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Tip Sheets

Overcoming Job Challenges

Are you having trouble getting to work on time, handling a heavy workload or dealing with a difficult co-worker? Whatever job challenge you’re facing, if it’s worrying you or getting you down, it’s important for you to take steps to improve the situation.

Why do something about it?

Although job challenges can be hard to deal with, working through them can help you become a stronger, more confident employee. You can learn to stand up for yourself or change a situation when someone or something at work is causing you stress or unhappiness.

A job challenge may get worse over time and usually doesn’t go away on its own. The sooner you begin to make changes in the situation, or in how you respond to it, the easier it will be to handle.

Job challenges related to health, safety and human rights issues, such as sexual harassment and discrimination, are beyond the scope of this article. If you’re dealing with any of these issues, tell your supervisor and check out the links in “Additional Information” at the end of this article. You have the right to work in an environment where your health, safety and human rights are protected.

Steps to handling the challenge

Think about the job challenge you’re dealing with. You may be able to improve the situation on your own by following these steps:

  1. Relax. Take a few deep breaths.
  2. Try to see the problem from all sides. Take responsibility for any of your actions or attitudes that might be part of the problem.
  3. Describe the problem like you’re explaining it to a friend. Write down your description.
  4. Brainstorm possible solutions.
  5. Make a list of good and bad points for the solutions you think are best.
  6. Choose one solution to try first.
  7. Break that solution down into smaller steps to see how your plan will work.
  8. Take action. Start with the first step.

When to ask for help

It can be overwhelming to resolve workplace issues on your own, so it’s okay to ask for help when you need it. Knowing when you need help is a sign of maturity, wisdom and strength. Start with people you trust, like your friends and family, your supervisor, a co-worker or a counsellor.

You’re on your way to dealing with a job challenge when you realize the situation needs to change. By taking responsibility for your own issues, coming up with a plan and asking for help when you need it, you’re demonstrating both your effectiveness as a co-worker and your value as an employee.

Relevant Tips (

Additional Reading (

Additional Information
For help with challenges, visit these websites:

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