Free Press Journal

Agony Aunt helps you to deal with workplace problems


Need a break from work  

I work typical 9 to 5 job for the past 5 years. I have been working relentlessly and been making money as well. I have never been the one to take holidays and that has become like a tag attached to me. I am 32 years old now and recently got married (it’s been 11 months). My wife has been asking me to spend time with her and travel around. I have been so reluctant to ask for leaves as I don’t think my boss would approve of it. I am not sure why I think this way, but I think it has a lot to do with how he views me as a person. I am not sure how to strike a work life balance. I would want to keep things as neutral and normal as possible. What can I do?

Ans: Work life balance can get tricky if not attended to when you get initial signs of imbalance. you are noticing the changes that have happened over a period of 5 years and now that you have a personal commitment as well, things have to be differently approached. At work if you are doing your job well, completing the assignments on time, and not letting the personal life hinder the work quality, your boss would not have issue with you taking leaves as and how you need them. You are newly married, and that relationship also needs care and attention, thus taking a few days off for the same need to be incorporated so that both you and your wife can spend quality time together. Your fear has less evidence of being true than it being an actual possibility as it is more of a perception you have built about your boss. Being assertive and realising the importance of work life balance and striking is very essential.

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Back to your roots

I was sent to Durban by my workplace on an assignment three years ago. After the assignment, my work was appreciated, and I got a job offered at that branch. I was excited for the new opportunity and took it up as I had no major commitments back home. I have enjoyed my work so far but for the past 4 months I have been noticing that there is a lot of stagnation in the work profile. I don’t get to learn much or showcase my skill set which is also bothering me. I am planning to move back to India or switch jobs I am not sure which one is the best option. I would really appreciate some inputs.

Ans: The job analysis and the prospects you have in Durban and in India need to be evaluated as a start to the whole process. Once you get a clearer idea that which place offers a better job in terms of job satisfaction, use of skill set, learning new skills etc. It might help you make a decision. As far as moving places is considered, if you are having second thoughts about staying back in Durban give it consideration and address it. Even though you come back home and have to work at a place which might not be paying you well but gives you satisfaction and lesser stress, giving a thought will help you look at the complete picture rather than looking at what’s missing and what’s being met at the superficial level.

Under pressure

Last week I got promoted to be a team leader which was my aim for the year. Now that I have the job title I am still getting used to the functioning of the role. I have a team meeting coming up soon, where I have to address the team and create an encouraging environment for them as the last few months have been tough for the company and previous team leader left the job without advance notice. I think I have a lot to prove and achieve which causes immense pressure. Is there anything I can do to avert being anxious while addressing the team? I would really want to create a good impression.

Ans: It is essential to understand that when you address the team, it is going to be based on your identity and what you bring into the team than what your predecessor did or didn’t end up doing. There would be intense pressure as the company crisis is also to be addressed at the earliest hence you are being conscious about the crisis and how your team will receive you might not be a good mix. You could interact with each team member individually before the team meeting so that the ice breaking process has already started. On the day of the meeting, giving yourself this pep talk in a way that would remind you that they are going to look up to a team leader who will bring in the motivation to work and not someone who expects them to know what has to be done without guidance.

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Stressful workload

I am a 46-year-old man working in the marketing department for the last 13 years. It’s a high stress job and I have always been the one to take charge and resolve problems. As my position is quite senior at the firm a lot of work load comes into my plate and I can’t say no. I have been suffering from panic like symptoms for the past few weeks. I realise this happens when there is an important meeting to attend to or meet certain prospective business heads. I have been doing meditation daily, but the panic is difficult to deal with. I have started smoking again as well. My kids hate it when I smoke. What is it that I am doing wrong?

Ans: Being at a senior position would also entail you delegating work as and when necessary and taking things up which are very essential and need to be attended by you. This will help in you clearing out the excess that you have on your plate. Also reduce the stress which is important as it is seen affecting your health and family life as well. the panic that sets in could be due to having a lot on plate and thus clearing out some of it which can be managed by others is necessary. After spending so many years at this firm and working in a particular manner might be difficult a task to let to go of responsibilities but start with smaller tasks and be involved as supervisor than an actual participant. This delegation when done on regular basis could help you realise that things can be approached in various ways and that delegating isn’t shrieking away from work.