A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem
Dear Sue: Iíve noticed that you and other columnists often
advise your readers to talk to someone about a problem. My question is who
is someone? Is it a psychologist, a counselor or other professional of
some kind? Who should someone turn to when he or she may not know who to
turn to? And isnít it wrong to burden others with your personal problems?
- Looking for someone
Sue Says: When you are struggling with a problem, talking it
over with someone else can help. Whether that person simply reassures you,
offers a different perspective, has advice, or connects you with resources
or other people who can help you, you will benefit. You donít want to
burden others with every little problem you have, but if you are
struggling with something and donít know where to turn, you should seek
assistance. The ďsomeoneĒ you should talk to will vary depending on the
Some matters are best discussed with a close friend or family member.
Many work related and career issues can be resolved by talking directly
with the person involved, a supervisor, someone in human resources or a
career advisor. Sometimes itís best to talk to a person who is removed
from the situation. When you want an unbiased and objective perspective,
seek someone from the outside: a counselor, a coach, a mediator, a mentor,
or anyone you know will not be affected by the outcome.
The process of working through a problem is beneficial in many ways and
will help you see things more objectively. Personal problems should be
discussed discreetly and with someone you trust be it a physician, or
mental health professional. Dwelling on a problem without taking any
action is stressful and a waste of time. In fact, many problems can be
easily resolved, but instead are blown out of proportion. Focus on finding
solutions; when you ask for help, the right person can help you shift your
Confronting someone about a problem does not have to be confrontational
or combative, and seeking professional guidance is nothing to be
embarrassed about. Every problem you face can teach you something new
about yourself and others.
Problems are inevitable, and few are insurmountable. Everyone has
problems to deal with. It may be easier to avoid your problems than face
them, but they never really go away unless you do. You may be able to push
a problem aside temporarily, but chances are it will surface again.
Whatever it is youíre trying to avoid could be the reason youíre having
the problem in the first place. It takes courage and discipline to tackle
the problems you encounter.
If you have a problem with someone or something, remember it is your
problem, not theirs. When you donít know where to turn, ask others for
suggestions. Research the internet, look in the yellow pages, and ask
others for referrals. Take responsibility not only for your contribution
to the problems you have, but for finding that ďsomeoneĒ who can help you
Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She
is author of the newly released
101 Tips for Graduates and
How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her web site at
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