Overwhelmed With New Job

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about feeling stressed in new position:

In the past I have consulted your services and have received some very valuable advice. I once again call upon your expertise. Earlier this year, almost 6 months now, I changed industries, type of work and even length of commute. Although I studied and trained in I.T, my first job that I held for two years contained a lot of mundane tasks and manual data entry. This job however is in the marketing/promotions field. Our busy period has already started in full swing and I fear that all the training and experiences I have gone through is falling apart as I encounter various issues with the paperwork that I have to process.

These paperwork items are sent by the delivery company with the items they are delivering. There are channels that I consult concerning these issues who are actively attempting to deal with the issue.¬† As a result I have a growing stack of paperwork under query that is holding back our accounting services. I feel overwhelmed. Yesterday, I made a judgment call concerning issues with my coworker’s system. As our organisation communicates largely via email and my coworker’s (the person is in my department which we share with 1 other person) system was running out of battery life, I sent an email to the organisation notifying everyone that my coworker will not be ale to use her system in a few minutes and to please forward all the emails they would get to my email. This was after notifying the relevant parties.

Normally they would send out an email notifying the organisation of what is happening. On this occasion however, I noticed that there were emails that were of mutual of importance to my coworker and myself but only my coworker was getting them. My coworker’s system eventually went down. Trying to make sense of the situation, I sent an updated email notifying everyone that my coworker’s system was totally inaccessible. It was only after sending this email and my coworker on notifying the relevant parties that system was completely down that my coworker was told that one of the relevant parties should have sent the email. I send apologies email to the relevant parties. I need advice to help me guide through busy season. Am I still find my footing or am I losing it all together?

Signed, Needs Advice

Dear Needs Advice:

It does sound as though your work and the way things are handled could be very confusing. However, it seems that you are taking everything on yourself and not working as part of the larger team to get things done. That may be because of your previous work experience, which was much different. For example,the one major component I don’t hear you mention is your own manager or supervisor. Everything you described are things that person should be aware of and actively involved in. If something is not done correctly or if work jams up, it is your manager who will be held ultimately responsible.

Your best resource is your manager when it comes to knowing how you are doing and if there is something you can do to deal with the way paperwork piles up. You can bet he or she would rather help you find some solutions than to find out there are problems that have gotten worse over time. When you talk to your manager, you can divide it into two parts.

1.) How am I doing, in general and in specific areas?

2.) How can I handle this situation more efficiently? You can use some examples, such as the incident with the email, to get some guidance. In that situation, it would seem your manager should have been immediately notified, since it had the potential for having a effect on many people. It also seems that your coworker should have been part of that process. Or, if she wasn’t there, someone else to give you guidance about how to handle such an apparently very important issue.

The bottom line is that a good way for you to feel less overwhelmed and more comfortable, is to share your concerns with the person or people who have the responsibility to train you and help you be effective. There is nothing shameful about asking for assistance. At the six month mark you are still very much in the learning mode, and you certainly don’t want to start the busy season you describe, while still feeling you aren’t sure how to handle some of the unique challenges of the job.

Reach out to your coworkers and managers and let them know you want to do well and could use some advice and assistance. Then, show that the support is used well and that you keep moving forward with your job. If you combine that with being appropriately friendly, helpful and a good team member, you’ll have all the components needed to be successful as time goes on. Best wishes to you with this. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.