Monday, 07 July 2008

Surviving the workplace

Do you hate your job? Are you finding it more and more difficult to survive in the work environment? No matter what you feel about how you earn a living, remeber that surviving the workplace the workplace means going along with a few simple rules.

Close your eyes for a moment and picture your favourite performer throwing a tantrum on-stage. A dancer performing with a long face.

"Sorry, I don't really feel that great today - can't do this. Try me again tomorrow". Entertainers always appear to be on top of things. The crisis at home, the near bankruptcy or the looming divorce don't come into the picture.

We may not all be entertainers, but every job has a public and professional side to it. From the time that you arrive at work until the time you leave, present yourself in a professional way both to your colleagues and to your customers. Whatever it is that you do, make sure that you do a professional job of it. The workplace is not a place for unprofessional behaviour or shoddy work.

Think about the professionals that you see from time to time. If your doctor cannot perform an examination because of her fight with the spouse last night, you will soon be making your way to another practice. We expect consistency from the people that we deal with, so this is something that we have to achieve for ourselves.

Of course what you do will influence what you have to do to ensure survival. A few simple rules can be applied to almost any work situation. Remember that your work is your stage. You can do as you please in your free time, but while at work you have to present a professional image. Find out the rules of engagement. Bend them if you must, but keep within the fold.

Dress appropriately for the job. Groom yourself. Appearance creates a first impression and a last impression. Arriving at work looking scruffy and disheveled can help you to score negative points very quickly. Rather dress ahead of the minimum dress code than below.

Learn how to separate your private and professional lives. This may seem artificial to some, but is crucial to surviving in the workplace jungle. Your personal problems belong at home. You cannot deal with them properly while at work. If you have a real crisis, a death in the family or anything that is likely to affect your ability to do your work then take time off. Cancel the concert if your voice is lost. Remember, some things are more important than work and staying away is the best way to deal with them.

Project yourself in a warm and friendly manner. This helps to get people on your side. A friendly smile makes people feel comfortable and at ease. Of course if you work at a cemetery, different rules may apply.

Be ready early. Arrive a few minutes before the starting time. Make sure that you are fresh and ready for the day. Punctuality and being prepared not only create a good impression, but help you to stay in control. Walking into a meeting ten minutes late puts you at a real disadvantage.

There are times when problems will arise. When dealing with conflict or difficult situations try to give yourself enough time to make a considered statement. Try to delay your response rather than act in the heat of the moment. Think before you talk! Sometimes we are confronted with short-tempered irrational people. If one of these is your boss, try to remove yourself for as long as possible before responding. Time cools people down and make the situation more manageable. There are also times when the best route to follow is the formal grievance procedure.

Finding time to relax and enjoy yourself in your free time is very important. Looking after your personal life will help you to look after your life at work.

Always remember that your work is your stage, and that every performance must be professional.

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