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By: Dr. John T. Self

Feeling Overwhelmed?

If you feel intense pressure whenever you start thinking about work it is time to stop and ask yourself why. Why are you feeling this way? In almost every case it is the fear of the unknown.

So ask yourself what is it that you are worried about? What is that you don't know?
Worried about a job transfer?
Concerned about your job performance?
Worried about how your boss or your boss?s boss sees your performance?
Worried about being terminated?
Worried about not being promoted?
Concerned with the performance of your area of responsibility?
Is it some health issue?
Personal issue?
Family issue?

Whatever the problem, the best advice is to address the question and find an answer to it. In most cases, once you confront an issue, it will relieve your anxiety and you will feel energized. Just dwelling on something only makes it worse.

If it is a performance issue, think about it. Make an appointment with your general manager or area supervisor. But before the meeting, do your homework. What do YOU think you are doing well and not so well? When you talk with your boss, let him/her know you are aware of the problems and that you have a plan to correct them. Address the problem areas with specific plans for each area to do a better job. No boss (no effective boss) can criticize you for knowing and correcting problems. Your boss has a legitimate gripe with you when you do not know your problem areas or/and have no plan to correct them.

If it is a personal/health/family matter talk it out. Think about the worst case scenario. Now that is out on the table, you know it can't be any worse. Just recognizing that fact usually makes you realize that even in the worst case, you will survive and many times you will be wiser and in a better position.

The bottom line is that feeling overwhelmed is caused by something that is unknown. This feeling is usually brought on by not wanting to deal with some problem. The longer that you put it off, the worse it gets in actuality and in your mind. It is natural to not want to deal with something unpleasant, but this is the cause of feeling overwhelmed. Once you sit down and deal with it, you will feel better because you have turned the unknown into the known.

About the author:  John T. Self is a lecturer at The Collins School of Hospitality Management at California State Polytechnic University (Cal Poly Pomona). Prior to entering academe, Dr. Self spent fifteen years in the restaurant industry. While in the corporate world, he worked for several chains including overseeing six restaurants with sales of over twenty million dollars. He has also owned three independent restaurants. While at Golden Gate University, he started the partnership with Dalian University of Technology in Dalian, China and is continuing in that involvement at Cal Poly.

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