What do YOU think? Should you have someone to turn to when shit hits the fan? Or are you afraid of approaching anyone at your workplace for fear of misplacing your trust and jeopardising your career?
These questions have been on my mind for a long time, swirling and whirling in my mind ever since I re-joined the rat race in the corporate world. While it isn’t my first job and neither will it be my last, yet I still feel a little disconnected.
I have been facing some work-based difficulties at the office. I find it hard to gel with my coworkers. I find it hard to deliver deadlines. I have fallen behind in my tasks. I have lost precious sleep thinking constantly about the impending training demonstration that I’m supposed to deliver. I have even refused to keep my manager updated on my work progress for fear of disappointing her. I keep to myself most of the time at the office, only opening myself up to one or two colleagues whom I can bring myself to trust. I find it difficult to collaborate with others on projects, unsure whether I’m at fault for being unable to communicate my ideas to them or that they feel uneasy when I approach them.
That’s where the thought of office counselling comes in. In my previous job, there was a part time counsellor seated at the Human Resources department. All new employees are required to have a short session with the counsellor before starting work. These sessions can continue if the employees want to get in touch with their career selves or if they feel that they need someone to talk to; to confide in. Now here I am, in a new place with new faces and new processes, feeling rather overwhelmed and alone. I’m not sure who I should or could turn to, whether the company even has this counselling service in the first place.
What do you think? Should companies have a certified counsellor or at least someone who has the experience in employee counselling? It could be anyone within the Human Resources department, or it can be someone entirely unrelated to the company; an outsider with no ties whatsoever to protect the identities of troubled employees.
Stress comes in many forms and one of the most common issues in the workplace is work-related stress, which can directly affect an employee’s capability and capacity at the office. In today’s fast-paced corporate world where everything is urgent and has a deadline, there is no company that is stress-free or has stress-free employees. Personal difficulties can affect anyone, such as work-related stress, marital or family issues, or alcohol and drug addiction. More often than not, these problems (if left unsolved) can impair an employee’s performance at work and result in lower productivity, strained relations with coworkers, and frequent absences or accidents.
There is no way that either of us can avoid working. Work lies at the heart of every community, from the smallest village to the biggest civilisation. To work is to be able to support ourselves and to provide support to our society. To work is to be able to give structure and purpose to our lives, to keep the body and brain occupied, and to promote a sense of satisfaction. If and when work is rewarding and enjoyable, it can provide an individual a lifetime’s worth of wealth and fulfilment. Yet, when it causes unhappiness and stress, work can make life an utterly and truly miserable one.
No matter where you are, work-related stress is a growing problem. You could be working in the United States, Australia or New Zealand. You could be struggling with the rising costs of living in the Southeast Asian countries. Regardless of where you work, there is an increasing number of people who reported that they feel undervalued, overworked, underpaid or unfulfilled in the workplace.
These negative feelings can lead to further complications with mental health if left untreated. Seeds of anxiety, depression and low self-esteem can grow. Suicidal thoughts will trigger as a result of work-related stress, along with the possibility of physical health problems, relationship issues, loss of sleep, and the feelings of self-doubt and inferiority bubbling low below the surface.
Stress is a natural and useful human response, but too much of it can be unhealthy, and will cause chaos and havoc across the body, from headaches to high blood pressure and depression. A little bit of stress (in the form of a challenge) is safe enough to make us want to improve ourselves and be a better employee. But too much of it and as a manager, you’ll wonder where your employee has gone, while as an employee, you’ll begin to question how you even got there in the first place. Don’t ignore these signs, and more importantly, don’t brush it off as if it was a persistent mosquito. You’ll never know when it will turn around and bite you.
It makes me feel good to let it all out here, but that still doesn’t solve my problem. Until I know who can help me out here, I will be sitting at my desk week in, week out, wondering if I made the right decision.