Roughing It (and Surviving) in the Workplace
With summer and camping season rapidly approaching in the Pacific Northwest, many of us are considering how well we can actually “rough it” out there in the wilderness; however, you don’t have to go far to discover how well you are able to confront uncomfortable situations. In fact, a weekend in the forest isn’t even needed. There are many times throughout our careers that we will be put in uncomfortable or undesirable situations at work with the expectations of surviving and thriving.
The following are just a few examples of times that we may encounter those “roughing it” situations and simple/easy to apply solutions to get you through the workday.
Roughing It Scenario: You Are Given a New Responsibility with Little to No Instruction
Survival Tip: This scenario reminds me of those “reality” tv shows that follow a person who has been dropped off in the middle of nowhere with only the clothes on their backs and a few primitive tools to ensure their survival. While these shows are entertaining, they may be altogether too relatable for those struggling with a new role in the workplace. Along with feeling completely out of your element, it is intimidating and overwhelming to be given new responsibilities without assistance to guide you through a transition. If you find yourself dropped off in a new role with only your existing knowledge and a few tools to help you succeed, make sure that you take advantage of communicative coworkers who are willing to help you decipher your new role.
Roughing It Scenario: Limited Supplies
Survival Tip: Typically, in an office setting, there is a designated person to make sure that the office is stocked with supplies like paper, pens, etc. But what happens when the printer is out of ink or you can’t find a single pen to use in the entire office? Of course, you should always notify the appropriate person; however, this is also an opportunity to take some initiative. Maybe you can suggest an improved supply schedule so that those essential office supplies are readily available, or you may even offer to take on that responsibility if it is a consistent issue. Be proactive and also make sure that you survive relatively stress free in those situations by creating your own stockpile at your workspace with extra pens, paper and any other supplies that you use on a daily basis.
Roughing It Scenario: Losing a Team Member
Survival Tip: It is never easy when a team member chooses to leave. In addition to impacting morale, the remaining team members are often left scrambling to cover the vacant position until it is filled. To lessen the stress and distribute the workload evenly, communicate with your team and learn what their job functions and responsibilities are. By openly sharing this information within the team, if one member chooses to leave, their responsibilities can be distributed to those with similar job functions until a new hire is made.
Roughing It Scenario: Dealing with a Toxic Coworker
Survival Tip: Whether they are your peer or your boss, you can sum a negative, gossipy, energy draining coworker up in one word- toxic. If you encounter one of these personalities, redirection will become the best tool in your interactions with them. You may be thinking that you can simply move your workspace, ignore or avoid, but those strategies only work until you are forced into a meeting or work on a project with them. As a result, redirect toxic conversations back to work related topics and refuse to let their toxicity rub off on you. Of course, continuing issues require documentation and a conversation with HR, but redirection is a step that you can take in your daily interactions.
Roughing It Scenario: Exhaustion
Survival Tip: Being exhausted at work is not unusual, and if we are perfectly honest, can be a daily struggle. Despite the seemingly normal nature of exhaustion, it is important to take steps to combat it so that our productivity stays high and we are able to reach our goals during the workday. There are the tried and true tips and tricks that primarily recommend self-care- eating the right foods, drinking enough water, getting a full 8 hours of sleep every night, etc. However, exhaustion can also result from having a lack of work/life balance. Rushing around from work to family obligations to the gym and back to work again is exhausting; as a result, you may choose to scale back or even schedule in some staycations throughout the year.
The next time that you are thinking about how to “rough it” in the wilderness, consider the real challenge- surviving and succeeding in the workplace.