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What to do when you feel stuck in the workplace

I am watching the world trade center in New York City where there are two window washers who are stuck on a platform on the 69th floor. They are being rescued by the fire department but it is a work in progress. Have you ever felt stuck in your work situation? Where you were not sure what you should do. For middle managers this can be a common occurence but it can happen to any employee at any level. It is a difficult situation to be in can definitely be very frustrating.

One thing that is helpful is to get get clarification about what your roles and responsibilities are. You may not have the decision making authority you should have in your position and this contributes to the indecisiveness you feel. Once you have more clarity about your place or position within your work unit it will be easier to move beyond where you are.

It is important that the expectations be clear for what your tasks are for your position. This needs to be negotiated with your supervisor. This goes hand in hand with having your roles and responsibilities detailed so you have a better idea of what you are expected to do at any given time.

One of the sayings I like is “”this too shall pass.” It applies in this situation. As I am writing this the firefighters have rescued the two window washers. I can’t imagine how relieved they are that they are no longer suspended 70 floors up. Likewise we very seldom stay stuck forever. Eventually the situation changes due to personnel changes, a reorganization, a change in policy or perhaps you are able to address a communication breakdwon. Patience can have its own rewards.

In some cases if you do feel stuck for an extended period of time and there does not appear to be any way to resolve the situation you may want to consider moving to another position in the organization. As a last resort you may need to leave the organization if you find it is just too stressful for you to deal with. However, try these other avenues first. I have left certain jobs because I did not have the patience to ride it out and I later regretted my decision.

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