Decoded: The Office

Bite-sized answers to the most common workplace questions to help people navigate survival fears, anxieties and worries in the workplace, with courage, grace and humour.

  • Curated answers
  • Links to best articles and resources

How do I manage the fears of settling into a new team?

  • Breathe in and breathe out. A new beginning should not start with worry. It should start with aspirations. 
  • Get to know your teammates. Schedule coffees with them or take them out for lunch.
  • Remember that you are amongst people who have known each other for quite some time. There will be moments when you feel excluded. Usually it is nothing personal but just the fact that your team members are more familiar with each other.
  • Find a mentor.
  • Ask for a buddy to help you settle in.
  • Focus on adding value to the team. Show them what you bring to the table.
  • Start an interest group. It could be work related or maybe something to do outside work.
  • Give it time. Friendships and trust are not built overnight.

What do I do if someone steals my idea and pitches it as their own?

  • Might be best to vent out emotions in private first. Kickboxing? Darts?
  • The best thing to do is to raise the issue in private with your colleagues at the first instance. Avoid accusatory tone and ask questions by presenting facts. This makes your point, but also gives your colleague the benefit of doubt. Sometimes, people are just careless.
  • If the problem persists, then (i) avoid disclosing your ideas to this person in future; and (ii) report to your manager.
  • There is no point seeking revenge. Best to come up with a better idea. That is the best way to make peace with the situation.

How do I deal with an insecure boss?

  • Pay close attention to what triggers your boss. Avoid behaviours that accentuate those triggers.
  • If your boss is an anxious person, they may respond well to praise and communication.
  • If your boss is avoidant, it might be best if you avoid being too clingy as this might make them feel suffocated.
  • Ask questions and try to understand their working patterns and communication style. You don’t need to change yourself, but in the interest of your working duties, it might make sense to adapt.
  • If the dynamic is intolerable, then you might be better off working under a different boss.

I struggle to feel happy at work. What can I do?

  • You are not alone. There is good research to suggest that happiness levels at workplace are falling.
  • Try thinking about what brings you happiness. Spend some time identifying your “happiness stimulants”. They could be friendships, a sense of purpose, money, growth etc.
  • Make a list of your top three drivers and find ways of locating them at work. For example, if friendships bring you happiness, you can try cultivating meaningful friendships within your team.
  • Ask for what you want at workplace. If you are craving growth, ask for better assignments. If you need guidance, ask for a mentor.
  • Finding happiness might sometimes mean carving out more time for personal relationships and family. You might have to holistically assess your work-life balance.
  • Try out this course: The Foundations of Happiness at Work.
  • Smile. It is pretty contagious and might spark some happiness in your immediate surroundings.

I am moving to a new city for a job and I barely know anyone. How do I settle in?

  • Congratulations on the brave move! Make best use of it.
  • There must be someone you know. Try pressing your current network really hard. There must be a friend of a friend of friend in your new city.
  • Sign up for meetups and friendship apps and meet people from different walks of life. The more diverse your network, the better off you will be.
  • Try finding a flat in a lively location to keep you upbeat and motivated in the initial days.
  • Enrol in classes that you enjoy. Start an interest group. Best, start your own group.
  • Take your colleagues out for lunches and coffees and ask them for ways to integrate into the city and culture.
  • If you belong to a diverse group (ethnic, neurological, gender etc), it might make sense to join a supportive community of like minded people in your new city.

Any feedback on Decoded: The Office? Do you have any burning questions or helpful links that should be added? Is there anything you disagree with? Do get in touch. 

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