verb \ə-ˈdapt, a-\
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary the definition of adapt is:
To change your behavior so that it is easier to live in a particular place or situation
Learning how to adapt in the workplace is one of your most valuable assets to survival. This is obvious! Sometimes more valuable than your degree, high school or Phd!
Whether your job is taking out the trash, to signing the checks of people who take out the trash, to the oval. Adapting to a changing environment, coworkers, managers and roles are all part of the job that is NOT discussed too often in the workplace. This is your lifeline.
Below is an example of Nate, who adapted in the workplace ( another true story). He gritted his teeth, but he did it:
Names and organization references have been changed to protect parties involved.
The client services department was reorganizing. When the new organization chart was released, Nate's ego not happy that he would be reporting to a more "junior" executive (Jeff) with less experience, knowledge, education and time at the company. As a team player, he showed respect and generosity to her manager, while slowing dying inside. He had a Master's Degree, and worked for the company for 6 years. This situation happens all the time.
Nate was performing his job and most of Jeff's responsibilities for over a year and half. He coped with his frustration by going to the gym after work, took regular breaks during her day, practiced mediation, reviewed the company's job listing, talked with close friends and even cried working late a night. His manager was at times abrasive, and behaved as if he was insecure and threatened by his knowledge and experience, which caused undue stress for him.
Things took a sudden change, when Nate solved a major problem that a high net worth client, and they were about to leave the company. Nate stepped in and saved the account and millions of dollars. His manager panicked and did not have the expertise to solve the problem. The client was so impressed with Nate's professional behavior in a time of crisis, they referred another company, which they became a client.
When he realized that by setting aside his ego and focused on why he was getting paid, he was able to solve the issue, help the company meet their goals and save millions of dollars. Nate could have instead resisted and left the problem with his clueless manager. That would not help anyone.
Nate's professional and adaptive behavior was noticed by senior executives (above Jeff) and was promoted a year later, with a significant salary increase.
Nate learned that whatever situation you are in at work, is temporary and keeping a strong work ethic will work out in the end.
Everyone has ways to adapt to the workplace. Nate found a way to adapt by several ways. His story spanned over 2 and half years and kept his professional behavior at all times.
Keeping in the mind the definition of adapt, some of your adaptive skills may include (which have worked well for others):
- get to know person, task or situation and see how you can learn and benefit
- keep your focus -write down 1.) why you were hired, 2.) why you need your paycheck and 3.) what life would be like without that job (meditate on this before losing your temper)
- be grateful that you have a job
- write down the positives of your workplace
- exercise/wellness - kick boxing, running, weightlifting (Become fit & healthy with Groupon.com!). Groupon is excellent for find things to do to relieve stress at a discount! We love it!
- practice patience
- retail therapy (Shop Amazon - FREE shipping with Amazon Prime)
- read, take a nap or a long walk at lunch
- glass of wine at lunch (depending on your work) or after work or both
- cut the caffeine - try chamomile tea (yes at work)
- if possible, listen to calming music (Try Amazon Music Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial) at work
- practice not "reacting"
- positive self talk: "I am calm", "I am talented", "I am.."
- remember "this too shall pass"
- talk to a trusted coworker or friend
- get a pet and bring picture to workplace
- get a hobby, take a pottery class or any class
- write about it
- cry about it - crying is a great way to release tension
- go to dinner and movies after work (Join Amazon (HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc.) Channels Free Trial)
- if needed, see a medical professional for sedatives
- for extreme, long term cases and as a last resort, look for another job (especially if your health is at risk)
Again, the above adaptive skill have worked for other people who have faced challenges at work.
With lots of practice, you can learn to adapt to changes, people, places, responsibilities and workplace nuances.
More articles coming soon.
How do you adapt to the workplace?
Topics in Process Coming Soon - fasten your seatbelt, my friend! Getting deeper and real by the minute!
How to Adapt to:
+ Religion/holidays in the workplace -yes we are going there!
+ "Crazy" coworkers
+ Brilliant, yet demanding managers
+ Workplace bullies
+ Lazy coworkers - you know them!
stay tuned for more!
Books We Love - Book club!
“Who Moved My Cheese” is an excellent book on adapting to a changing environment. This book is frequently passed around amongst friends and coworkers.