Under Pressure

It’s getting close to the end of the month, and for me, that means getting the manager’s reports completed. Monthly reports are generally tedious and predictable, but every once in a while, you get surprised. In the last few months, my facility has stayed booked. If I have an opening, the units get snagged quickly. Yes, the bonus check is always nice when people pay, and units are at capacity, but I miss the interaction of new customers coming in for a new spot.  

Most companies have deadlines they must meet to fulfill their goals. When I worked in the corporate world, we were under a deadline to complete a certain amount of sales each week. If we didn’t perform, it was our necks on the line. If we did accomplish this, the expectation was to maintain and surpass our achievements. One of my most disliked positions was working for a mattress company. I was a territory manager for them, and we had to make sure that we replaced mattresses with defects. This task doesn’t sound too challenging until you realize how many things people do to beds and do not care how disgusting or unsanitary they are. Let me give you an example; I had a woman who called with a complaint that she had a four-inch hole in the mattress. When I explained we needed photos, she sent the pictures but didn’t bother to tell me how the stains on the mattress that looked like someone had a blood bath on the bed were covering up what appeared to be a one-inch hole. Most people put a mattress pad on their mattresses to protect against stains. After all, we all use our mattresses for different activities, including sleep. When I inquired what the stains were, she retorted that it “was none of my business.” Usually, I would agree, but she was trying to get a replacement, and it was my job to ensure her mattress met our warranty guidelines. After a series of back and forth calls, her mattress was rejected for approval. The indention was not deep enough to be covered. Plus, the bed was inundated with stains. It’s incredible how quickly people can put you on the hot seat when their actions have repercussions.  

There was another position I head with Sears in the ’90s. The expectation was to take in many calls from the call center and place catalog orders. The catalog now seems antiquated. But, back then, it was the best way to get what people wanted in a snap. The call center had a quota of calls we had to take. We were not allowed to be on a call for an extended period. If we managed to secure a certain number of catalog orders, we competed for prize money. If we didn’t meet our quotas, we had to make up for the lost calls by being aggressive.  

Some of the tactics businesses used changed over the last few decades. There was once a time that customer service was a source of pride among companies. Now it seems that companies are all about the money and have forgotten what good customer service means. Employees are under pressure to fulfill contracts, quotas and produce high numbers in their fields, but very seldom are customer service reps truly helpful. Companies won’t allow them to keep customer relations high because they don’t want to lose any money in the process. While that is understandable, sometimes doing the right thing will provide better income than pissing off your customer base to the point they don’t return. If you don’t believe me, look at businesses like Kmart and Sears that once were the pinnacle of retail chains and today are struggling to keep stores open.  

Now that mask restrictions are being loosened, and people are itching to get back into stores and restaurants. Too many places have now hiring signs up with no one to work. People have made more money off unemployment than many who hold full-time jobs, and there is a lot of resentment from those working, while others make more money in a month off unemployment. It’s those kinds of attitudes making it tough to find dependable staff. And before everyone gets in a tizzy that I don’t understand, I think it’s evident from the news and going into places that people aren’t going after jobs. I’ve never seen so many now hiring signs up as I have over the last few months.  

I’m not taking anything away from the people who genuinely need unemployment help. Some people have valid reasons that they aren’t able to get work at the moment. What I am saying is that our society is under tremendous pressure to get our lives back. Many people have struggled over the last year and are finally getting their lives to feel somewhat normal.  

Families are feeling under pressure because of the school systems and programs the kids are. Everyone deals with complexities they didn’t think they would need to contend with over the last year. Churches are under pressure to find ways to reach out within their communities and beyond to stay relevant. Non-profits are under pressure to keep income coming in to keep their programs active and ongoing.  

The fact remains all of us are under various types of pressure. How we deal with those pressures is a testament to our will. Now that I’ve given you some things you might identify with, let me give you some helpful pointers online. These might help you feel a little less pressure when the world feels like it’s caving in around you.  

  1. Identify your best time of day, and do the essential tasks that need the most energy and concentration at that time. I’m a morning person. I didn’t use to be, but I’ve found over the years that my energy is more robust in the morning. When you figure out which option works best for you, you can change your routine and focus on the issues at hand.  
  2. Make a list of things you have to do. I never was a fan of lists until the last couple of years, and they have made my life so much easier. Think of the list as a basis to check off the things to be done so that you can create new lists and projects along the way.  
  3. Set more diminutive and more achievable targets. I’m not telling you to stop dreaming big. Yet, every dream has to be conquered in stages to create reality. Once you do that, every hurdle becomes a hurdle left in the rear-view mirror. Keep jumping and moving forward. If you fall, keep trying until you get over that hurdle to conquer the next one.  
  4. Vary your activities. Variety might be the spice of life, but if you vary your actions, your brain has the opportunity to see the world differently.  
  5. Try not to do too much at once. This item is challenging today because there are many tasks we all want to take on. Many of us believe that if we get someone else to help out, they won’t do it the way we won’t. We have to learn when to delegate. Otherwise, we will exert all our energy unwisely.
  6. Take breaks and take things slowly. When we rush through things, we tend to make more mistakes. Catch your breath and go at a pace you feel comfortable. Only you know how fast or slow you need to take on the world.  

Be mindful of the issues you face and how much pressure you think you can handle. We all struggle with various projects and people. What matters is that we don’t let the pressure drown our abilities with each other. As you get through the day, remember to take a deep breath and know that you’ve got this. You are the captain of your destiny. Grab the wheel and steer it in the direction you want to go. Something tells me that sooner or later, you’ll gain control over the pressure and create masterpieces. Have a great day, everyone.  

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s