We spend so many hours per day at work, so it comes as no surprise that not every moment goes swimmingly. Humans have their ups and downs, and when the downs are workplace-oriented, awkwardness can ensue. But then, people have trouble dealing with uncomfortable situations for fear of being unprofessional or worry that things will become even more difficult if the topic is discussed at all.
Should we let the sticky scenarios go on or speak up to set things straight? If you are the type to talk it out, but office awkwardness has kept your lips zipped, here are some tips for handling fairly common workplace conflicts without causing chaos.
The Super-Noisy Nuisance
There is always that one shout-talking, paper-rustling, loud-chewing noisemaker in the office that causes distraction and annoyance. Everyone agrees they are unnecessarily boisterous, but nobody wants to be the one to ask them to take it down a few notches. Not only is this irritating, but it can affect your job performance.
One technique to get this person to listen to your gripe is to "make it clear that the problem is yours, not his," as suggested by Fast Company. "So, you are asking for his help to clear up your problem and not focusing on him as the problem. In that way, you might be able to enlist his help while not embarrassing him. If all else fails, you should chat with a supervisor to see if you can get your desk moved."
But Work Happy Now makes it clear, "Before asking your co-worker to stop a certain behavior, make sure that you aren't guilty of something as annoying yourself." Nobody's perfect, not even you.
"Reply All" Ramifications
Unsend! Unsend! Have you been humiliated by hitting "reply all" or responding to an email you meant to forward to someone else with some added comments and complaints you'd never want the original sender to see? Modern technology sure has its perks, but screw-ups are still a human element.
Reed recommends, "The only thing you can do in this situation is come clean. Take the person in question aside and express your sincere regret in making the mistake. Apologize for any offense caused, listen to their reaction, and move on."
Huffington Post adds, "Make the apology in person or by phone, especially considering that email leaves tone to the imagination of the reader. You don't want to risk getting it wrong again."
When a Peer Gets Too Personal
"TMI" is awkward enough when it comes from a friend, let alone someone you work with. If a co-worker is divulging too much personal information, it can run the risk of overstepping boundaries, making for an uncomfortable atmosphere. While you want to maintain a certain level of trust around the office, getting too deep can get you in deep trouble.
As Experience points out, "Look first at your own actions to make sure you haven't unwittingly implied that you're an available confidante. If your behavior isn't what needs altering, draw a boundary by suggesting a more appropriate person for your (co-worker) to take his problems to such as a family member or friend."
Gossiping about others is in the same boat. It may feel like human nature to participate in such behavior, but rise above and go about your business. Work Happy Now suggests, "When someone tries to share office gossip with you, try changing the conversation, or simply tell them that you don't like talking about others because you don't like it when people talk about you."
The Food-Stealing Fiend
You were looking forward to that chicken salad sandwich you picked up at the deli on the way to work only to find it missing from the communal fridge. And that half-and-half for your mid-morning coffee? Half-gone. What gives? Looks like you've got a snack-stealer on your hands, and it is likely that it isn't only your goodies they are gobbling.
This may seem like a petty problem, but as per Daily Telegraph, it is pervasive. "A survey released by online grocer Peapod revealed that 71 percent of employees have had their personal snack, drink or meal stolen out of communal-office kitchens. Not only that, but in urban areas, 40 percent of employees admitted to having been the perpetrators of lunch theft."
Work Happy Now has the answer, "Put your food in some sort of container, and make sure to label it with your name. If it keeps happening, ask, in a non-accusatory manner, if anyone has seen your food items. This usually does the trick."
Unless you work alone, you are bound to hit an awkward spot at work at some point, if you haven't already. Keep your cool, keep it professional, and keep the peace.
- Advice for your awkward workplace dilemmas - Marketplace ›
- The Different Kinds Of Awkward Situations At Workplace | Engagedly ›
- Capital - How to avoid awkward conversations at work - BBC ›
- How to Deal with Social Awkwardness At Work | Keep Your Calm ›
- Top 10 Uncomfortable Situations and How to Deal with Them ›
- How to Handle Uncomfortable Situations at Work | On Careers | US ... ›
- Handling Uncomfortable Situations in the Workplace ›
When people think of gifting, they tend to think of the winter holiday season.
Suddenly, every store offers gift wrapping and the internet is a cornucopia of gift guides. I get super into it, making lists — like Santa himself — of who’s getting gifts r and who’s getting nuffin because they scorned me last time around. Black Friday and the winter sale season have trained me well - I’m now in the groove of saving in advance, prepping my budget, and keeping an eye out for major sales.
