by Kris Pitcher
In the past week, I've had a handful of people talk with me about their struggles in one certain "danger zone". Difficult to avoid, this place is bound to cross your path on a daily basis. It simply can't be helped. So get your tactical gear on...we're going into the office break room!
Maybe it's the place you come in from the heat or cold. Either way, if you're not prepared it's a dangerous place. I've seen bare bones break rooms where you can't even find a stray napkin. And I have seen the Taj Mahal where you have anything you could want and a basketball court at your disposal. Break rooms come in all makes and models.
What they don't have, is your goals and plan in mind. They are FULL of danger. You've got to go in there with your eyes wide open, your plan in mind, and your mission clear. If you're going in there to fill up your water bottle. Get in, get filled up, and get out. Mission accomplished.
Don't allow yourself to be sidetracked by the counter full of partially-hydrogenated baked goods covered in frosting and smiley faces. Those items are not for you. Besides, if you knew that cake spent the weekend on the counter...and was still there Monday - gross!
When you go in to heat up your meal - if you must sit in there with the peanut gallery - be prepared. Be positive about what you're eating, don't begrudge it...you've chosen your goals. When Pauline the Pusher asks if you want some of the pizza they ordered in, simply say, "No thanks." No need to explain. Still pushing? "I appreciate your willingness to share - it just doesn't fit in with what I'm working on right now."
My point is use your words when people try to bully you. Silly, but it happens. One of the greatest tools is avoidance. I pack my cooler and I don't eat in the break room. Anti-social? Maybe, but I also prefer a bit of quiet time to recharge rather than a bunch of social time.
Knowing what you'll face in the break room is half the battle. You know there will be challenges in there. You know if you go in there without presence of mind, you may have something stuffed in your mouth before you know what happened.
Make your decisions before you even see what's on the counter of left-overs. You can break through the office break room by being present, and keeping your goals in mind!