No matter what field you're in, the workplace is a tough place to navigate. Between snarky co-workers, demanding bosses, and the occasional rough performance review, your workday can feel like one insurmountable problem after another. But sometimes, all it takes is a little creative thinking to make those so-called problems work to your advantage. Read on to find out how.
- The problem: You have way too much on your plate.
The opportunity: Ask for a raise, a promotion, or some extra help.
Let your boss know what's putting you over the edge. It might be helpful to track everything you do on an Excel sheet for a workday or two, or even make a simple graph or pie chart of your day. Once you have all your info gathered, tell your boss exactly what you're looking for: a raise or a promotion? Or do you simply need someone to lighten your load? By coming to your boss with all the facts and a proposed solution, chances are good that you'll get what you want out of the situation.
- The problem: You were passed up for a promotion.
The opportunity: Make yourself a front-runner for the next opening.
Ask your boss what you can do to make yourself more qualified for the next opening. This will accomplish a few things: First, it'll let her know you're definitely interested in moving up, in case that wasn't clear to begin with. Second, it'll give you a better idea of what your boss is looking for in a candidate, so you'll have a chance to make changes or improvements before the next position opens up.
- The problem: You're having an interpersonal issue with a co-worker.
The opportunity: Prove that you can be the bigger person.
Workplace drama is no fun, but it doesn't have to end badly. If you're dealing with a co-worker whom you clash with personally, try taking the high road and confronting the situation head-on. By taking your co-worker aside and working out the problem before it escalates to your boss or HR, you're showing you can be the bigger person - plus, you'll make your work life more pleasant!
- The problem: You've received negative feedback.
The opportunity: Turn yourself into the MVP.
Criticism can be hard to swallow, but it can also be a great way to make yourself even more valuable. As long as the feedback you're getting is reasonable, and not just mean-spirited, try to view it as unemotionally as possible and figure out how you can incorporate it into your performance. Managers appreciate employees who respond well to feedback and don't react defensively, and if you play your cards right, you might end up as your boss's MVP.
- The problem: You're bored with your job.
The opportunity: Create new projects for yourself.
The economy is making a slooooow turnaround, but this still isn't the time to ditch a steady job just because you're feeling bored. If you don't currently have your dream job, turn it into something at least a little closer to what you want. Come up with new projects or responsibilities to make your job more interesting and challenging, and present them to your boss. She'll be impressed with your initiative, and you'll no longer watch the minutes tick slowly by while you twiddle your thumbs.
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