Deal With It! Handling Challenging “Situations” at Work: Asking Tough Questions and Responding Appropriately

When a “situation” arises at work and things become rocky, do you hide in fear, anger, and indecision? Do you bury your head in the sand and hope the problem fades away? Or, do you step back, investigate, make lucid decisions and take action? How you handle stressful situations can affect your productivity and satisfaction at work. Before you act, here are a few pointers to guide your decisions when things become sticky in the workplace.

Gauge the Situation

One key thing is to assess the situation from a business perspective. Determine the real problem. How does the change affect you? What are your feelings concerning this change? Then ask yourself this question; do I enjoy what I do? If you do, can you stay where you are, or do you need to conduct research, start your job hunt and move on? Maybe you need to start your own company! There are usually options. Key ingredients for success here, include desire, self-motivation, and a positive, yet realistic cheering section to help you work through difficulties and move on.

Act on your Findings

It’s important to note whether the issue was caused by you or by others; and so, your emotional intelligence (noting and valuing your feelings and those of others), counts. If during your assessment of the situation you determine that you are to blame; acknowledge your misstep, learn from it; then resolve it. Seek assistance in changing your point of view and educate yourself in order to avoid future challenges. Sometimes a change in your point of view is necessary. If there is a person or group at work that is making your life difficult, why not speak with them directly? Doing either of the above can be difficult, but introspection, scrutiny, and both inner strength and vulnerability are necessary for helping to heal ford move on for all parties involved.

Just Leave?!?

Many people would quit if they are unhappy at work. But, is that the best decision? You should always consider your personal situation. Questions to entertain include, are you living paycheck-to-paycheck? Do you have six months or more of contingency funds saved up until you acquire another position? How will you provide for your family (if you have one)? What is the job market like in your field? What is the economic climate in your city and in the country? Are you willing to relocate? Can your family drop everything and move with you? Experts warn, “no!” Never leave your job unless there is another sure thing waiting in the wings. Writer, Amy Gallo in a Harvard Business Review article cautions readers to “know the risks” of quitting; “always leave toward something,” and to never “run out the door.” However, sometimes you just have to let go; it’s the right time that’s in question. Note that this all points back to thinking clearly and acting effectively to realize the best outcome.

Divine Intervention

One colleague added the first thing she would do is pray about making the right decision, rather than trust herself to act in her limited human capacity. Seeking assistance from a divine power is always a good idea as it can calm and reassure you that you are acting sensibly, rather than angrily or fearfully. However, after a reasonable waiting period, it is important to act.

In the End

If you’ve done all the above and more within a suitable amount of time (this varies per person and “situation”), and you’re still unhappy, it is time to move on. Do so gracefully. Burning bridges is not advisable as who you know can be crucial in garnering employment elsewhere.

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  • Maureen "Karama" Forbes

    Writer, Yoga Instructor and College Faculty

    Writing, yoga and spending time with my daughter have allowed me creative luxury. I've spent the last two decades of my career honing my writing craft and helping others master their own writing and reading skills as an instructor. I am also a freelance copywriter and copy editor for writers and small companies. Specialties include conception, focused writing, and editing for meaning and client involvement. Additionally, I have been a certified hatha yoga instructor since 2006 at studios and gyms. I also have private, individual clients, and I operate a YouTube channel called Dynamic Yoga Journey.