Posts tagged: On the job

How to negotiate a power struggle at work


Power struggles personify the worst kind of office politics. They sap energy. Distract from purpose. And hold the potential to derail success and happiness.

It’s the rare individual who actually enjoys a power struggle. Most of us want to do what we’re paid for, joke around with our colleagues, and feel like we’ve contributed.

That’s not so easy when emotions are running high. Empathy is replaced with an “us or them” mentality that can quickly escalate. Then we’re stuck either dodging bullets or picking sides. What other choice do we have?

The heart of the struggle

Power often evokes the image of a corner office where people in expensive suits lay down the law for the rest of us. But the reality is, power — and the fight for it — can come from anywhere.

To help us understand workplace struggles, and how to respond to them, we asked our colleague Sara Kalick
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5 ways to banish the work blahs


We’ve all been there: in a job to which we’ve resigned ourselves. “It’s good enough,” we tell ourselves, and we try to focus on the positive. But we just can’t shake that weighed-down feeling.

Whatever the cause of your work ennui, we’ve put together five ways to help you feel better:

  1. Make something right now (artistic ability not required).
    When you’re feeling powerless at work, or in any aspect of your life, making something is a great way to boost your energy and confidence. Things you can make include: a cake, a journal entry, a garden, a website, an article that you publish on LinkedIn, a drawing, a Spotify playlist, or a collage. Have fun, and don’t judge the results — they aren’t the point. The point is to have fun (yes, fun! Remember that?) and to enjoy the sense of agency you get from making something. Now imagine
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If I have to spend one more minute with this person, I might scream!


annoying coworker

We all have “that” person at work, that annoying coworker with an uncanny ability to get under our skin — even make the environment feel toxic. Whether it’s the office know-it-all or a passive-aggressive button-pusher, every interaction makes our blood boil.

Unfortunately, dodging them in the hallways or fantasizing that they’ll get fired only works for so long. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to face them. (Sound of sad trombone.)

The good news is, it’s possible to feel better. The harder news is, doing so is up to you. It’s not enough to behave impeccably despite someone acting horribly; your reactions to them are making you unhappy. So it’s time to change your reactions.

Here are six things you can do to keep “that person” from ruining your day
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How I changed careers (and found work that is truer to my nature)


Rachel Cohen is a licensed New York social worker, freelance writer, and Fordham grad. She currently works at the Association of Community Employment (ACE), assisting the homeless population in finding full-time jobs. She loves writing about social work, self-care, mental health, and vocational development.

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For the last three years that I worked as a digital editorial director, I loathed not only my job, but also my career. “Loathed” is a pretty strong word, but it’s accurate. I felt dread at the first hint of my alarm clock every day. What’s worse, I felt despair every night, thinking that I was powerless and that this feeling would never end.

Depressed, I tried to eat away my problems — my typical solution — which led to major weight gain. I was sick and lethargic, often from the stress.

I didn’t have the nerve to quit, and instead I fantasized about getting
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Job search: Get the confidence you need right now


Job search

It’s time for a new job. About that you’re certain.

What’s less certain is that you’ll land a good one, especially with all the what-ifs swirling in your head.

What if I’m going in the wrong direction? What if I can’t find the same salary level? What if I don’t have what it takes? What if the new job is worse than my old one? What if they make me take a test? What if? What if? What if?

Stop.

Ask yourself a new question: What can I do right now?

Looking for a new job dredges up a lot of pesky (and persistent) feelings of insecurity. We spend time imagining the worst instead of preparing for the best. To regain your confidence and hang onto it, you need to put aside distracting uncertainties (which, by the way, don’t help get anything done) by focusing on the actions you can take.

Start by tackling these three
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What goes wrong when you’re always right


What goes wrong when you're always right

Stuck Moment: His strategy is wrong, I just know it. But when I explain it to him, he doesn’t seem to want to hear it  — no matter how much I insist. I don’t understand why people won’t listen for their own good. It’s not my fault if I’m right.

*   *   *

Seeing things that others don’t can put us in an awkward place. We want — or need — to prove our point, and yet somehow this makes us the bad guy. And that just doesn’t compute: Being right = good, not bad, right?

Not always.

Yes, contribute to the conversation, but be mindful of how. We humans, after all, can be a prickly lot. And one red-hot button is when someone regularly tells us we’re wrong. We start to feel devalued. Perhaps unworthy. Definitely annoyed.

The consequence of being that righty-pants, no matter how good your intention, is that
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Coworkers won’t communicate? Break out the Tip Cards


Evie Racette is a straight shooter.

Bred in the Midwest, she was raised to speak her mind. But these days, as the new town manager of Pinetop Lakeside, a resort town in Arizona’s White Mountains, she finds herself in a communication conundrum. How can she introduce necessary change if she can’t talk freely with her coworkers?

“I just took the position in October, and I’ve felt resistance,” she explains. “In the southwest you couch everything you say, and that’s been hard for me.”

Then she came across Unstuck’s new Tip Cards, and it dawned on her that the cards might tackle the elephants in the office using a process that suited the culture.

“I thought it would be a great resource for the staff. I saw it as problem solving in a removed way.” Evie says. “We all have interpersonal issues, and sometimes that’s not easy to share with your manager. The
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You’re doing everything right — but you still feel stuck


How accountable are you?

Stuck moment: I can’t believe she thinks I’m not pulling my weight. I’ve done everything that’s required — what more does she want?

*  *  *

Think of it as the silent stuck moment. There’s nothing wrong, really. What needs to happen happens. Deep down, though, you know something is off. And on the surface, it feels like treading water — tiring and not all that inspiring.

Take it as a sign that it’s time to reflect on your level of accountability in the situation.

There is responsibility — I do what I’m supposed to do — and then there is accountability — I do what it takes. It may seem subtle when put into words, but the difference is palpable when it comes to achieving our goals.

When we’re truly accountable, we’re all in. We’re motivated. We pay attention. We communicate. We battle obstacles and seek solutions. People see it in our facial expressions
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“The best work advice I ever got”


Let’s face it — all of us who work feel the same way now and then: We struggle with self-doubt, fumble for the right answers, and sometimes just wing it and hope it flies. Fortunately, people are inclined to offer their hard-earned pearls of wisdom to help us find our way. We asked 24 professionals to share the single best piece of work advice they’ve
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How to take the fear out of feedback


Feedback

Eh, feedback. Like death and taxes, other people’s opinions of what we do are a fact of life. Whether on the job or in the thick of wedding planning, people who care for us will sometimes offer hard-to-hear truths about our behavior. And that can trigger a flood of fear and negative emotion that blots out the positive opportunities that the feedback offers. Consider that:

Feedback is a chance to gather perspective other than your own on how you’re doing.

Feedback is a chance to course-correct before it’s too late.

Feedback is a chance to plan to succeed.

It’s not something you want to miss out on, but many of us usually do in one of three
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