go is extremely challenging for everyone (myself included).
Some people seem to do this naturally because they just aren’t the type of person who dwells on things.
Most people need conscious effort and practice. It’s only through a rational thought process and breaking things down intentionally that it becomes possible to let go.
In the end, once you’ve taken the lessons that you can take and responded in whatever way you can, there’s nothing else you can do.
Feeling frustrated beyond that just takes time and energy that could be better spent elsewhere.
There’s nothing that can be done to change the situation now because it’s already happened.