It could be an E-mail with a red exclamation point or the ring of a phone. Your boss needs something—and needs it now.
The blood rushes to your face and the office suddenly feels like a furnace. If this sounds like you, fear not, there is a cure. Here are some pre-emptive tips for confronting a stressful assignment before it's issued:
Pause before reacting. Many people automatically switch into catastrophic-thinking mode. Counteract negative thoughts like, "I'll never get this done; it's impossible," with a more positive one: "Let me take a deep breath and try my best to get this done." Worrying at the onset that you will fail is not a good start to any project.
Always be organized. Notice how the folder you need at crunch time has a knack for pulling a disappearing act? Knowing where everything is all of the time will cut down on your stress level when data are demanded on the quick.
Stay even. Keeping even-keeled on a regular basis will help you stay calm when a perceived crisis strikes. You'll also send out a message of stability to management and staff, making you a potential go-to person at pivotal moments. That's exactly where you want to be if you have your eye on the corner office.
Keep regular contact. When you're in a pinch, you might need someone to bail you out. Being nice to everyone, while staying in contact regularly, will make it easier to reach out for help. Feeling like an island will increase stress, raising the odds that you will fail at the task at hand.
If all else fails, repeat after me: "This will pass." Thankfully, very few office tasks can be botched to the point of no return.
Follow these simple tips above and your courage under fire will benefit the organization, and more important, you.
After holding down various media jobs, including stops at MTV Networks and Fox News, Andrew G.R. was completely discouraged—not only about his own career but about the lack of job resources that truly spoke to him. Enter Jobacle.com, the employment blog and podcast designed to Make Work Better.