3 minute read

Advice given on February 28, 2022.

Harsh Words Make Me Sad

Hey Jay,

I have a problem at work, but I’m not sure if it is a “me” problem, or a larger problem with the workplace culture. When my manager criticizes my work, I feel really sad. Fortunately, I know I am not the only one who’s work gets critiqued - I believe this type of criticism is leveled at all of my co-workers in equal measure. However I don’t get the impression it fazes them, while I usually need to take a few minutes to re-focus and center myself before I can continue my day. Am I just too soft? Is this an actual problem or am I just dramatic? Thanks!

Shaken Up


It’s okay to be sensitive. Without the details it is hard to gauge whether or not you are too sensitive, however. If your office is a bit larger, try to get a sense for how other managers provide feedback to their teams. The wording you provide, “criticism”, and “critique”, are a bit harsher than what I’d expect, a more positive workplace culture might have you using a word like “feedback” to describe the comments you get about your work from a manager. If you are comfortable confiding in any of your immediate coworkers, you might want to ask them if they ever feel your manager’s comments are too harsh. Their answer could let you know if your feelings are shared by others, or if indeed you are overly sensitive.

My admittedly harsh take, is that this is likely a good growing and learning experience for you. You’ve gotten stuck in an uncomfortable situation, and it is smart of you to be trying to sort this out. Whether or not your fellow co-workers think your manager is too hard on y’all is almost unimportant; how you, as an individual, handle it is what matters most. You are unlikely to get your supervisor to change their ways, and it doesn’t seem like a productive use of time to try. It is more practical for you to either change your state of mind and accept that they are a bit more harsh than you’d like, or start figuring out how to remove yourself from the situation. I am assuming that your manager is otherwise a good colleague and coworker, and really this is the only sticking point you have with them. So given those ideas, you should weigh your options and think about your job, your career, and your life in a bigger picture sense, to determine what the best course of action for you in this situation is.

Afraid to Fall

Hey Jay,

I’ve recently had a few health scares and am a bit wary of many physical activities now. My doctors all say I can get back to life as usual, but I feel like I have a mental block, and I can’t get over my fears. Do you have any suggestions to help me get back to living an exciting and active life?

Thanks, Nervous Nellie

Hi Nellie,

While I can’t pretend to know the details of your exact situation, I can’t help but think that your reaction is totally normal. If you haven’t already brought up this mental challenge you’re facing to your doctors, I’d suggest you do that first, as I am not a medical professional. They may have some good suggestions, or may be able to refer you to a therapist or psychiatrist that can help you get over your mental hurdle.

If you think you’ve had enough of doctors’ offices, I guess my suggestion would be to take things one day at a time. While you will have to push yourself a little bit outside of your comfort zone to get back to what you used to do, don’t be upset if progress is slow and incremental. These things take time, and you certainly don’t want to create a new physical or mental problem for yourself. So just take things slow, and progress at your own rate, and know that what you are feeling is totally understandable, I think most people would be hesitant to resume activities that were previously perilous to them!