Thursday, February 6, 2014

Mediator and Office Stress

As I move forward with my journey, I find that I flow seamlessly between being the student and being the teacher. I expect and am excited for my tests and lessons each day, now that I see them as growth opportunities instead of something being done “to” me. I also LOVE to help others with their problems. Honestly, I worry sometimes that I like it a little TOO much. How do you know if you are being humble and giving versus if you are being arrogant? I worry about that. I genuinely love to help people, and then when it happens, I feel fantastic and I’m proud of myself. But then sometimes I feel bad about feeling proud of myself. I think the fact that I’m aware of it helps, right? But how do you step up to the plate and say, hey, this is something I am genuinely very good at. For some reason I have some guilt issues with that.

Anyways, work has been interesting lately. I feel like I’ve become the office counselor, and I love it! There have been some fairly heated personality conflicts, where both sides get along very well with me. I feel like one of my gifts is being able to word things in a way that resonates with people, and being able to understand what someone is feeling and respect it while at the same time nudging to a different idea or perspective. What’s funny is how different tactics have to be between different personalities. But I think I jumped in at the appropriate time during an office argument and revealed the communication gap that was causing the problem. Then I had long talks with both individuals, and I think I was able to get everyone’s points across, for the most part. But I still respected that I can’t force people to get along, so I didn’t try to push it to perfection. I’m pleased that I’m able to do that without anyone thinking I am a traitor. That actually shows a lot of maturity on their part.

During the heated argument, I felt myself start to take on the energy of the situation, but as soon as I noticed, I breathed through it and let it go. I do tend to take on the energy of others in stressful and sad situations, so I am SO happy I am learning how to not do that.

I’ve also been morphing my perception of stress at work. I wonder if this is an age or experience thing, but I feel like I (and others my age) want to be impeccable with our word, so if a project schedule, task planning or deadline is being decided, we want to know in our heart of hearts that we can accomplish a task in the time allotted. If we anticipate unforeseen issues, research tasks, etc. then we want to make sure we have a comfortable buffer. But I think we worry about the buffer a little too much. It seems like older, more experienced officemates understand that everyone knows unforeseen problems pop up, so no one is going to attack us if a problem occurs and things get pushed back. It’s just a really hard concept to swallow. I’ve been given several very short deadlines that have stressed me out lately, and through that experience I am learning what I can do to protect myself and also alleviate stress. Obviously plan out how long you think it will take and present that schedule. But the kicker is – everyone knows that if one thing gets caught up, everything will get pushed. So it isn’t so much that you are signing in blood that everything WILL be done at that time – what you are saying is that this is what can be expected, but if something takes longer, things will move. And of course, don’t through unrealistic times at the schedule – but on the other extreme, don’t get stressed out about making sure every item on the schedule is perfect. Because that is my problem – perfectionism. It can be great at times, but I am learning how to manage it when it is damaging.

It’s also interesting how different youngsters such as myself handle our desire to be impeccable with our word. From what I’ve seen, we all have an inner dialog of “OH MY GOD HOW AM I GOING TO DO THAT IN THAT TIMEFRAME!?!? THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE! THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO AND SO MUCH CAN GO WRONG! AHHHHH!!!!” For me, the second thought is, “OKAY, IF I DON’T EAT, DON’T SLEEP AND WORK ON WEEKENDS… I CAN DO IT!” while others think “SCREW THIS, THIS IS RIDICULOUS. I SHOULD NOT BE ASKED TO DO THIS. THIS IS UNREASONABLE AND I’M NOT DOING IT.” And yet, somewhere in the middle would be the appropriate response, don’t you think? I think I’m finding my way to the middle. No more LITERALLY working myself into sickness like I did recently. Understanding the expectations of others helps, and the planning of the schedule helps, as well. It’s just an interesting thing to witness.

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