Every now and then you hear someone wondering aloud why should you teach yourself to cope with work, and, on the other hand, why is not everyone burdened by work?

Surely, everyone knows someone who is used to working a great deal but does not appear particularly stressed. What could be the secret to coping of these kind of people? Could you model their coping at work?

Job you like

One likely factor promoting coping is a meaningful job. A job that you feel that you are good at, at least every now and then.  A job where you get positive feedback also from the others. A job where you can learn sufficiently and develop yourself to be even better.  A job in an organization the values and quality standards of which correspond to your own values and professional ethics. A job that for the most part interests you and you feel is worth doing. A job that you enjoy, at least occasionally, and that gives you experiences of success. 

Ability to affect things and the feeling of control

Working life today is wrought with many kinds of uncertainties: organizational reforms, statutory cooperation procedure negotiations, fixed term contracts, temp work, all kinds of changes. These changes may be resources and opportunities, but also energy drains in a working environment. Different people also tolerate uncertainty differently.

Different people tolerate uncertainty differently.

Changes tie up energy especially when your own possibilities to affect the situation are at a minimum and you are losing the sense of control over your own work.  The feeling of control is also increased by the feeling of being able to work in peace, which you might be destroying inadvertently with your own work methods: for example, being available by email or phone when the work at hand would require absolute concentration and undisturbed workspace. For example, is it possible to perform all work tasks in an open plan office?

Personally suitable recovery

Not everybody calls their means of recovery ‘recovery’, but for example, ways to spend your free time, hobbies, passions, different aspects of life, everyday life – the denominator does not matter, what matters is the restorative effect. This refers to the state in your body when you are restoring resources, which have been used when striving to perform some task. It is your job to find the means best suited for you to do this and name them in any way you like. The means may also vary according to life situation or duties. Sometimes the best form of recovery is spending time with your friends, while at other times it may be being alone in silence. Personally, after a day of writing I may have a terrible need to be a veritable chatterbox, whereas after a very social and interactive day, it is wonderful to stay in silence for a while.

the professional skills of each individual should include enough self-awareness to be able to recognize the limits of their resources and the ability support their own coping in an applicable way.

You should be able to find the right formula for recovery through experimentation and self-reflection.   As a rule, we surely can appreciate the differences between us and accept that different people are burdened by different things and to differing degrees.  However, the professional skills of each individual should include enough self-awareness to be able to recognize the limits of their resources and the ability support their own coping in an applicable way.  As a colleague, I may not always be able to promote the recovery of someone else, but could I reduce their need for recovery by not burdening others unnecessarily? Or, could I learn from someone else’s work methods and means of recovery and become skilled at coping myself?