Tuesday 24 July 2012

Quick Tip: Smile

It's 4:59 pm on a Friday and you're ready to go home. You've planned to go away for the weekend and get some R and R when your boss comes in and announces that there's a special event tomorrow and you'll have to work, all day, with no extra pay, and there's nothing you can do about it since it's in your contract.

So what do you do? Get angry? Patiently try to explain? Smile and nod?

I know it sounds bad, but sometimes when it's not worth a fight smiling and nodding is the best thing to do. Getting angry will only make things worse, especially if you work in Asia where loss of face is a big issue. You could try to explain to your boss, but if it's in your contract, there's not much you could do. You should talk to your boss later and tell her that you'd appreciate some advanced notice. Or try to change the contract so that if you work Saturday you get an extra day off or extra pay.

This isn't the only situation when smiling is the best option. I know it's hard when kids go crazy and run around, or your students are using their smart phones yet again to text in class, or when your boss comes up with a hare-brained idea, but smiling can help soften the blow and doesn't make you look bad like shouting and getting angry does. The next time you find yourself in a difficult position, count to 10, smile, and try to explain the situation.

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