March 28, 2008
Make Yourself Heard At Work
Jeff here, wishing you the best on a very busy Friday!
If you’re like me, you are buried in work; you have more on your plate than you can possibly handle. There are new tasks coming in before you’ve finished the old ones. You are stressed out, physically drained and there is no relief in sight. Now what?
First things first, are there others in your organization doing the exact same job? If so, and they are managing the same amount of work without stressing out, the problem may be that you are in the wrong job. But if you are the only one doing this job, or alternately, if everyone doing this job is having the same problems, you have several strategies available.
Do NOT allow yourself to be abused. Take your lunch, take your breaks, and indeed take all of them! A stressed out employee does a poor job, so working through your personal time is a recipe for poor performance and things will get even worse from here.
Ask for help! Let your supervisor know that you are over-burdened and getting further behind. Show your boss what you are doing with your time and if you can prove that you are working hard and still falling farther and farther behind, it will then become her responsibility to find a solution. So many people are fearful of asking for help, fearful that their boss will believe that they are lazy or incompetent. But if you are going quietly insane trying to do the unreasonable, it’s much better for everyone in the organization to be honest about your situation. Most employers will appreciate the honesty.
If possible, have a solution in mind. Are there tasks that you should not be doing? Are you behind because you’ve been forced to cover for someone else? Be ready to make suggestions. They may not be accepted, but it certainly won’t hurt to try. Your supervisor will appreciate the fact that you’ve taken the time to fully explore the situation and your options to fix it.
If you see your work as only a job, then it’s dragging you away from what you really want to be doing. If you see it as a calling, then it is no longer a toiling sacrifice. Instead, it becomes an expression of you, a part of you.
I consider it an enormous privilege to do work that has meaning, work that is not only personally fulfilling but that also, I hope, can make a difference in the world. It’s a privilege because many, if not most, people do not get such a sense of fulfillment from their jobs. Their work is something they do to put food on the table, something to endure in order to go home and do what really matters to them – play with their kids, wind surf, whatever.
Since we spend so much time at our jobs, no matter what we do, it’s important to enjoy our time there as much as possible. Take a couple of minutes right now to think about how to make your work life more pleasurable. Is there any aspect of work that you like? Do you enjoy the people you work with? Can you bring some of what you do enjoy to the office? A former co-worker loved to bake, and would make all sorts of tasty treats for us. Is there a benefit to society to what you do? What is it? Can you keep it in mind as you go about your day?