Archive for February, 2009

Problems at work: I hate my boss/Manager

February 21, 2009

People do not work or live in isolation. Even if you are in a dream job, it can be marred by the presence of someone who upsets, frustrates or bullies you. This conflict can dominate your work life and spill over into your private time. The situation can be intensely stressful and can make the working days hell. 

Everyone has ways in which they like to work and there are different styles of management for different types of people. However, some managers use the same approach with everyone, so there will inevitably be conflict. I have been in situations like this before for the following reasons:

·         I feel my work and decisions are undermined by my manager who questions my abilities 

·         I am micro-managed and have to account for all my time, making me feel like I am not trusted

·         I don’t respect my manager or the way they works or treat people

What are your specific problems with your manager?

Don’t be put off though! There are some fantastic managers out there who know how to look after and appreciate their people. They manage to the individual’s style and not with a broad brush approach. If you are a manager yourself, or if you want to be one, consider how you would like to be treated and appreciate individual differences in styles of work.  

How do you want to be treated by your manager? 

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Trapped in your job?

February 15, 2009

These are the most common reasons people feel trapped in their jobs.

  •          Money: The job brings in money needed for the rest of life. It gives income security and may be within an industry that pays well. When people are well qualified for a job they are paid more than for a job they are new at. Starting at the bottom again means less income and families rely on the money for living. All these add up to make people feel they have to stay in their current job as moving is too risky. 
  •          Status: If people feel they have a certain status based on how much they earn, or the job they do, they may also feel trapped by the need to live up to what other people think of them. For example, going from an accountant to a dressmaker may be considered a status drop as well as an income drop, even though it may be what someone really wants to do.
  •          Perception: Sometimes people are trapped by their own idea of what opportunities they have and they don’t know how to get out of the situation. They perceive that there are no options for them other than to stick with the job they are in.

Do you feel trapped in your job? What are you trapped by?   

The theory of ‘learned helplessness’

The theory of learned helplessness explains how people can become trapped in situations that they feel they can’t get out of (Source: Martin Seligman). When life is painful or difficult and people learn to live with their problems for a long time, it is difficult to see a way out, even when the door is open. The more you allow situations to be in control of you, the less you are able to break out or see opportunities.

It is important to break this cycle of thinking and change your perception of what is around you. What you perceive is just a tiny piece of the actual reality. There are unlimited possibilities; you just need to break down the mental barrier that stops you seeing them. 

“Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing,

that we see too late the one that is open.”

 

Alexander Graham Bell, Inventor of the telephone

Gratitude as an extension of being valued

February 10, 2009

Gratitude can often seem in short supply in many companies, but thanking people helps at every level of the organisation. Gratitude focuses the mind on the positive in your life and whatever your situation, you can find a great deal to be thankful for.

It is important to be grateful about where you are now, in order to be grateful about where you are going.

Even if you don’t enjoy your job, you can be grateful for the income it brings you, the experiences you can have, the friends you make and for the opportunities that are coming.

You might be thinking that “no one thanks me, no one appreciates me”. But just remember that if you give out positive energy and appreciation of others, you will find it coming back to you. Start appreciating what other people do for you at work. Focus on the positives, rather than the negatives. Try thanking other people, and they will begin to appreciate you in return. 

Take several minutes each day to find things for which to say thank you. It doesn’t matter who you say thank you to – God, the Universe, or other people. You can say them in your head, or out loud, or write them in a journal – whichever feels best for you. Try saying “Thank you” on your daily commute as this will give you a regular time every working day when you can reset your mind to the positive.  

This daily practice of gratitude puts the mind into a positive state for the day and will stop that feeling of dread as you travel to work. It may also stop you from being grumpy when you get home. Start with one or two things – your health, your family – and you will soon get the hang of it and find other things to be grateful for. Also, be thankful for the opportunities that are on their way to you, the people you will meet who will help you and the ideas that come to you about your future.

Being thankful is empowering at work for you and for others. Saying thank you to people for doing their jobs well is important. No matter what the job is, people need appreciation. It shows respect for that person and makes them feel more valued. You are likely to be treated better in return. Saying thank you is also a way to help difficult situations. For example, someone has made some critical comment about your work. Take a deep breath and then say “Thank you for your feedback – I appreciate the time you have put into it”. This can alter the dynamics of the situation in such a way that the criticism loses its sting and you can have an honest conversation about the subject.

Being grateful in advance also turbo charges your achievements, and boosts your confidence. If you can be thankful for achieving something, even before you have achieved it, then you are more likely to believe that you can reach that goal.

So think about the type of job you really want, be grateful that the job is coming to you, and then take action to achieve it. Focus on what you do want, not what you don’t want. Start saying thank you for the opportunity that is coming. 

