No one wants to have a meltdown at work. Yet, it can happen and when it does, you need to figure out the best way to save or improve your reputation. You don’t want to be the topic of office gossip and have all your colleagues think you are immature or unprofessional. Worst case scenario is that you get fired for having a major breakdown where you need to be escorted out of the building in a straitjacket. Best case scenario is that you can salvage your credibility and end up becoming the office hero. Maybe you find yourself somewhere in the middle where it takes some time, but eventually you end up gaining the trust back from your boss and coworkers—and they won’t fear that you’ll go off the deep end again. Consider the following ways to save face after having a negative emotional display in the office.
Find Your Life Saver
When you’re in the middle of an emotional crisis at work, you are not in the right mind frame to make rational decisions. During the meltdown stage, you don’t really care in the moment, who sees you crying, screaming or running around the office like a maniac. In the moment, you need to find your life saver. If you want to regain people’s positive opinions, there needs to be an off switch that you can pull so that you can calm down as quickly as you’re able to. Of course, you may not be able to stop crying right away.
However, the quicker you can compose yourself, the better off you’ll be. That will help you minimize the damage you are causing so that you can work on salvaging your reputation. Your life saver could be a variety of things—from your inner angel voice telling you to squash down your demons, to your work buddy’s raised eyebrows and cut it out expression silently screaming at you to stop the drama. Maybe your life saver is the twenty sticky notes you have plastered all over your cubicle warning you to get your act together. After all, you know yourself so well that you had to write messages to make sure you stay in line in the office.
Make Your Apologies
Once you’ve calmed down to some semblance of a normal sane person, you should make your apologies. You may need to offer a quick apology and then make a run for cover to compose yourself further. However, it’s important to own up to your mistakes and make retribution for your crazy behavior. The way you apologize depends on the severity of your outburst. If you started ranting and raving during a meeting with a client, all because you couldn’t handle your workload anymore and lost the contract with them—then you must’ve had a major mental collapse. That could take a lot of groveling to your manager or boss to make things right.
If your meltdown was minor and only affected a few people in an inconsequential way, you should apologize to them. However, you don’t need to grovel. Hopefully, your colleagues will understand your momentary lapse in judgment and the reasons for your breakdown. No matter where you end up on the spectrum, make sure you use the right words and tone of voice. You’d better be sincere in your apology and make everyone believe your remorse over your irrational behavior. Understand that you will feel uncomfortable when making your apologies. Yet, push through those feelings and make your regrets so that you can fix your standing in the office. Be sure to thank everyone, who was negatively impacted by your negative actions, for accepting your apologies.
Figure Out the Source
If you want to save face and get back on track in the office after a major emotional malfunction, you need to figure out the source of your self-destructive actions. Maybe you only had one outburst at work and never acted that way before. You might have acted out like a maniac many times at work. However many times it’s happened, you will never repair your status in the office if you don’t get to the root of the issue so that you don’t act unprofessionally again. For the first time offenders, it may be easier to find out what caused you to have a breakdown. Perhaps you were having a bad day at work with too many demanding clients and one wrong word from a coworker set you off.
Understanding that reason can help you to get refocused and realize that you aren’t actually mentally unstable. It shouldn’t be too hard to make things right with everyone at work. Now, if you constantly freak out over missed deadlines or start screaming at coworkers for no reason, you may have a bigger problem on your hands. Your workplace expectations may be skewed and cause you to react emotionally when the stress level gets too high. You might simply be working at a job that is way out of your realm of manageability and it’s making you unhappy in the office. Once you figure out what’s causing your professional disintegrations, you can make changes so that you repair people’s opinions of you.
Connect with Colleagues
Finally, you need to connect with colleagues after you have a breakdown. This is the part that happens after you’ve already made all your apologies and figured out the source of your issues. You need to repair the way that your coworkers and managers look at you, after they’ve seen you at your worst. It’s important to show them that you are sane and only had a temporary lapse in judgment when you allowed yourself to cry your eyes out or run around the office like a crazy person. If you run away and hide in your office for weeks, people are going to start talking and rumors will fly about you. Sure, it’s normal to want to crawl under a rock and hide for a bit.
However, when you need to save your good name and make everyone forget your crazy side, you must connect with people in the office. They have to see that you are normal and can have a positive impact at work. You must demonstrate that you can have productive relationships with others in the workplace and no one has to walk on egg shells around you—wondering when the next outburst will come. Go to work the next day with a new attitude and good energy about you. Don’t be afraid to talk to people in the break room and participate verbally in discussions during an office meeting. Show everyone that your breakdown is in the past and you are ready for the present.
Breaking down at work and acting out irrationally can happen more often than you’d think. If you want to make sure you stop getting looks from people trying to stay far away from you because you’re that girl, make sure you have an action plan in place to rectify the situation.
Find your life saver when you’re caught up in the craziness of the moment. Don’t wimp out on making apologies to the right people. You can help yourself save face if you figure out why you reacted the way you did. Make a point to rebuild the relationships you’ve made in the office. Connecting with people again will help you to show that you are a real professional who had a temporary slip up.
Have you ever had a meltdown at work? How did you save your reputation?