When to wuss out at work

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When to wuss out at work

sistersTiny white scars mar the skin on my hands.

The crescents are remnants of a “who-blinks-first” game my little sister and I played when we got bored in church. She dug her 5-year-old nails into my 6-year-old flesh until I jerked my arm away. Of course, I did the same to her. She always cried uncle sooner than I did, which pleased me. I was the tough one. She was the wuss.

But I’m the one with the scars.

In this tit-for-tat world, where one person spouts off here, another person rebuts there, Piers Morgan picks a Twitter fight and 31,415 experts blog their two cents, it’s hard to jerk away from a challenge. Especially when it’s a fight you think you can win.

But here’s how you win when you back down from a fight:

  • You get your head space back. Obsessing about problems you can’t solve (e.g., how [insert large corporation here] is ruining your life) means you don’t have the brain power to obsess about problems you can solve (e.g., how to nurture your own business).
  • You get your time back. How much time have you spent crafting “this-person/company/idea/method-is-wrong-and-here’s-why” posts? How much time have you spent ranting on Twitter, at lunch or over cocktails? In the end, was it wasted time?
  • You don’t say, or write, something you’ll regret. In the heat of the moment, you can stab your own reputation with ugly words.

Anger has its place. Some battles are worth fighting to the end. For the battles that aren’t, take some life advice from Jay-Z, Jesus or me.

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Arienne Holland is the Director of Marketing and Customer Experience at Raven. She divides her time between outreach, writing, teaching and understanding developers. Before Raven, Arienne spent more than a decade as an editor and graphic designer for Gannett. She was a 2010 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for team breaking news journalism. She likes bread, books and bourbon.

More about Arienne Holland | @RavenArienne

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