If you're faced with a time of uncertainty at work, here's some advice on what to do
13 December 2018| Last updated on 13 December 2018
All credits: PA
If you're facing a period at work when the axe seems ominously poised to fall, here's some advice...
There's no denying that 2018 hasn't been the best; everyone you speak to at the moment is filled with woe as colleagues are losing jobs, companies are closing and huge losses are being made worldwide.
To help you keep calm during a time of uncertainty at work, here's a few tips on how to deal with work insecurity - and hopefully, come out happily employed on the other side...
1. Don’t believe the hype
Information travels quickly in a fraught office environment, but so too does misinformation. Water cooler gossip isn’t gospel – far from it – and worried employees are prone to assume the worst. After all, when Susie from accounts says she overheard some bigwigs discussing major cutbacks, they might just have been talking about their new diet plan.
2. Look after yourself
It sounds uncomfortably invasive, but work begins at home. If things feel fraught in the office, it can be tempting to double down – to cut back on sleep, skip lunch breaks, and bring the office home with you.
Don’t do this: sacrificing your wellbeing will only hurt your productivity in the long run. See your mind as an athlete sees their body – you need to push yourself sometimes, but for peak performance you need to be in peak condition. However brusque the board meeting, however frantic the filing, aim for three square meals and eight hours of sleep a day.
3. Be prepared
If you know that axes may start swinging, there’s nothing wrong with planning ahead. Update your CV so that it’s ready at short notice; check in with dormant professional contacts and do a bit of subtle networking; brainstorm ways to broaden your skills; perhaps even ring-fence a portion of your bank account. Most importantly of all, think back to any long-forgotten dreams or ambitions you might actually want to pursue.
Just remember, these are contingency plans. They are not expectations.
4. Prioritise what matters
If you can keep your head while co-workers around you are losing theirs, and make sure that your corner of the office operates at high capacity, then the rest of the company can look after itself.
At work – unless you’re self-employed – you’re rarely in full control of your own destiny, and accepting this fact makes it easier to focus on the things you can change. Less last week’s sales figures, more tomorrow morning’s memo.
5. Remember that change isn’t always bad
American President John Adams once said: “Every problem is an opportunity in disguise.” He was never the most quotable president (George Washington is a tough act to follow), but on this occasion, he’s bang on the money.
A job change closes one door, but opens many more. Many entrepreneurs start their career with redundancy, and a desire to be their own boss. There are thousands of jobs out there, and you haven’t tried the vast majority of them. Who knows what position might be a good fit?
6. Stay positive
If there were a machine that combined how often something is said with how annoying it is to hear, the phrase ‘stay positive’ would probably top the rankings. But some cliches are cliches for a reason, and getting overly stressed and worried at the prospect of hypothetical situations can unfortunately cause them to happen.
Whatever the difficulty, it will pass. Smile, challenge your negative thinking, listen to happy music, and be nice to the people around you. Focus on the now.