It is not news to anyone that the climate of the workplace has shifted dramatically over the last year or so. My clients often tell me that they fear losing their jobs and will do anything required of them to secure their positions. Other clients come to me frustrated with longer hours and more demands. They feel powerless. To many it feels like right now the world offers fewer choices. Allowing yourself to be powerless in your world is not going to help you progress or succeed in an ever changing workplace. The key is to learn resilience with change and empower yourself with the choices you do have.
I often use a tool call “better, barter, or bag it” with my clients. The concept is that in any situation you have a choice. For people who are working in companies where the downsizing has left few staff members and the same workload there is probably not a lot of bartering of responsibilities that can happen. Many employees feel that their employers are taking advantage of them due to the recession. And the option of “bagging” the job is not a good one with so few jobs on the market. This is a hard position to be in but it’s important to realize that you do have choice.
This is where bettering it comes in. In order to “better” a situation you need to learn to accept the situation with out reacting to it and use your creative powers to look at ways of doing things differently. The creative part plays itself out here by developing new strategies. Think of how you can get the same amount of work done by doing it differently. Changes in the ‘how” may save a lot of time and allow you to feel less stressed and in turn be able to leave work at a more reasonable hour.
If your work responsibilities are intertwined with several of your co-workers, discuss with them how the situation could be handled by working together to create a new system where the work gets done in a timely manner and everyone’s time is respected. Present it to the management as a group; emphasize your commitment to the company and how this plan would benefit everyone. Try to avoid complaining about the situation, this may shut the management off completely. Creating alternatives in which there is a mutual benefit will create a more open atmosphere where a healthy discussion can occur.
If you are in a position where you have to go it alone, make an appointment with your boss. Start the meeting off by empathizing with him about the struggles that exist in the current economic climate and how this affects everyone. Have a plan you can present to him that shows you are still a team player, but allows you to some freedom in getting your task completed. This could be by organizing your responsibilities differently or presenting options that could help the company meet its objectives more effectively. The key here is to empower yourself by creating a new way of getting things done that benefits the company and your personal time equally. It is worth trying, if you get nothing from it materially you will have at least gained the confidence in discovering that you have a voice and ideas to share. It will also give you some momentum to start developing a plan for your career that will enable you to find a position that is more compatible with your lifestyle.
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Laura Tirello is a Career and Life Coach. Her company, Core Life Design, works with people who are looking to find their highest potential both in their careers and personal lives. Are you looking for ways to turn your ideas into goals for 2010? I am offering a free teleclass, “Shifting from Thinking to Doing: Creating a Mission Statement for Your Ideas.” Email Laura at Laura@corelifedesign.com to sign up or visit corelifedesign.com for more information.