In navigating your first jobs in the corporate world, you’ll quickly learn that office gossip isn’t the only issue you’ll deal with that affects your ability to get work done. But, if you adopt the Boy Scout motto – “be prepared” – you’ll find it easier to deal with and work with the issues involved in today’s workplace.
Misunderstandings between coworkers, lack of a clear communication method to keep team members updated, failing to keep employees apprised of changes in policies – all of these present communication breakdowns that present a big challenge in the workplace. Everyone wants to do a good job and feel as if their work counts. But if communication woes rear their heads, we often get derailed, distracted and disgruntled. Go into your job committed to and practicing open and regular communication to keep the woes from getting you down.
Understaffing and Learning Curves
When economic times are tight, companies cut back on the number of people they employ or divide up the duties of an eliminated position among existing employees to save money. This can add unexpectedly to your work load and can be stressful. When companies do hire new people, there's a learning curve for new folks that takes time and may prove to be a challenge. Be willing to take on extra duties or help train new team members to keep this issue from being a problem.
Conflict and Negativity
Conflicts between coworkers and even supervisors are inevitable as different personalities converge at work. If it’s not dealt with in a healthy, productive manner, conflict can breed a culture of disharmony that has a lot of negative effects on your health and the company’s health. Try resolving conflicts quickly, focusing on the cause to resolve it in a non-blaming manner and keep it from happening again.
Personal Lives & Business
Aspects of employees’ personal lives, such as our behavior on social media and in romance, can converge with work – and sometimes conflict with company values or policies. It’s pretty common to tweet or update your Facebook status throughout the day and to find romantic interests within your organization. But when you say something personal on social media that may (however inadvertently) negatively represent your employer, or when dating your coworker ends up interfering with your productivity, companies need to regulate it to protect their reputations and business. Be careful to represent your company well on public forums and keep romance from interfering with work to steer clear of this issue.
Politics of Getting Ahead
Be prepared to navigate office politics when it comes to moving up the corporate ladder. Sometimes it’s who you know that helps you get promoted. You may find yourself facing favoritism or even nepotism in getting ahead. Worse yet, as “so yesterday” as it seems, there are still places where racism, sexism and ageism exist in today’s workplace. Be prepared to identify, avoid or address politics as needed to further your career.
Jennafer Martin has more than 14 years of experience in writing, editing and brand management for literary, business-to-business and consumer publications. She is a writer for Zoe Soul Spa and "Pets in the City" magazine.