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The latest advice and best practices in hiring and careers.

Career Growth in Connecticut: Why getting outside your comfort zone is good for you

When you’re faced with a tough work situation, things are never as simple as these platitudes would have you believe.

In the real world, turning a negative work situation into a positive one can be extremely difficult – because in most cases, making the transformation forces you outside your comfort zone.

And that’s, well, uncomfortable.

Still, stretching yourself as an employee can be great for your career.  When superiors choose who gets raises and promotions, they draw on their everyday observations of staff behavior.  If you demonstrate a track record of performing well under difficult circumstances, you’ll stand head and shoulders above your co-workers.

Obviously, nobody wants to be put in an uncomfortable work situation.  But if you unwittingly find yourself in the middle of one, look for the silver lining.  Use A.R. Mazzotta’s tips for turning common negative situations into positive ones:

When you’re faced with an impossible deadline:

If deadlines loom and you have little information to go on, it can shake your self-confidence and ability to perform.  When you’re overburdened, resist the urge to start pointing fingers.  It’s easy to blame co-workers or management for talent voids or process bottlenecks, but it’s not great for your career.  Instead, focus on giving your best effort and making practical recommendations for improving workflow.  Leaders will view you as a resourceful asset worthy of trusting with high-profile projects.

When you’ve made a mistake on the job:

Mistakes on the job can have serious consequences – for you, your boss or even the company as a whole.  If you’ve made a substantial error (that can’t be easily remedied), immediately brainstorm possible solutions – so you’ll appear proactive and responsible to your boss.  Own up to the mistake and take responsibility.  Explain what happened and what you plan to do about it (it’s okay to ask for help developing and implementing a solution).  Finally, demonstrate that you’ve learned from your mistake.  By taking these steps, you can turn a misstep into a stepping stone for your career.

When you’re forced to work with a negative employee:

Whether they’re insensitive, condescending or true office “divas,” working with toxic employees can undermine your career success.  When you’re tempted to retaliate, though, remember that any exchange of negative words only fuels malice and makes toxic employees feel powerful.  Plus, if you stoop to their level, you open the door for them to make you look like the bad guy.

Take the high road instead and kill ’em with kindness.  It’s the ultimate ammunition for fighting off irrational people.  When you’re consistently kind and professional, toxic employees will either end up frustrated or bored, and will eventually tire of engaging in debate with you.

When you’re the new kid on the block:

Moving onto an existing team can definitely move you outside your comfort zone.  Unfortunately, success is not automatic just because you’re nice, talented or friends with the people in the room.  To thrive on a new team:

  • Take the initiative to learn about the group’s culture, hierarchy, priorities and goals.
  • Work harder and learn more aggressively than you normally would.
  • When you share new ideas, keep in mind how team members will receive the information.
  • Find ways to assert yourself without pushing too hard, so leaders see you as a critical asset to collaborations – and team members see you as a positive contributor, but not a threat.

In an uncomfortable work situation?  Take the next right step in your career with A.R. Mazzotta.  We’ll provide the resources and support yourself to stretch yourself in a good way – and grow in your career.  Search the best jobs in Connecticut right here.