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Worried at Work?

Letting go of the fear of being fired

Keeping work and life balanced is always tricky, but worrying about losing your job can really take a toll. If you're fixating on being fired, here are a few ways to let go of your fears and start a happier, healthier life.

Find your focus
There's a reason you're anxious about being losing your job -- you just have to figure out what it is. Are other issues in your life putting stress on your work performance? Are you not getting the support you need to do your job right? Or maybe you're simple disinterested or unmotivated to find success at work. Regardless of the reason, you've got to work through your anxieties or you'll only make things worse.

The best way to stop worrying? Start working! Spending time and energy fixating on being fired only distracts you from getting your work done -- and in the end, may doom you to a self-fulfilling prophesy of failure. Instead, when your mind starts drifting off into irrational fears of being fired, use that as a cue to get your butt in gear. Tackle that project you've been putting off. Make that call you've been avoiding. Transforming anxiety into a motivator helps you do the job to the best of your ability - and let go of your fears of being fired.

Address the Issue
If you're doing the best you can and still find yourself in fear at work, it might be time to address the issue. Talk with a trusted coworker and you may be surprised to learn you aren't the only person feeling the pressure. You may even want to bring it up directly with your boss -- but don't just barge into her office and ask if your job's on the line. Instead, set up a time and place where you can talk privately and casually. Tell your boss you'd like to open the lines of communication for more feedback on your performance, including constructive criticism. Knowing where you stand with your boss will take the wonder -- and the worry -- out of your career.

Put it in perspective
Sometimes the best way to overcome the fear of being fired is to come to terms with what being fired would actually be like. Yes, it might be financially scary, publicly embarrassing and emotionally stressful.

Ask yourself a few probing questions. What sort of person are you attracted to? What do all of your previous relationships have in common? How did they end, and what part did you play in that ending?

Your patterns begin with the type of person you habitually choose (or to whom you are attracted). Attraction reveals a lot about your expectation of a relationship. Choose a distant or unavailable partner, and you'll be safe from all that messy intimacy. A clingy man will lead you down the road to codependence, or worse, cast you in a recurring role as nurturer or caretaker. Guys with that attractive dark and angsty side will ensure that your relationship is never dull…and never without devastating highs and lows. The list goes on; maybe you choose men whose careers are a little shaky because you're insecure about your own or who ooze sex appeal they can hardly control - and eventually don't. Only you know why you choose whom you choose, but as soon as you detect a pattern in your past attractions, you've got your first clue to what's behind your "luck." You could argue that you can't control whom you love, but you'd be wrong. Change what you want in a relationship, and you'll find yourself attracted to different types of people.

Next, turn your attention to the relationship itself. Typically, is there a certain point when your luck runs out? Do you find yourself getting restless after six months or needing added commitment after a year? If any of your relationships have ended for the same reason, there's a good chance it wasn't just chance. Self sabotage, insecurities and unrealistic expectations can all play roles in the demise of relationships. Say you're terrified of appearing needy and put a lot of energy into being a rock of self-sufficiency; you could hardly be surprised when support wasn't there when you needed it. If you know you balk when things get "serious," and serious means a year for you, pay specal attention to what happens at that milestone. Again, look for patterns, and be honest with yourself about how much your actions shaped that outcome.

Now, to change your luck, all you need to do is break your patterns and redesign your destiny. Sounds easy, right? It's actually very empowering. Once you realize that dumb luck has nothing to do with where you are today and how you got there, you can put your fate back where it belongs - in your hands. That's not to say authoring your own relationship luck is easy; you'll need to be brutally honest with yourself and continually curb those old instincts. But as the people like to say, the harder you work, the luckier you get.


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