But with all that anticipation in winter, there’s almost nothing of the sort in spring. And, after going through my spending last year, I realized why I felt like all my money was going down the drain from April to June: this is a holiday-filled season too!
At first, I blamed it on hot-girl summer — and maybe in part, this was the case. Buying new clothes to refresh my stale pandemic wardrobe, and admittedly getting carried away with my post-vax excitement for going/doing/seeing everything all took hits at my budget.
In the future, I’ll make sure to prep more for summer because every year brings new exciting things to spend money on – especially outside.. Plus, as travel becomes more and more seamless with fewer restrictions, having a “summer buffer” will let me dip into my savings for trips that may come, not into my credit card balance.
I told myself I’d make those financial decisions for the summer, but it wasn’t just the summer. The whole spring was a financial pit and I didn’t completely understand why. After all, isn’t spring for cleaning, decluttering, and even making money by ditching things that aren’t serving you? Why then, did I keep watching my accounts get drained?
The answer is gifts. From Easter in April, Mother’s Day in May, Father’s Day in June, and more, spring is a parade of little holidays that sneak up on you with their obligatory gifting. And it doesn’t even end there for me – I have a ton of friends’ birthdays during these months! With Tauruses being known for their materialism (or maybe that’s just the ones I know), I always splurge on their presents. This leaves me with an empty checking account … kind of by surprise.
In the winter, I prep and save and budget. In the spring, I scramble and overspend. But not this year. This year, I’m very aware that it’s gifting season and I am planning accordingly.
Adele, a Taurus, courtside in all designer. See what I mean? Does she LOOK easy to impress? No, this is why I'm broke
How to Save For Short Term Goals Using Sinking Funds
According to personal finance blogs, one of the keys to saving enough for seasons like this is starting early. Establishing what is known as “sinking funds” is the most efficient way to consistently save for short-term goals. From everything to impending vacations to holiday gifts, sinking funds let you start planning early and reinforce good spending habits. No longer will you be surprised by recurring bills or how much a vacation really costs – the money will be saved, waiting for you to enjoy.
TIME defines sinking funds as a special kind of savings account. “A sinking fund functions similar to a savings account, but with a purpose and approach all its own,” says TIME. “A sinking fund is money you set aside for a specific upcoming expense. Unlike a general savings account or emergency fund, a sinking fund has a clear purpose attached to it — whether it’s to save for a vacation, down payment on a home, or a big-ticket splurge. The financial educator Haley Sacks has a sinking account just for astrologists. If you have a big expense coming up, you might consider creating a sinking fund to take the stress out of saving for it.”
I’m taking notes — and even considering starting my own astrology sinking fund — and I already made one for “Spring Surprises.” For any savings goal, keeping a separate savings account apart from your checking account is the first step to making sure you’re actually contributing to it. Seeing that number get closer to your goal is great motivation. For sinking funds, I make many different savings accounts, all with specific names according to the goal. I even add the goal amount and the month it’s “due” to the account name so I know when each is coming up. This gets me excited to see the fruits of my labor and keep contributing consistently. It also makes it easier to budget for my sinking funds each month with a dedicated amount.
Sinking funds are great cash flow tools that keep you in control of your purchases. According to Clever Girl Finance, a popular personal finance blog for women: “When you don't have a sinking fund, you may be forced to make these purchases through another source of funds, i.e., your emergency fund, your savings account, or your credit card. A sinking fund helps you to plan for large purchases. It also helps you stay on track with your savings goals, keeps your debt low, and allows you to make purchases freely without feeling the pinch.”
This added security lets you spend money on gifts guilt-free. Once it’s in your sinking fund, you can spend it for its allocated purpose without having to worry about other expenses or going into debt. You’ve planned for this. And now you can be generous without the unexpected stress of draining your checking or even your own spending money.
What to Buy This Spring
With all the little holidays that accumulate during the season, it can be easy to be surprised by them. Sinking funds take care of the financials, but an extra step of planning never hurts. Figuring out what you actually want to buy in advance lets you track prices and take advantage of sales, rather than buying whatever marked-up mother’s day bouquet you come across last minute.
Be the best gifter of the season by simply being prepared. You can find unique gifts for all your loved ones on Uncommon Goods.
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Everything on Uncommon Goods is “all out of the ordinary.” From highly specific and aesthetically pleasing tools for niches like gardening to crowd-pleasers like mimosa-makers or beer lovers’ gift sets, Uncommon Goods has something for everyone.
