A Few Thoughts on Meeting New Challenges in the Workplace

Syda Productions/Shutterstock

Syda Productions/Shutterstock

The world is an uncertain place right now; the devastation during the last month has been profound.

Everyone has been affected to some degree, including your boss, least favored co-workers, and most difficult customers. Everything is more challenging.

Many of us may have trouble coping. But keep these thoughts in mind as you move through your day:

1. People handle crises in their own ways. Communications can easily break down when we begin to interpret the responses of others.

You may assume: “My boss doesn’t care about us, only the work,” if she doesn’t share her feelings or seem upset. But maybe her style is to withdraw and “keep pushing” as a way of holding herself together emotionally. Handling grief is an individual proposition.

2. Some activities at work may take longer or be more difficult to finish. People who are normally organized may seem forgetful. Be patient with them and with yourself.  

Try to have a little sense of humor if your capabilities seem more limited.

3. Build your sense of control by focusing on what’s easy to do on your job. If you feel overwhelmed, keep your goals very simple.

You can formulate new goals as you accomplish small steps. If you need help in setting priorities, talk to your boss or others who can help.

4. Out of fear, we can all be quick to judge others. People from different backgrounds at work may now stand out in ways you did not perceive before. Watch carefully how you treat others.

5. High levels of fear can actually dull awareness, which we need now. Be vigilant about safety but don’t become preoccupied.

Stay busy, get back to your routine, contribute as much as you can and help others. Don’t spend your time absorbed in negative and fearful thinking.

6. Take this opportunity to understand more deeply what is important to you in work as well as life. This is a time where we can learn a lot about ourselves. Write down your thoughts and feelings.

Some people may develop a wisdom that results in changing their work. Others may find new dignity and meaning in their current work.

Remember that a world in crisis can provide rare opportunity for personal growth.

Let this experience guide you to scrutinize who you are and who you would like to be, and give you courage to push forward and perform to the best of your ability.

There is no time better than now.

Reprinted, with permission, from “The Chicago Tribune,” October 3, 2001, soon after September 11, 2001. These thoughts seemed relevant once again.