Agony Aunt helps you to deal with workplace problems

Not comfortable with rules

I am 24 years old and I have started working in the navy just recently. Before I joined, I lived a very carefree life without any rules or strict discipline. Although I have never had a problem with following rules nor have I been a problem child, I find it very difficult to adhere to the strict rules here. I get this feeling where I just want to break free or break a rule and ruffle a few feathers of my superiors. I feel constricted and it makes me feel breathless. My superior’s attitude also does not help. He yells at even the smallest mistake and gives strict punishments. Since I cannot lash out at him, I tend to lash out at home.  My parents worried since I was always a happy person but now I am just angry and frustrated. Please help me as I don’t know what to do.

Ans: You can start by listing down things, attitude and personality factors that this job requires out of you and compare it against the things, attitude and personality factors that you possess. This will give you a fair idea as to which areas are your strengths and which ones are your weaknesses. Those factors which need to be developed and worked upon will help you to sustain the stress in the long run. As far as your superior is concerned, if you can approach him and state the difficulties you are facing and request for an advice it will put you under the light of someone who is willing to try. The displacement of anger is no solution to your problems. In a situation where hierarchy and rules matter if you rebel against it then the consequences also would be not as per your liking.

Victim of groupism

I have been at my job for about 5 months now and I see this small groupism growing in my team. There are two girls who only talk in their language that no one else can understand and they constantly do that, I sit beside them so I have to keep listening and it’s annoying me now. I feel like they also talk about me but I can’t ever be sure. This is the kind of thing that you can’t report to your boss because it’s petty but also it bothers me a lot because I don’t get involved in their jokes or work talks or anything and I feel much excluded from that group. What do I do?

Ans: There is always a subtle way to raise your concerns in a group. You can start with talking to those people who seldom interact due to language barriers so that you know you are not alone. As far as those other girls are concerned, you can initiate a conversation in a common language and whenever you feel that they drift off in their language, you can politely ask them to repeat in the common language. This will not offend them and also give a chance to see for yourself whether they involve you in group activities in the office.

Busy work costing health

My job profile compels me to travel frequently. Lately, I’ve been having trouble with my health because of the same. I travel every week for 2-3 days and my personal life is not getting affected that much but my physical health is. I eat out all the time because of this, there are no fixed hours for food so I just order in whenever I can and am not getting quality food so I’m not eating healthy at all. The job has its perks; I’m heavily reliant on the salary so I can’t move to another job. What do I do?

Ans: In the tug of war between work-life balances, work more often than not does have an upper hand due to its obvious perks. But, in the long run it is important to understand that amassing wealth today at the cost of your health may soon turn into paying doctor’s bills as your body takes a toll of all the stress. Taking out few minutes for a healthy meal helps you sustain longer and provides lesser chances of you being sick. If travel is a part of your job profile and can’t be helped then at least doing some research regarding healthy and quality food in the place that you are visiting can be an option. This can lessen the burden of eating unhealthy food and its effect on the body.

Self-identity lost in Motherhood

I just recently became a mother and my son is 7 months old. I used to work for a publishing company which was great because I could do it at home and engage my mind in something useful still. Since I took a maternity leave, I haven’t gone back to work and now it’s bothering me. I want to start working again but thinking about managing that and taking care of my kid is stressing me out. I don’t want to lose my passion for writing and editing but I also don’t think I have that kind of commitment anymore. What do I do?

Ans: Taking baby steps alongside your child may work out as a good start to get back to work. You can start by working from home again for few hours that can be altered as per your child’s schedule or if you can work out a schedule with your husband and work during the hours he takes over the responsibility to look after him. Once you gain enough confidence towards work, you can gradually increase work hours, increase your work load and ease into the process. Rushing into it all of a sudden may not be a good choice for your son and also your health.

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