How to Handle Workplace Problems

In am ideal world, we would all have happy workplaces with co-workers that are our best buddies, just like on TV. However in the real world, that just doesn’t happen all the time. Workplace issues can be extremely stressful. It’s not always easy to stand up for yourself, but it’s a must if you want to resolve issues.

The first thing to do always is talk it out. Whether it’s a co-worker rubbing you the wrong way or a problem with your workload, you should make your best effort to sit down with the other person involved and talk through things. Hopefully this is all you’ll need to resolve the problem, or at least come to a compromise.

If that doesn’t work, go to HR. Your company’s human resources department is there to help you. They can provide mediation or if the problem is serious enough, resolve it themselves. If your problem involves sexual harassment, threats, harassment or physical abuse, document the incidents and go to HR immediately. Companies take sexual harassment and related complaints very seriously. Of course if you feel that you may be in danger, call 911.

If your problem involves feeling stuck or that you’re at a dead end, consider consulting a career and life coach. They can help you get past mental hurdles and set and reach your goals. If you’re having symptoms of depression or anxiety, talk to your doctor or make an appointment with your company’s employee assistance program.

The most important thing to remember when dealing with workplace issues is to remain professional. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Document everything. The more detailed documentation you have, the better. Stay calm, and should your HR department not be willing to help you, don’t hesitate to contact your local labor board and seek legal help. No one enjoys lawsuits but sometimes they are the only way to deal with certain workplace issues. Remember, the more you can do to change things, the better they’ll be for the employees that are hired in the future. You are your own best advocate.

Sometimes the best way to resolve a problem at your workplace is to find a new job. If you feel you need to go this route, be professional about it, and come with an explanation for job interviews-they almost always ask why you left your last job. When you’re asked, be diplomatic and polite. Don’t badmouth your past employer, as that will only reflect badly on you.