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Got work?  Then you "got problems".  Not many of us have the luxury of a carefree job that doesn't include some difficult challenges.  Regardless of the nature of the problems or the people that provoke them, these challenges can make your career a negative part of your life.   The good news is that there are coping strategies.  Let's get started!

When do problems need to be addressed?

A maturing moment for many of us in our careers is taking accountability for problems that get in our way.  Regardless if the problem originated out of our wrongdoing or the wrongdoing of others, dealing with something that prevents your production is an effective way to ensure your success.  If there is a problem, limit complaining, fix it, professionally address the person or issue at the root of the problem and move forward.  

How to deal with on-going problems that continue to happen?

If the problem is related to someone with whom you work; you should address the problem in a professional manner directly.  Let him/her know the issue of concern and make a suggestion as to the best way you both can resolve the problem.  Be willing to hear the other person's perspective also.

If that's not effective, you will want to discuss the situation with the manager in charge.  Let the manager know what you did to resolve the issue to include discussing it with the person with whom the problem originated.  Be respectful of the manager's advice and time it will take to address the issue in an effort to solve the problem. 

Ask when the manager would like you to follow up with him/her following your discussion.   Follow up with the manager for an update regardless if the problem is solved or not.  Make sure to keep him/her updated for future mediation.

How to deal with a difficult client or competitor?

Sometimes you may be in a situation where a client, customer or competitor begins to damage your opinion of your job, company or ability.  These people will complain about anything, regardless if you and your company are actually responsible for their problem.  When you are confronted by such individuals, keep your dealings professional and calm.  Use Email to correspond with these customers, when possible, to document your discussions and/or to follow-up to their phone call with a summary of what you both agreed.  Request either a read receipt or their agreement of the accuracy of the summary.  You can tell them this is a new business policy implemented for your customers when a problem arises to provide clear communication for the assurance of better customer service.  After each confrontation, make some brief notes. 

If the situations continue, speak with your manager.  Be efficient in your explanation and try to control your emotions about each incident and the individual.  Don't over elaborate, just give your manager needed details so that he/she can be prepared if the individual contacts him/her.

Never let someone outside of the company force you to quit.  If you like your employer and your job, do what it takes to resolve the situation.

Are there any tips for everyday stresses?

Tip #1  Don't stress about things you can't change.  There will always be aspects of our jobs that we like least or in some cases absolutely hate.  Focus on the things and people you like and worry less about those you don't.

Tip#2  Don't let the negativity of others destroy your opinion of your job, company or career.  Stay away from those whose only mission is dump their emotional burdens on you.  Negativity in the workplace is common in many organizations, but participation in such activity can be counterproductive to your success and longevity with the company.  Be confident and steadfast with your opinions and if you have a problem discuss it with those who have the power to change it, not those whose only interest is to exploit it.

Tip#3  Communicate like a professional with the emotional intelligence of a senior executive.  Even if your selling burgers, good communication skills can provide you a path to higher pay, management potential and overall job satisfaction.  If you act like a leader, you'll be treated like one.

Tip#4  Think before you react.  Things are going to happen at work that can cause many of us to react in a way that can cause greater problems.  Before saying or doing anything that could affect your job, give it some time.  Take a break or a walk before addressing the issue in order to regroup and think clearly about what needs to be said.

Tip#5 Know your worth.  At a certain point in a job, if you are not able to practice most of the above noted advice without still feeling unhappy, you may need to find a new position within the company that's a better fit for you.  In order to achieve personal success and happiness, a new company, education or career path may be what you need. 

Just don't make such a decision until you have had reasonable time to consider the outcome and research a better career path.  You are your greatest advocate.  If you don't stand up for yourself and your potential, why should anyone else?


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