 

“What you think about, and thank about, you bring about.”

Dr John de Martini

“How to Enjoy Your Job” available in India

February 6, 2009

I have many Indian colleagues and from next week, I will work for an Indian company. India is increasingly important in the global economy, and has a huge number of office workers. I have many subscribers to my free eworkbook from India … and now….

How to enjoy your jobHow to Enjoy Your Job” is now available in India – You can buy it here for 231 rupees plus postage

Pothi.com is an Indian publisher who will print your book and ship it directly to you. 

I have also written an open letter to Indian friends here – with photos of my own trip to India. 

Click here to BUY THE BOOK NOW – ONLY 231 rupees plus postage.

Value and Appreciation

February 5, 2009

“A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work” is fair enough. However, a lot of the time you do go the extra mile and work the long hours.

A word of praise, a personalised email of encouragement or thanks can make all the difference to how you feel about a situation.

These mementos last longer than the pay cheque and show that someone has valued what you have done. There are some managers and even companies that people love to work for because they are known for having a special way of treating people. These managers and companies recognise that people really are their means of doing exceptional business, and treat them accordingly. However, too often it seems people are treated as resources rather than individuals who are valued for their own sake. 

 

So why is this important? Isn’t it enough that we get paid for our work?

For many people in the modern Western world, the pay is well above the poverty level. It can be assumed that everyone can feed, house and clothe themselves so work is generally not just about survival anymore. Once the basic needs are fulfilled, then work must be about something more than that.

 It should give people the opportunity to develop and grow, and appeal to something other than just financial gain. There must be personal growth, something that can be achieved, a goal to reach towards, respect from others and rewards appropriate to the situation. Your self-esteem is also affected by what peers and managers think of you, as well as how much you perceive you are valued.

What kind of work will make you feel valued?

People have feelings, aspirations and something to add to companies if given a chance to express themselves. The following areas contribute, in part, to making work more positive and demonstrating that people are valued.

  •          Self management and autonomy. Being trusted to do the job without micro-management.
  •          Helping others. Doing things for other people can help escape negativity, especially if the job seems pointless or repetitive. In being needed by others, individuals can feel useful and valued.
     
  •          Being able to make decisions and not have those decisions overturned.
  •          Taking control and responsibility over specific areas of work.
     
  •          Ability to achieve goals and succeed at tasks.
     
  •          Being given the opportunity and encouragement to take the initiative and act creatively without fear of blame.
     
  •          Being rewarded appropriately and in proportion to the job done.
     
  •          Confidence in being able to plan your personal life around work. Stability in working hours.
     
  •          Being treated well and respected as a person and not as just a company resource. Acknowledgement of your other important roles such as partner or parent.

Which of these would make you feel valued at work? Are there ways you could improve any of these areas for yourself? 

Stress Management: Relaxation Ideas

February 1, 2009

Relaxation is important as it helps prevent and control the overwhelming panic that can occur when you are stressed. Relaxation may be a different experience for everyone but common themes are peace, quiet and calm. You need to be able to relax regularly in order to manage your stress. Give your mind and body some time off. It doesn’t have to cost you anything, but you do need to commit some time for relaxation. Here are some suggestions.
   

·         Sleep more. Your mind is powerful and can work on problems when you are asleep. As well as feeling refreshed when you wake up, you may also have the answers to some of your problems.

·         Turn off the TV and stop the constant noise and stimulation. Be silent or read a book.

·         Listen to some relaxation or meditation CDs. These are often available in your local library if you don’t want to buy any.  

·         Learn a relaxation technique like progressive muscle relaxation or visualisation. Again, there are books and CDs available on these topics.

·         Have a regular massage. Ask the therapist where you hold your stress in your body. This can help you identify which physical areas to focus on relaxing.

·         Take a yoga class. Breathe and stretch more.

·         Get a hammock and spend some quality time in it. There is something inherently relaxing about being in a hammock. You can get a stand instead of using hooks so you can put it anywhere.

·         See a professional hypnotist for relaxation and de-stressing.

·         Cry. Big sobbing bursts of crying can release tension and you will feel better when you are all cried out. This will only be useful if you find it socially acceptable but it does work!

·         Laugh a lot. Get some funny movies. Play with your children. Go to a fun park and go on the rides. Be silly. Check out a laughter club at www.laughteryoga.org

·         Get out into nature and walk. Go and look at something that is not the city.

 


“I find myself being mentored by the land once again. I too can bring my breath down to dwell in a deeper place where my blood soul restores to my body what society has drained and dredged away.”

Terry Tempest-Williams