Employee anxiety and stress increase when their bosses ask them for immediate answers

Narda Maren

You are not "Wikipedia." You don’t need to know all the answers

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This singular advice I received might also help you at your work

This is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers." — James Thurber.

About ten years ago, I worked as an administrative coordinator in a store. The work was a lot. I usually arrived before 8:00 AM, leaving about two after my workday to complete it.

The work was stressful, but I liked it because I felt useful.

When I was going to have two years in that position, I was promoted to commercial manager of the marketing department.

I had not studied marketing, and I did not know anything about it. Still, the company’s Vice President told me that the work was similar to what I did before, only that, instead of working with the structure and services of the store, now I was going to work with the products they sold.

I accepted the challenge; they trusted me, so let’s get to work!

It was not easy, they practically did not give me training, and I needed to learn quickly since the position was a great responsibility. The anxiety was killing me.

Whenever my phone rang and I saw my boss or the company’s owner, my anxiety would attack.

One of those days, one of my coworkers, who had been working in that area for more years than me, told me something that changed my whole perspective and helped me relax:

Learn to say “I don’t know,” you don’t have to know all the answers. YOU ARE NOT WIKIPEDIA.

Seek to be the perfect employee — a big mistake

For many years I tried to be the employee who was always available, never said I couldn’t, and never said I didn’t know. Obviously, that helped me in my professional career, but it drained me emotionally.

I came home tired, I always had a headache, and the feeling of satisfaction he had at first was gone. As hard as he worked, I no longer felt useful.

After the advice of my friend, I understood that telling my boss: “I don’t know,” “I don’t have the information now, but I’m going to investigate,” did not make me less efficient; instead, it activated my creativity to search for solutions.

I have learned that mistakes can be as good teachers as success." — Jack Welch.

Of course, I always tried to handle all the information related to my work, but I also learned to tell them: “A moment please, I am going to look for the information,” or, “Excuse me, give me 10 minutes, and I see it with a partner since I’m not sure.”

I learned that I didn’t have to know all the answers lowered the stress load. Being competent does not mean that you have to be perfect. Perfection does not exist.

Fear of being humiliated

Many people are so afraid of being humiliated for not knowing an answer that they pretend to be fools for preferring to say anything rather than admit that they don’t see the response.

It is better to say I don’t know than to sound stupid.

Acting in this way makes us incapable of learning new things, mainly from those with much more experience than us. Yes, someone may criticize you at some point, but you know what? That shouldn’t matter to you.

The important thing is that if you have a hard time or ignore something, be humble and admit it. Your bosses may tell you to look into it, or they may give you the answer. Both options are favorable.

Knowing how to handle a work situation, and even personal, has nothing to do with learning how to respond instantly to a question.

Instead, to be efficient, you need to know where to find the correct answers, and at the same time, identify the solutions to specific questions long before they are asked.

Be a student while you still have something to learn." — Henry Doherty.

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