Dealing with Uncertainty at Work

The world is changing at a rapid pace. The pandemic shook up the way we do business, our work routines, and how we think about our lives. Add war, inflation, political unrest, and climate change, and you’ve got a lot of uncertainty. In this episode of My Crazy Office, Kathi and Katherine offer concrete ways to manage uncertainty on the job and in general.

Living in the Waiting Room

I don’t know about you, but I hate to wait. When faced with a long line at a store, a movie, a food bar or even a gas station, I’m the person who opts out, returning at another time when I won’t have to wait. In fact, until March of this year, waiting for anything seemed like an immense waste of time to me.

That was before the pandemic hit. Before we were all told to shelter in place. Before we understood the importance of social distancing. And before we were asked to wait in line at stores, at banks, at any place where people congregate to conduct their essential business.

Now, waiting is a form of caring, of preventing, of dealing with a situation we don’t yet have under control. We’re waiting for signs that it’s safe for the economy to slowly re-open. We’re waiting to see how schools will operate. We’re waiting to discover when and how sports teams, service businesses, and the entire entertainment industry will re-emerge.

It’s hard to be waiting in so many ways for so many things. The human brain is a planning brain and we desperately want to know what comes next. That unquenchable thirst for answers can mutate into uncomfortable feelings of anxiety, frustration, impatience, agitation, restlessness and even depression.

Today, we are all Living in the Waiting Room. We won’t have to be here forever, but it will be a while before we can re-launch our lives in any significant way. What follows are some thoughts about making the Waiting Room more tolerable:

Bring many forms of entertainment to the Waiting Room– good books, fun movies, knitting projects, crossword puzzles, word games, musical instruments, dance routines, sketch pads, new recipes – anything that takes your attention away from fretting, worrying or obsessing and allows your mind to be creative.

Take physical breaks from sitting in the Waiting Room – Go outside, take a run, go for a hike, yawn, stretch, shake your head and arms, walk around, pound a pillow. Physical movement helps move emotions through your body. Feelings of impatience, frustration and agitation can be reduced by increasing blood flow.

Connect with other people in the Waiting Room – We’ve heard over and over that we are in this together. Nothing confirms that more than striking up conversations with others who are waiting. Even if the novelty of video conferencing has worn off, it’s still essential to reach out to the people you care about and make contact. Human connection lessens anxiety and makes us feel less adrift.

Try not to obsess about when you’re getting out of the Waiting Room – This is a hard request. You know that person in the waiting room who paces back and forth, looks at the time, stares at their phone, insists on being the first to be informed? Don’t be that person. Understand the limits of endless news briefings, medical predictions, scare tactics, and conspiracy theories. None of those items are going to get us out of here faster. And everyone is working on getting things moving again.

One other thing about the Waiting Room – each person, each family has their own set of concerns, their own set of pressures that they are juggling.  Appreciating that we are all dealing with different conditions is part of living in the Waiting Room. You don’t have to feel guilty if your conditions are less difficult than others, but you can be respectful and appreciate the wide range of challenges that each person in the Waiting Room is managing.

Katherine Crowley – Career Therapist and co-owner of K Squared Enterprises

Contact us at info@mycrazyoffice.co for any further help around this topic.

The Silver Lining – Things I Appreciate About This Quarantine

As an executive coach, I try to show my clients that with every awful business occurrence there is usually a silver lining. You may not see that lining at first, but with time you can see there was a lesson of value.

Not everyone is experiencing or seeing the silver lining at this time. Some of you are losing cherished members of your family and dear friends. Some of you may have lost your job and much needed income.

Some of you may feel angry because your gym is closed.  Most of us desperately need a haircut.  With that said, this quarantine and pause from life, as usual, can be a catalyst for each of us to take stock regarding what might actually be the silver lining.

Below is a list of silver lining comments that my clients have made over the last few weeks:

1 – I don’t miss many of my co-workers.

2 – I’m cooking all my meals and I like it.

3 – I’m sleeping better and don’t feel the pressure to get up earlier than needed.

4 – I like the relaxed attire I get to wear while working.

5 – I have so many fewer emails that my job is more doable.

6 – I’m learning that I like being by myself – I like me.

7 – I’m an introvert so I’m OK dealing with fewer people daily.

8 – I don’t have to commute.

9 – I’m hearing from friends and family that I haven’t spoken to for a while.

10 – I’m reading more, cleaning more, and finding it relaxing.

11 – I’m more appreciative of the essential workers in my city.

12 – Spending more time with my cat/dog and family is really nice.

13 – I can hear the birds singing because there are less cars on the road.

14 – It feels like the planet is healing itself.

15 – I have the opportunity to rethink my values.

16 – I’m realizing how important my supermarket workers are.

17 – I can take care of myself on my schedule throughout the day.

18 – I appreciate my job.

19 – I get to take classes for the job I really want.

20 – I’m learning how to connect with people on line.

21 – I like having access to people and places virtually that are not local.

Hard times teach us valuable lessons that help us grow and plan for the future. What are your silver linings?  If you don’t see them at this time I promise they are there.  You will see them when the time is right.

Kathi Elster – Executive Coach and co-owner of K Squared Enterprises.

Contact us at info@mycrazyoffice.co for any further help around this topic.

#2: Adapting To New Bosses & Work Styles – My Crazy Office, Season 6

Kathi and Katherine talk about adapting on this week’s episode of the My Crazy Office podcast.

First we give advice about adapting to a new boss.

Then we discuss how to adapt to different work styles.