Navigating Workplace Storms


Workplace Storms

There are many things that can make the job that you thought would be perfect for you, less than ideal.  As a Career Coach, I advise my clients to conduct thorough research on prospective employers before accepting a job offer.  But, when people find themselves without a job they often overlook this step because they are so happy to have received a job offer.

The fact that your new job is no longer perfect does not mean you have to leave.  I help my clients determine when and if it is best to stay or go because there are ways to navigate workplace storms.

Types of Workplace Storms

Manager is a Bully

Make someone in leadership aware of your manager’s behavior.  Be sure to present your case in the most objective manner.  Leaders tend to focus on the bottom line so you should link your manager’s poor behavior to its effect on productivity.  Leaders are also concerned about employee turnover and job satisfaction so find ways to link his behavior to this aspect as well.

Studies indicate that workplace bullies are very rarely terminated, for being a bully.  You may wonder why, especially because if you treated people as badly as the bully does your head would surely be on the chopping block. Workplace bullies tend to have one thing in common.  They do any and everything it takes to get the job done or get what they want.  So, in the eyes of a manager, who is somewhat far removed from the bullying, the perpetrator may seem like a star player.  In this case you will have to determine whether it makes more sense for you to stay at the company or find another job where they may be another bully lurking.


If you decide to stay you will need to find ways to deal with the workplace bully.  You can try to ignore him, except the times when you absolutely have to work closely with him.  If that is not possible, you could try to adopt his poor behavior, but you may not have the heart for this option.  Perhaps you can focus on not taking it so personally.  I found that I take things much more personal when their bad behavior catches me off guard.  If you expect this type of behavior it may help you deal with it.  The fact is that you are not likely to change someone else’s behavior without the support of the manager.


If you decide that life is too short to deal with such negativity then, good for you.  Dust off your resume and get it back into distribution.  During your exit interview make sure you mention that you have brought your concerns to your manager’s attention on more than one occasion so this company must prefer to employ workplace bullies which means you do not belong there.

Company Layoffs

Dealing with impending layoffs can be stressful for everyone involved.  The fear of not knowing whether you will be called into the conference room and handed a pink slip can wreak havoc on your productivity, emotions and your health.

Survivor’s guilt – once you receive the news that your job will be spared your first instinct is to celebrate.  But with whom, when all of your coworkers are gone? We spend so much time with our coworkers that we develop somewhat of an attachment to them.  After-all, your job is not just the numbers you crunch but also the people you see every day. So, what do you do with your feelings of loss, loneliness and guilt?

  1. Talk to someone about your feelings. It can be your manager, a friend or a family member.  Your feelings are valid, even though you were one of the lucky ones.
  2. Attempt to establish your new routine as a norm for yourself.
  3. Form working relationships with other employees who remain at the company.
  4. Reach out to former coworkers to see how they are doing. Send them job leads.

Leftover employees feel inundated from doing the work of several of their former coworkers. This is a very common phenomenon. Find ways to eliminate waste and shorten process time. Meet with your manager to discuss your new workload in the hopes of identifying additional resources and creating a realistic plan.

Workload and Expectations Have Become Unrealistic

Once you have been in your job for a few months the pressure for results begins to mount. Your manager now expects you to close 5 times the amount of deals in half the time.  Is this a deal-breaker? Should you pack your bags and leave? Perhaps you should try talking to your manager first.  Mention to him that you suspect that the new goal may be a little too aggressive but would like assistance creating a plan to achieve them.  Promise your manager and yourself that you will do all you can to become successful.

Overcoming the Storms

Adjust Your Attitude Towards the Storm

I know this may be hard to accept, but storms are a fact of life and work.  They do not always mean the end of the road.  The way you handle storms defines your character and your success.  Use this opportunity to think outside of the box to find solutions.  Find ways to open up the lines of communication and partner with someone to help resolve issues.  Once you have overcome the storm you will be better prepared and resilient for the next one, which is inevitably right around the corner.

Create a worst-case scenario plan

As previously stated, I often coach my clients to determine when to stay and when to go.  If you believe your current workplace storm is detrimental to your success and it is best for you to find another job, please feel free to do so quickly.  But if you really enjoy your work and the company but are simply experiencing some temporary challenges, work with a professional who can help you overcome them.  I always found that creating a plan for the worst-case scenario alleviates my anxiety.  In some situations, your worst-case scenario is that you will be terminated.  If that is the case you should dust off your resume and reconnect with your external network, just in case you need to find another job.  Find a mentor, a career coach or even a senior member of your team to help you find solutions.

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