The Importance of Choosing Your Battles at Work

RJ Carr
4 min readJul 21, 2023

If you fight every battle, you will eventually lose the whole war

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It's Monday and you are fighting the morning traffic to get to your desk job at the publisher. Roughly, twenty employees work there and you heard the company hired a brand new graduate from the local university.

You pull into the parking lot and navigate your way to your normal parking space on the first row next to the path across the driveway from the front door. As you turn the corner to your row, you see another car parked there surrounded by other empty spaces. Does this person not know that this is your space? It is not designated for you but having been with the company for five years, everyone knows that is where you park. You do not recognize the car and figure either it is a visitor, someone from another company in the office building or maybe the new employee. Is this going to ruin your day? If it is the new employee are you going to speak to the person about it? Where will you park for now? There are after all about fifty available spaces about ten are adjacent from your preferred spot.

Choose your battles

There are several proverbs that if we understand them they can make a huge difference on how well we live in the working world and even address this situation. One of them is choose your battles.

You have a battle situation that arose. Someone took your precious parking spot.

Remember, there is no rule that only you can park there but everyone in the company recognizes that is where you always park so they never challenged you favorite spot.

Since there is no rule, you really have no leg to stand on to prevent anyone from parking in your spot. However, it is your favorite spot. What is your decision?

This is a classic situation we can use to understand the importance of choosing our battles.

Let us say that the offending parker is the new employee. Do you risk souring your relationship with your co-worker over a parking space in which at best there is an unwritten law that you can leave your jalopy there but there is no formal rule. The alternative is to let it go, find another parking spot and if other co-workers ask about why you changed spot you…