Trial by fire?
January 24, 2012 8:38 PM Subscribe
I panic at work when the stress is on. Can you help me handle the fire more gracefully?
posted by anonymous to human relations (5 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
(Anonymous because I don't want work poking around. But I'll be pretty transparent and include as much info as possible due to anonymity.)
I've been a Senior Writer at a large New York ad firm for some number of years. I’ve been pretty successful to this point—am well-liked by my coworkers, clients, and the Brass. My opinion is well-regarded, I feel respected, and I’ve been very good at leading brain storming sessions.
Recently, there have been changes in the Creative Department that are causing pretty much everyone to step up and lead, especially the Seniors on up. The hours have gotten longer, the politics a little more tricky, the work more challenging, and the deadlines tighter.
And it’s great! I feel extra needed and I feel like I’m learning a lot. I’m working directly with the Top Brass Man and he really trusts me. He really just wants it done and done right. I’ve had to cobble together an unofficial team during this transitional phase, and I’ve been doing an ok job shielding them from extra stress and madness.
But I don’t trust myself—because I have the tendency to panic under pressure.
Long about 1 pm, the Account Team from multiple clients/accounts start hounding me for things from my team(s) or from me personally. (What’s adding insult to injury is that they don’t really know what is going on either—the target keeps moving, the client is quick to change their mind but slow to give feedback, etc. Hell, sometimes the entire creative brief changes at the drop of a hat. Suffice to say, we’re all trying to work it out.)
Regardless, from 1 pm to about 5 pm, I’m in a complete panic. I am literally running from Art Director to Art Director, Project Manger to Top Brass Man, and so forth. It’s worse than herding cats, and on top of that I have my own stuff to work on.
Like I said, I like this new role and challenge of stepping up into a slightly larger leadership role. But I don’t feel like I’m leading too well, because I’m spending too much time panicking. Something I love about our Top Brass is that they are so calm under pressure. They’re handling much more than I am, but can switch gears like a machine and handle multiple fires with ease.
Eventually, I want to be the kind of leader that keeps people calm and focused. But I know I need to feel that calm and focus myself before I can instill it in others.
* I do have diagnosed ADHD – I am going to speak to my psychiatrist about my medication options. I realize that this could have something to do with it
* I have had panic/anxiety problems in the past, but this feels very different. It’s not the irrational, lump-in-throat type. It’s more like WE ARE IN THE LAST QUARTER OF THE SUPERBOWL OMG NAIL THAT KICK type of anxiety
* I have tried full coffee, only one coffee, no coffee. And now black tea. It really doesn’t quantifiably make a difference in the anxiety level.
*I’ve tried meditation at my desk or in a conference room. I just get interrupted, and I frankly don’t have time at this point
* Going for walks occasionally helps, but I really don’t have time to be away from the office. In addition, I don’t actually clear my head when I’m walking. I only seem to think about each situation even more. Besides, it’s cold out right now
I really feel like this is something I need to get under control to be an effective, brand new leader. The first step if you will. Can anyone give tips, anecdotes, or anything else that might help?