Some days I walk into my office ready to conquer the day... I'm laser focused and mentally prepared to power through my crowded inbox, 28 unheard voice messages and constant employee issues. These are "good" days. Days when I feel like I earned my pay and truly put in 8-10 hours of solid work. These are days I cross a few things off my To-Do List and can go home at night without a thousand issues on my mind of things I have to do tomorrow.
Everyday is not a good day. Sometimes I come into my office pissed off that I'm there in the first place. Although I am thankful for God's many blessings, I have had my share of mornings when the alarm clock set fire to my eardrums at 6 AM, and my initial reaction was "F this job". By the time I drag myself into work it's hard to conceal the obvious leave-me-alone emotion from my facial expressions. These are "bad" days. On bad days I have two choices: 1) stay on this crappy path full of irritation and attitude; or 2) take a moment to get hype to my fav playlist and boss up to turn this day around. Depending on the day, its a 50/50 chance on the path I choose.
We all have good days and bad days. Pretending like life doesn't affect me would be a total exaggeration for the purpose of creating a false picture perfect image. If I'm being honest, sometimes I'm sweet as peach tea, and other times I'm a shot of vodka. Although I'm always professional, my behavior could range from short and direct to bubbly engaging with a smile. I have a love/hate relationship with the saying "leave your feelings at the door" because I understand the concept of wanting employees to separate their emotion from work, but as humans we naturally feel. That doesn't mean you can have a mental breakdown at work every other week, but it does mean I understand you're not a robot and cannot just turn yourself on and off because you walk into a building.
I encourage you to try your best at all times, but the reality is our best needs a break. If I'm feeling a battle inside my uterus, you probably won't get my best today and that's just what it is - I'm here and I'm doing my job, but it's not Grade A quality. In a world where perfection is praised I'm here to tell you it's okay to slouch a little; don't beat yourself up for taking a moment to be a little sub par, as long as below average isn't your normal.
If you're going use your "my best is on vacation" card, make sure you're in the right position to do so by running through the below checklist.
1) It's not a big day - if you have a presentation at work, an event to run, an interview, or any other reason to sit in the spotlight you cannot have a mediocre day. Instead, set aside your excuses and power through the struggle.
2) You are not the entire team - if your position is unique and there is little to no backup for your role, you need to show up and show out everyday. This is a tough responsibility of your job (which you probably where told from the beginning), but your reliability have to be top notch.
3) You're a good employee - if you are not a good employee you are in no position to take breaks. Simply put, if you have not earned respect and trust in your role you need to keep working towards that before you even begin to show any type of slack.
4) No one is watching you - you're always being watched in the workplace, but if you aren't under review for performance or merit increases you might have a day to relax.
5) Your job is not customer centered - if you interact with customers all day, or majority of the day, you cannot have a tough day, unless you're really good at turning it on and off. For example, if you work in a call center and can flick the switch on your happiness every time you pick up the phone, you may be okay to proceed.
The effort your give is what will define you; people will make judgments on your character and your work ethic based on your day to day behavior; because of this, you should try to work your hardest at all times. However stuff happens - maybe you pulled an all nighter with your sick kid or had an extra long commute this morning that ruffled your feathers. Whatever the case may be, ease off the gas a bit and take a break when needed. Of course the world prefers your best, but even the best need a day off too.