How To Navigate Sticky Situations at Work

I attended an event hosted by: New York Women in Communications. Our Young Professionals Committee hosted “YoPro Happy Hour: Sticky Situations” on November 15th at Sarabeth’s Lord & Taylor. The event consisted of a panel discussing how to navigate challenging situations at work. Some of these situations could be negotiations, advocating for yourself, feeling overwhelmed and forming friendships with co-workers.

Vanessa Clark, the HR Director of Lord & Taylor served as the Moderator. The panelists included Laura Burkart, the Director of People & Culture at “Superfly”, Claire Wasserman, the founder of “Ladies Get Paid,” and Meryl Weinsaft Cooper, the Founder/Principal of “The Cooperation.”

How to Be a Champion at The Office

Being a champion at the office means being a team player but also knowing how to advocate for yourself.

Meryl Weinsaft Cooper said to consider the kind of person you want to work with. It’s important to work as a team to ensure that you’re giving credit to others.

For advocating for yourself, Laura Burkart recommends you assert yourself with tasks. She calls this the STAR technique:

Situation: What situation did you find yourself in?

Task: What task did you complete?

Action: What action did you take to complete the task?

Result: What were the results? Consider the context of a story.

Laura says this technique can be effective when asking for promotions or during an interview. You should be able to come up with 3 or 4 of your proudest moments.

Negotiating an Offer

Claire said more women need to become comfortable with discussing salary offers. That we shouldn’t shy away from transparency when it comes to negotiating salaries. Research should be done through Glassdoor or Indeed Salary to understand the different ranges.

Laura says when it comes to negotiation, we should have a range, open mind, and flexibility. She said it’s your happiness that matters most. It’s best to often be flexible on the title if you can get the experience you need.

Laura added that if you want a higher salary, be prepared to translate how you’re valuable. Be prepared to articulate what you bring that no other candidate does.

Office Friendships

Myself and members of NYWICI.
Myself and members of NYWICI.

For young professionals working in a start-up environment, it’s easy to form friendships with co-workers who are also starting out in their careers. The panelists said that maintaining friendships at work is fine as you should engage with co-workers. However, you should be thoughtful about what you share because there’s a time and place.

Laura said you shouldn’t be the “debbie downer” in the office nor associate with those who are perceived that way because it creates negative energy. If you’re someone that constantly complains at the task at hand, or is around someone that’s consistently negative, you won’t be seen in a positive light.

Feeling Overwhelmed or Dealing with Difficult Co-Workers?

When dealing with difficult co-workers, you don’t want to react to a difficult person with an emotional response. The panelists emphasized that getting defensive doesn’t work. We should take a step back, take our emotion out and then respond.

For situations where you may be feeling overwhelmed, you should come up with a priority system where you’re transparent with your boss. You should keep track of all you’re doing and working on.

Those are a few tips offered from the panel discussion. If you’ve dealt with a challenging situation at work, how did you solve it?

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