Enterprise Software

Implosion: Not the best workplace coping strategy

If you don't learn how to deal with pressures at work, you could fall victim to what we call a Personal Implosion. Here's how to avoid that.

If you don't learn how to deal with pressures at work, you could fall victim to what we call a Personal Implosion. Here's how to avoid that.

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Are there days when you feel like the building in this video? Like you're just going to collapse in upon yourself in a big heap? It's not a surprising feeling. Here we are, in the midst of one of the worst economic environments in modern history. The new job perk? Just having one.

One of the offshoots of this poor outlook is that people are staying put in jobs that they don't necessarily like. This is good in one sense because it forces people to develop coping strategies and make adjustments that can serve them well in all areas of their lives.

It's bad in another sense because those who can't adjust often fall victim to Personal Implosion. This is when you take all of the aggravations of your workplace and internalize them because you don't want to tick anyone off. At some point, you just emotionally collapse into yourself, while everything around you goes on as normal.

OK, so you won't exactly end up as a big pile of dust on the ground, but you'd be surprised at the physical problems stress can cause. Extreme stress can cause nausea, backaches, headaches, muscle tension, weight loss, weight gain, chest pain, and even frequent colds.

There are some workplace pressures you can't eliminate short of just walking out, like if you work in a roomful of knife-yielding maniacs. But there are some you can control. You can control the burdens that are placed on you without coming across as someone who's not a team player. Here's how.

Be good at just a few things, rather than being just average at many.

Remember that you have the right to say no to any requests — it's just a matter of how you say it. Contrary to what you might believe, people don't really respect the people who'll take on any task, no matter how large or small. They'll just come to think of you as a receptacle for tasks they don't want to do or have not gotten around to doing.

If you say no, be polite but firm. Avoid being wishy-washy too. Saying, "I'll try to get this done," does not do anyone any favors.

If your boss who has already thrown 800 tasks at you tries to throw toss another one on the pile, ask earnestly which of the tasks have priority. That way, you're letting her know that you have other balls in the air, but you're also getting information that will help you triage the tasks.

These are just several ideas. Anybody have any other suggestions that have worked for you?

About Toni Bowers

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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