(how to deal with stress) Workplace Stress When You Have a Job
In this article I want to talk about dealing with workplace stress when you have a job. There are a lot of different reasons why you might get stressed on the job. Perhaps the stress is intrinsic to the job – you could have poor working conditions. You might work in a fairly dilapidated building or the heating and cooling might not be very good. Perhaps there’s a bad neighborhood and you have to walk down a dark alley to get to your job, which can be very stressful. Maybe there are time pressures like not enough hours in the day to actually do your job properly. Perhaps you’ve got an excessive workload – there’s just too much work to do in the time that’s available.
Maybe there’s low pay, perhaps you’re struggling to make ends meet and working all the hours that there are but you still don’t manage to have enough to pay your bills at the end of the week.
There might be dangers – you might have a dangerous job, you might work at heights or you might be a truck driver, you might be a police officer or somebody on the front line where you come into contact with dangerous people or dangerous situations and that can be very stressful because you’re suppressing the “fight or flight” reaction that’s hard wired into your brain.
There might be a problem with your role in the organization – your job might be sort of fairly ambiguous you never really know what you’re supposed to be doing or who you’re supposed to be reporting to and I’m sure everybody reading this has been this sort of situation at some point where you never really know what you’re supposed to be doing until you get told off for not doing it and again that can be very stressful.
There might be some sort of role conflict – you might be having to do two jobs that are not particularly compatible and you have to find a way to find some sort of a middle ground but there doesn’t ever seem to be that. Perhaps you’re responsible for the actions of others; perhaps you have to farm things out to another company or another department and then when they don’t do it properly you’re the one who gets penalized, that sort of thing does happen quite a lot. Maybe there are divided loyalties where you work, perhaps you’ve got someone who you’re very friendly with but they’re not doing a very good job and you’ve got to try and balance your friendship with this person with your job and your role within the organization and that can be very difficult and stressful. It could be that you just simply feel that you’re under appreciated – nobody really appreciates the job you do, you put in the hours, you do the work and there’s always some kind of problem.
Another stress point within workplaces can be career development. Perhaps you have been over promoted – you have been promoted to a job that you didn’t really want but you felt that you couldn’t say no and you’re not doing the job very well or you just simply find that you’re more of a doer than a thinker or more of a thinker than a doer and you find that you’re having a hard time coping.
Likewise under promotion – if you feel that you deserve better than you’re actually getting but you’re simply stuck in a rut and you really feel that you should be moving on but you’re not able to do it then that can be stressful. That relates to the next topic – job boredom – if you’ve been doing the same job day in, day out and you’re bored stiff with it then that can be very stressful as well especially if you don’t see any way out. Lack of job security can also be very stressful.
If you’ve ever worked for a company that’s in financial difficulty you know exactly what I mean – you don’t know whether you’ll have a job tomorrow and you don’t know how you’re going to pay the bills if the company goes bankrupt that can be very stressful. It could be thwarted ambition – you could want to move on but you find that there’s someone who is standing in your way, someone who is stopping you from fulfilling your ambition, from fulfilling your potential and you feel like you’re really hitting a brick wall. Particularly in organizations that are very structured where you really need to climb up the next rung of the ladder but there’s someone who is making sure that you don’t, that can be very stressful indeed. Then of course it could be problems with relationships at work. You could have a conflict with your boss or your subordinates or co-workers – people that you need to get on with but you don’t, you might have a boss who is very demanding and finds fault with everything, you might have subordinates who don’t listen to you, you might have co-workers who are uncooperative or always dump all the rotten jobs onto you.
Maybe you have difficulty delegating, perhaps you’re one of these people who feels that you need to do everything yourself and you can’t delegate and that can be very difficult especially if you’re new into a management role and of course being responsible for what you have delegated, being responsible for the people that you’ve delegated the task to can be very stressful especially if you’re not 100% confident that they will be able to do the job properly.
And of course our old friend – office politics can be very stressful especially if you work in one of these offices where there’s lots of gossip and backbiting. Especially if you work for a big company where this sort of thing tends to be prevalent and that can be very stressful because if you fall out with so-and-so then they’re going to make your life difficult further down the line and you just never really know what’s going on, you got to watch your back the whole time.
Finally the organizational structure might be difficult where you work. You might have little or no say in the decision making process for example. There might be budgetary restrictions – you might not be able to have the right equipment that you need, you might not be able to afford to hire temporary staff to do the job for you because there just simply isn’t the money.
There might be other restrictions – you might have someone who is being difficult and being restrictive and that can cause lots of trouble. There might be poor communications – things that you want to know but you are not being told and then you don’t find out until it’s too late and then there are more problems and so on. All of this result in stress and pressure. Your brain wants to either fight it or flee from it and you can’t because you’re just there all the time and this is when the stress starts to build up and it might be not one particular fact, it might be a lot of different factors that add up over time that can really cause all the stress.
What should you do in that type of situation?
(how to deal with stress)
The first thing you want to do is you want to make a note of what’s making you stress – once you’ve discover what the problem is you’re halfway to finding a solution. Then you need to develop healthy responses to that. That might be some type of relaxation technique.
If you’re in a big organization and somebody is giving you a hard time, it’s not really your problem you can kick the problem upstairs to pass the problem on to somebody else and look for a healthy response, a healthy way rather than getting mad, rather than sort of bottling it up inside that is one way of helping to deal with stress.
You need to change what you can change and you need to manage what you can’t change particularly if you’re in a subordinate role in a company.
There’s a lot of things you can’t change, you can’t change the actual corporate nature of the business but you can manage how you deal with it and the best way to do that is to talk to your superiors. Talk to your boss, tell him or her what the problems are, tell them that you have such a hard time and perhaps together you can come up with a solution.
But of course at the end of the day if all else fails if you just find you’re under too much stress then find another job. I know in difficult economic times that’s easier said than done and it can be hard to find another job but bear in mind your health is very important and if you suffer the effects of stress on your health then quite frankly money isn’t worth having poor health. You need to find some other way of making a living that isn’t quite so stressful.
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