One of the fringe benefits of being a “veteran” public relations professional now teaching the next generation(s) of PR practitioners at Curry College is that of providing advice, counsel, and general “talk ‘em off the ledge” reassurance to young…and sometimes not-so-young…students.
They’ve been told, time and again, to face up to their challenges and work through them. The problem, though, is that they’re usually not given any pointers on exactly how to “work through them.”
The simple answer here is that there rarely is just one simple answer to a problem. Different people have different ways of dealing with situations, and you have to figure out what will work best for your particular challenge.
The one thing I do know for sure is that you can’t just keep banging your head against the wall. The wall might fall…someday…but odds are you will go down first!
So what to do?!? Here’s a thought…try a new way of tackling the problem!
A gazillion years ago, in my early Air Force days, I worked in a three-person audiovisual library. My boss and I were early-birds, so we always got to the office at 8 o’clock to open up for the day and serve our customers. The third member of our team was (for a variety of marginally acceptable reasons) incapable of meeting that start-time.
Thanks to some very successful promotions that I was doing for our operation, business had nearly doubled and with that growth had come increasingly longer…unscheduled…working hours. Some of our new customers needed to come by earlier than 8 to get their film and equipment; others needed to come by later than our traditional 5 p.m. closing.
An ad hoc planning session gave us a solution that also allowed us to avoid disciplinary actions against my sleepy-head colleague….my boss and I (habitual early risers) switched to a 7 a.m.-4 p.m. work shift; Roger took on a 9 a.m.-6 p.m. shift.
Bear in mind, this was 40 years ago, and “flexible work hours”…especially in the military…were unheard of! But Roger was a good worker, and we wanted to find positive resolution to the issue while meeting the needs of our growing customer base.
The result?? Not only were we able to get around a smoldering disciplinary problem (this was the military, remember…timeliness is a big deal). We also added two hours to our open-for-business day!
Business grew even more, and our late-to-work problem was solved.
I mention this particular example because, when I shared it in later years with other military and civilian co-workers, the majority of the responses fell into the “I would have written the lazy bum up” category.
That is an alternative solution, and one that often is used… “my way or the highway.” It just didn’t work for us. We didn’t like the alternative…so we changed it.
Explore your options. Try new ways of doing things. Take chances (within reason). You might just find you’ve solved your problem!