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Agony Aunt helps you to deal with workplace problems

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Worrying about future

I am a 26-year-old girl. I recently finished by second post-graduation in the field of my interest which is opposite to what my mainstream career. I am a business analyst by profession and the second degree I got is in philosophy. I have been lately wondering a lot about my choices in life so far and how it is going to affect my future. Each time this thought comes up I panic, and I am unable to think straight or make good choices. My concentration at work is also wavering and I am worried about getting sacked if I don’t improve. I am not sure what is disturbing me or causing this problem. Please guide.

Ans: It is important to think about what is it that you would feel more comfortable doing in terms of work rather than basing it on which degree you have in hand. At times, academics and interests do not go hand in hand, but this doesn’t imply that you have to settle with either of the options. Take some time off and think about how you want to incorporate your philosophy degree into your career, whether you wish to continue at your current work place as an analyst or else switch to a different profile/ different work place. The confusion speaks about typical quarter-life crisis and one of the ways to deal with it is to come to an acceptance that things will not be perfect always. There are chances of making certain choices which may backfire later. But while making certain choices, one needs to be careful about the impulsivity as other factors are rarely in our control.


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Bad office condition

I’m working with a company since past 3 years now. I am happy with the way my work and career is shaping up. However, I do not like the work space given to me. The desk I have been assigned to recently is not good. It has extremely old and patchy wood work, and is always smelling bad. In fact, I have started wheezing since a week and I’m sure it’s because of this new place. I spoke to my manager and complained to him about it. But, he said currently they do not have an extra work-space and that I will have to manage with it for 6 months at least. At this rate, I am afraid I’ll develop asthma. I can’t sit at that place for long and it might also affect my performance. How to get out of this? What should I do?

Ans: Since you’ve already spoken to your manager about the change of space and are aware that it is not a choice for you as it hasn’t been granted to you, seek permission to refurbish your desk. As per your health requirements and comfort, get some DIY (Do It Yourself) material and work on your desk so that it doesn’t affect you on a daily basis. If things don’t work out even then, approach your HR department with the health certificate from your doctor stating the possible cause of wheezing as the work environment and discuss what can be done about it. Also, to be sure that the wheezing is caused by the current work environment, seek a second opinion and rule out any other possibility.

Career confusion

I am a 3rd year law student interning at a law firm for the past 7 months. I have learnt a great deal, but I feel that law is cut throat and it takes a toll on me each day. I have been reconsidering my options, but law is something I have always liked. My confusion arises that is it essential to always end up liking what one has picked up as a career option and stick to it or there can be something I can do about it? I don’t want to end up in a work field where I am unhappy and not good at work at all. Should I start looking at other options more seriously?

Ans: The problem you have mentioned reflects your confusion not only at the level of whether or not you should continue law but also at the level of being unsure of whether you are cut for the work in the long run. For any profession to be a success, it is essential to have a balance amongst personality factors, interest levels and aptitude. You can undergo a career counselling session and know your strengths and weaknesses and whether they go hand in hand with your choice of career. the work scenario for an intern is usually tough as it is a learning phase, but if your workplace is getting too difficult to handle then do lookout for something that suits your timings as well as stress tolerance level. Since you’ve been passionate about law for a very long time, giving it up on the basis of self-doubt, rather than a concrete reason might lead to regrets.

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Problems of procrastinator

My work place has come up with a new policy recently that one needs to be physically fit and has to undergo few tests and if there is any issue in the report certain stringent actions might be taken. I have been always on the lazy and procrastination side when it comes to health. I am worried that my reports will be alarming, and I will be put through some tough times at work if they don’t find me fit. This is causing me lack of sleep and loss of appetite which again works against my health profile. I am not sure how to approach this without worrying so much. 

Ans: You already have an insight that the reports might reflect poor health record and also that worrying about it is simply going to worsen the situation. Thus, rather than thinking on the lines of how to escape the consequences, step 1 could be accepting that there would be actions taken by your organization. Step 2 could be working towards getting yourself fit and set yourself into a regime which works around your daily schedule. In case it bothers you a lot, despite following the above, have a word with your HR department and discuss your concerns giving them an assurance that you have already taken concrete measures to overcome the existing problems with regards to your health.