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Arnie Herz, is a lawyer, mediator, speaker, author and consultant nationally recognized for his practical and inspired approach to conflict resolution and client counseling.
Dr. John Burton LL.B. M.B.A. M.Div. Ph.D. is an ethicist, mediator, lawyer and theologian. John is currently located in Prince Rupert, B.C., Canada, working with Canada's aboriginal communities.
I believe they are trying to set me up for a nosedive and lose my job...
I have become very paranoid and I am miserable there. I even call in sick because I don't want to be there. Although I am a union member and it's not easy to lose your job there, I believe that they are trying to set me up for a nosedive and lose my job. Being a father of two this situation is affecting my personal life also. What advice can you give me?
Dear Anxious Postal
The first thing that I would suggest you look into is what support there is from your employer or your union. Is there an employee assistance plan? This service would put you in touch with a confidential counselor who could help you assess what might be done to address the issues that are making the work environment so unpleasant.
If there is no employee assistance plan you should seek out counselling on your own. It sounds like your psychological well-being is at risk and that needs to be addressed. The sort of stress that you are facing can lead to deterioration in your physical as well as emotional health.
In addition I suggest that you begin to look for a way to address the problems in the workplace directly. What can you change in your own behaviour that will make for a more positive environment? If the problems with co-workers seem to be focused on one or a few individuals can you try to improve your relationship with them? Sometimes approaching someone directly and telling them how their behaviour affects you can lead to them changing their behaviour. One cannot always change the workplace behaviour of others, however. Organizations with a large blue collar work force can be unhealthy work environments as employees take out the frustrations and sense of alienation that is built into the job on their fellow employees. It is best, therefore, to look for support from a trusted colleague before you take the risk of trying to deal with the situation directly.
Another option is to seek help from the institution itself. I'm sure that the employer has a personnel department. Perhaps a Human Resources specialist there can offer you some guidance, intervene with your supervisor or colleagues or arrange for a transfer to another location. Does your union offer any support to members who are experiencing workplace difficulty? Again there may be guidance or suggestions available there that could help you out.
Finally, if it seems to you that there is nothing that can change the workplace situation; you need to consider looking for other employment. A secure and well-paid position such as that of a Postal Worker is hard to give up. But you need to ask yourself if it is worth your mental and physical well-being to stay with an organization that is causing you such distress. Is your family benefiting from having a father and husband who is stressed out in this way?
A job that provides material security can become a trap for some of us if it is making us unhappy. Consider what the alternatives are, even if they don't offer the same level of income and security. Maybe this is an opportunity to dream of finding your destiny and pursuing it.
Thanks for writing to Office-Politics.
Dr. John Burton
Dr. John Burton LL.B. M.B.A. M.Div. Ph.D. is an ethicist, mediator, lawyer and theologian whose passion is helping people and organizations create better relationships and stronger communities by being clear, committed and collaborative in their approach to ethics and conflict. John is currently located in Prince Rupert, B.C., Canada, working with Canada's aboriginal communities.
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