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Stumbling blocks at work

Updated: Feb 9, 2019

Workplaces are full of potential stumbling blocks: difficult people, awkward situations, conflict with co-workers and even staying in a job you don't like.

You can overcome these issues.

Here are five common stumbling blocks people run into at work, and what you can do to get past them.

1. Letting setbacks break your stride

Everyone stumbles and falls. To pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get moving again, you must:

  • Take a realistic view of the situation

  • Don't beat yourself up

  • Remember the problem is yours to fix and fix it

2. Living in the rear view mirror

Don't get spend too much time looking in the rearview mirror. To learn from your mistakes, regroup, and then get going again it's important to:

  • Remember that others may see the situation differently

  • Let go of what you can't control

  • Talk about your concerns with someone you trust

3. Minding other people's business

It's good to care about and respect people around you. But don't let it interfere with your work. To avoid this stumbling block:

  • Set boundaries and respect other people's privacy

  • Speak positively about others and your organization

  • Don't blame others when things go wrong

4. Going head to head with your boss

It's a fight you can't win, and it's an approach that kills your career options. To avoid falling into a career death spiral:

  • Listen carefully without becoming defensive

  • Disagree without being disagreeable

  • Be willing to explore new options and approaches

5. Staying in a job you don't like

Every job has bad days or rough periods, and you may spend time working mainly to make ends meet. But in the best job scenario, you'll love at least something about the work, if not the whole job.

  • Focus on the tasks you enjoy

  • Spend time with customers and co-workers

  • Attend a seminar and practice your newly acquired skills


Barbara May has a great deal of experience and first-hand information to share about overcoming stumbling blocks at work. She has interviewed business owners on the Learning & Job News, hosted Access Television's May We Talk, and facilitated more than 500 Career and Employment Workshops.

Barbara draws upon this experience to help people come up with new ways solving problems in the workplace such as dealing and communicating with co-workers and bouncing back from mistakes with confidence.

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