To put it mildly, office morale is not real great right now. After all the layoffs that have taken place in the last year, people are feeling overworked, held back, and fearful that the axe could fall on them next. It's not surprising a lot of people are mulling some kind of move, if not now, then as soon as they sense a real shift in the economy.

HourglassIf you're one of them, you don't want to get fired because of a bad attitude or slipping performance, especially if you haven't found a new job yet. If the idiosyncrasies and demands of your boss and co-workers have become unbearable, practice these techniques to keep your cool.

  1. Focus on the future: Now that you've made the decision to leave, let go of any negative thoughts about the company and your colleagues. Remember it's only a matter of time before you're working somewhere else. Imagine your future career. Just be sure not to disengage completely: Keep your performance high and don't expose your exit strategy.
  2. Count to 10: Although it's a cliché, this really works. If you feel frustrated, take a quick walk, grab a cup of coffee with the funniest guy in the office, or take a mental health day. Don't respond immediately to increased work demands from your boss. Instead, think of alternative ways to complete the tasks so you can propose a solution that won't increase your workload.
  3. Isolate yourself: Avoid annoying co-workers and focus on your work. Work in unoccupied conference rooms or ask if you can telecommute a few days each week. If asked why you're doing this, don't be curt. Just tell inquisitive co-workers you need to focus because you have a heavy workload.
  4. Strive for work-life balance: While balance always tops the list of remedies for facing down workplace stress, now you can actually practice the concept. Go home as close to 5 as you can and spend time doing things you like to take your mind off the office. Sooner or later, you'll be working hard at your new job - and probably won't be able to leave early.

-- Leslie Stevens-Huffman