Are you under too much stress at work? If you're dealing with stress-causing situations like these, you almost certainly are:
* You always have too much to do. You constantly feel as if you have too much to do and not enough time in which to do it.
* Your boss is a pain in the neck. A difficult boss can come in various sizes and wrappings but is always a major source of stress for his or her employees.
* You're expected to satisfy conflicting demands. If you work for more than one boss and each expects his or her work to get top priority, your stress level is almost certainly high.
* You're insecure about your job. With the current economic climate and its attendant massive layoffs, we're all more worried than ever about losing our jobs.
* You use your emotions at work. If you're in a service or health-care field, you're likely to burn out faster than the rest of us.
If common on-the-job stress-producers are plaguing you, here are some strategies you can employ now:
* Break each stress-producing situation into its smallest parts. Now go down the list and figure out small, concrete steps you can take to correct each one.
* Communicate your needs. Speak calmly and honestly about your needs and desires. Use "I" messages, and keep the message non-accusatory and to the point.
* If you can't change a situation, change your attitude about it. The one thing over which we have control is our own attitude.
* Know when to call it quits. If you've changed what you can at work and tried to change your attitude about what you can't change -- and still feel stressed out -- it's time to move on. Constant on-the-job stress will quickly erode both your physical and mental health, and no job is worth such a sacrifice.
Questions and comments for Niki Scott should be addressed Working Woman, Features Department, The Sun, Baltimore 21278.