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Never spiral out of control when spring comes again. Make a smart purchase decision for you, your lucky giftee, and Ukrainian refugees by choosing Uncommon Goods for all your gifts this season.
Kim K is acting up again — nature is healing.
After Kanye West recently went on an online tear trying to win Kim back by … weaponizing his fans against her and her boyfriend — the logic is flawed, especially since West was simultaneously parading his relationship with Julia Fox — a judge declared Kim Kardashian legally single. Silly me, I thought this would be the end of the whole ordeal. I naively hoped that I would get some peace, quiet, and respite from the Kardashian/Jenner/West/Barker/Fox/Davidson/whoever-else brood for at least a little while.
Once again, I was wrong.
Kim Kardashian recently made it Instagram-official with Pete Davidson in a very on-trend photo dump. And — predictably — this went viral. This is … whatever. Good for them. However, at the same time, a video of Kim’s advice to business owners also went viral.
In an interview for Variety, the magazine asked Kim for her "best advice for women in business." In response, Kim said — in all seriousness and without a hint of sarcasm or self-awareness — “Get your f—ing ass up and work.” She continued: “It seems like nobody wants to work these days. You have to surround yourself with people that want to work. No toxic work environments and show up and do the work. Have a good work environment where everyone loves what they do because you have one life.”
If this sounds like bad advice, it’s because it is. In fact, none of it really means anything substantial. At best, it’s vacuous and unhelpful. At worst, it's ignorant and completely insensitive.
Emerging from a global pandemic that ravaged the economy with high rates of unemployment and confused work boundaries for those who could work, Kim’s assessment of people “these days” is outrageously out of touch.
In fact, most people are working more. Studies show: “Nearly 70 percent of professionals who transitioned to remote work because of the pandemic say they now work on the weekends. And 45 percent say they regularly work more hours during the week than they did before.”
While the rise of remote work promised more freedom and flexibility, it actually placed increased pressure on employees. They face rising workloads — especially in shrinking departments that laid off some employees due to budget cuts — and less ability to advocate for themselves. So, even if Kim is right and people don’t “want to work,” they’re working anyway. And they’re working more than ever.
According to Paul McDonald, senior executive director at LA-based staffing firm Robert Half, "While remote work affords employees greater flexibility, it also makes disconnecting extremely difficult. Many people feel pressure to keep up with rising workloads and are putting in long hours to support the business and customer needs.”
This pressure, combined with hastily-set-up remote systems means employees have been left in limbo, clocking in at the end of the world. “Simply handing an employee a laptop and downloading Zoom or some other collaborative software is not enough to help employees manage their work and lives through the pandemic and beyond,” says Cali Williams Yost, a nationally recognized expert on workplace flexibility and founder of the Manhattan-based consultancy Flex+Strategy Group.
Due to the prevalence of hustle culture, these boundaries are even more blurred. Unfortunately, the glorification of non-stop hustling was omnipresent during the pandemic. Remember when we first started lockdown and everyone was like, “write a book,” or “get a six-pack.” Somehow, that expectation still stands, and now those who got crypto-rich or exploited people’s pandemic vulnerabilities are looking down on the people who didn’t.
Kim is the latter. Her various business ventures all depend on selling consumer insecurities back to people. The self-image she constructed for her brand is one that promises her fans they can get a piece of her life, her success, her looks if they only spend more and more money.
According to Kim, her job is burdensome. She defended herself, saying: “When you do product shots (or) when you (post) things that are work-related posts, it's still a job and it's still really hard. Success is never easy. If you put in the work, you will see results.” But once again, this is overly simplistic, oblivious, and ignorant.
Not to say that she hasn’t leveraged the privileges she’s been given, but that’s just it. Kim Kardashian was born in proximity to wealth and fame, all of which provided her with the opportunities she has now leveraged for her success. And some of these opportunities have come at the cost of other people — i.e. her whole aesthetic and how it was built on a foundation of anti-blackness. As a fair-skinned woman, Kim was praised and uplifted for embodying aesthetics that Black women have been shamed and degraded for. So her success is not merely a result of her desire to work, her individual actions. Rather, it’s because she had all the prerequisites to success. But not everyone can just reach out and choose a life of access, ease, and abundance.
To be honest, the Variety question was kind of a setup. Kim’s relationship with work is not like most people’s, so no advice she would have given would be relatable. Sure, it didn’t have to be so shallow or perpetuate toxic ideas about work. But the lesson here is clear: don’t take work advice from Kim Kardashian.