Although it is sometimes hard to be positive, there are ways of coping with stressful or harmful situations. Turning negatives into positives may seem like a lot of work at first, but it becomes more comfortable with practice.

Turning Negatives Into Positives

Sometimes we encounter work situations in which it’s difficult to know precisely how to act. There are no right or wrong answers. The best solution is to approach all situations with a positive outlook.

Think about the type of work you’re doing, the image your employer wants to project and your personality. Wearing wildly fashionable clothes may be necessary for a sales clerk in a fashion store, but not appreciated in an office. The way we present ourselves reflects not only on us, but also on our employer, and can influence their customers or clients. If you’re unsure about what to wear, discuss what is acceptable with your supervisor.

When it comes to meeting new people to begin building good working relationships with them, you often need to take the first step instead of standing on the sidelines, worrying about outcomes. Greet your co-workers and associates pleasantly, even though they might ignore yours from time to time. Talk with people also though it may feel awkward at first. Taking the initiative may be difficult, but with each successful experience, you’ll gain confidence that will make it much easier next time. Don’t be discouraged if others appear withdrawn.

Often people who are very quiet or self-sufficient and don’t realize that others interpreted their silence as aloofness, indifference, or even hostility. To avoid misunderstandings, communicate frequently and openly with others. Many withdrawn people become high-skilled at human relations later on. The same sensitivity that caused them to withdraw in the first place helps them to be more aware of others’ needs.

Many people have found that they can often build satisfying work relationships on personal ties. Discovering some common ground that each individual feels comfortable discussing can help those involved relate to each other more comfortably. For example, people often enjoy talking about their recent vacations or their plans for the upcoming holidays.

When your employer doesn’t give you enough feedback about your work, you should:

? Request input from your supervisor on your job. Comment positively on any feedback given.

? Ask for a clear explanation of assignments or a written description of the duties required of each task.

? Find ways to give yourself frequent feedback. Let your self-evaluation include a daily log to report on accomplishments, deadlines met, etc.

? Make the job grow to tap your untapped talents. No one is ever overqualified – just underused!

In consultation with your employer, offer to assume more responsibility, provide suggestions for improvements, make changes, do some things others have neglected. By diversifying, you have taken control and shown initiative. Use this as an opportunity to make use of your many “transferable skills” (those personal and technical skills and work and life experience from one job and occupation to another).

It is possible to be under-qualified in your present position and that your job duties/expectations are more than you can handle at this time. Jobs evolve, responsibilities added, and things end up changing. To offset this, try one of the following:

Find out the types of skills you need to develop to perform competently on the job.

– Take courses or obtain other training to learn the skills you need.

– Ask your supervisor to change the type of work you’re doing if you don’t think your skills suited for the work that is required of you.

– Seek a different position within the organization.

– Look for another job outside the organization that doesn’t require the skills you don’t have.

When you lose your job, it’s hard to remain positive about anything. Losing your job, especially when you didn’t see it coming, can be a very real blow emotionally. Not everyone reacts to job loss the same way, but many people go through the following stages:

– Denial of the situation and a tendency to act as though nothing has happened.

– Anger directed both at yourself and at your employer.

– Attempts to reverse the decision by bargaining (e.g., “Maybe I could take a pay cut or move to another position in the company?”)

– Depression when bargaining doesn’t work.

– Acceptance of the fact that the job is gone and growing preparation for the future job search.

Some people experience all of these stages within hours; others spend longer on different stages. Studies have shown that the emotional roller coaster ride often continues after you have accepted the loss of your job. The emotional peaks and valleys you go through as you look for a job are typical.

When you feel that your “lows” keep getting lower and you can’t seem to shake the feeling, talk to a professional counsellor or counselling offices of colleges, universities or technical institutes, employment/career development centers or organizations that offer employment advice.

Go to someone you respect and trust who deals well with people and is receptive to your concerns. Keep in mind that talking about your worries to a co-worker may not necessarily lead to a solution.

In some cases, it may be more appropriate to speak to a supervisor or someone in personnel. If you cannot find someone at work, go to someone outside the company (a trusted friend, teacher, counsellor).

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