When There Are Big Changes at Work

A significant change in the workplace can be extremely stressful.  The rules are different, the people are different, and you spend your days wondering if anything will ever go back to the way it was.  You may even start to feel like you don’t belong anymore.  Before you get too overwhelmed, consider these tips to help you deal with the changes:

Let go of the way that things used to be.  If you are constantly comparing the current conditions with the way that things were in the past, it will be difficult for you to adjust.  You need to acknowledge that the situation is different now.  It may even help you to consider this as a new workplace with new rules.

Find the opportunities in the current situation.  Once you let go of the past, you are in a better position to be able to identify the new opportunities that may exist.  Keep your eyes open, and be willing to expand your horizons.

Avoid the complainers.  Whenever there are big changes, there will always be a gaggle of complainers who will stand around whining about everything.  Avoid these people like the plague.  Negativity is contagious, and if you spend your time listening to their rants, you will easily get drawn in.  Remember that you are judged by the people who you associate with; if you hang around the complainers, people will assume that you also have a bad attitude.

Keep your eyes open.  When things are happening at your workplace, it is more important than ever to be aware of what is going on.  Pay attention to your manager and how she is acting, particularly to how she is acting towards you.  Also, keep a lookout for anything out of the ordinary, such as people you don’t know walking around the office, co-workers leaving meetings looking upset, or managers demanding unusual information or reports.  These clues can give you an idea of other changes that may be coming.

Communicate with your manager.  It is particularly important to maintain communication with your manager during a time of change.  Don’t be a whiner, but do let them know what is challenging for you.  See if you can get any feedback on your work, and whether you can expect any additional changes to come.  This type of communication helps clear up any misunderstandings, and it prevents nasty surprises.

Be flexible.  Change is difficult for everybody.  Keep in mind that it can be even worse for the manager, because in addition to dealing with their own feelings connected to the change, they also have to help their staff members cope.  Make an extra effort to be flexible during this period, and not only will the change be easier for your to endure, but your manager will appreciate and remember your positive attitude.

Stay focused.  During a tumultuous time, it can be easy to get off track.  It is essential that you stay focused and do your best work.  If you are completely consumed with your work, you will be too busy to get stressed out about the changes.  Also, when there are changes occurring, it is more likely that your performance will be closely examined.

Spend time with your friends and family.   When your situation at work is stressful, it is important to have an outlet.  Surround yourself with people who you can talk to about your concerns.  When you have the opportunity to air your feelings in a safe environment, you relieve your stress, and help prevent burnout.

In some situations, the organization may change in a way that it is not consistent with your career goals.  When that happens, it may be time to move on.  However, you don’t want to jump ship as soon as things start to get uncomfortable.  Changing jobs can be risky, and when you change jobs at the wrong time, it can negatively affect your career.  Before you make the decision to leave the organization, give the new situation a chance; it may not be as bad as it initially appears.

(Written by: Karen Bivand)



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