When you're stressed out at work, it's hard to see the forest for the trees. Every task you take on may feel like more weight on your back -- even tasks that used to be a breeze. Before you tear out your hair or decide to quit, take some steps to prepare to talk to your boss about the situation. In the best-case scenario, you'll be able to lift some of the load and create a better working situation for all parties involved.
Document the situations that are causing you undue stress. For several days or weeks, write down the dates and times of specific incidents, so that you have evidence to share with your boss about the stressful situation. Another option is to write down all the activities that you do in a single day, detailing the times for each activity, the people involved and the amount of work you produce throughout the day.
Review and print out your job description, so that you'll be able to share it with your boss. Looking at this description can help you rediscover what the company expects of you, which parts of your job you are still expected to do and where you may be overdoing it. If you have ideas about what facets of your job could be tweaked to create less stress, type them out in a bullet point list and print a copy to prepare for your meeting.
Send an email or talk with your boss to request a private meeting, and calmly and professionally let him know that it's important. Do not get overly emotional when you ask for the meeting, or ask him during a time of major stress -- that may set him up to be on the defensive right away and turn your meeting into another source of stress for both you and him.
Conduct yourself in a calm and professional manner during the meeting, showing your boss the documentation you have gathered about how and why your job is so stressful. Avoid blaming the boss or other co-workers for the stressful situation; use facts and evidence to get your point across.
Ask for help in creating solutions, then schedule a follow-up meeting to review how the situation may or may not have been improved.
- If you're not able to work out ways to resolve the problem -- and you can't quit the job -- work on ways to alleviate stress outside the workplace. Go for walks or jogs or do other types of exercise, join a club or start a new hobby, and try to live your life to the fullest while not at work -- without thinking or stressing about work.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.