|Facing Uncertainties on the Job|
|By Carl ToersBijns, former deputy warden, ASPC Eyman, Florence AZ|
The brain works in mysterious ways. In fact, it is safe to say that not minds think alike and that solving problems or facing personal or professional challenges could be handled differently in some cases as there are multiple uncertainties in life and in the workplace that are not alike.
As a new officer, we tend to become extremely cautious and to some degree fearful when we first start on the job and think of survival tactics. It’s natural and as time goes by, your self-confidence grows and fear levels diminish but you still remain cautious as your instincts have evolved into sharper senses.
At least we hope so as that is a key to your survival. What we are talking about are ‘rookie mistakes’ that can be avoided if you take some advice and take some easy steps to make facing your uncertainties easier to deal with and understand.
There are important decisions to make every day in detention or correction settings. There are certain rules that must be followed and how you get your job done is based on your mentality and ability to do so. We are taught to never overreact but it’s easier said than done in some cases.
To be successful in this profession, you must learn how to override your involuntary ‘fight or flight’ mechanism and refer to rational thinking instead even though you may be faced with minimal amounts of information to base your decision on. We have to learn to keep our faculties in check and prevent the brain from overreacting.
We have to learn and train our brain to prevent panic and go into a survival mode that is overwhelmingly cautious in nature. When such instincts are over-evolved, it becomes a hindrance in the workplace and creates hesitation and procrastination.
What may be deemed to be fear is really a mental overreaction of caution. This kind of self-control requires developing emotional intelligence [EQ] which is something we all possess but can be boosted or improved by doing certain things at uncertain times. Some ways to boost your EQ are:
Remember that when faced with uncertainty the main goal is to overcome the challenge and bring it all together to make it a manageable situation. There is no need for complete control and self-control is an essential part of your decision making skills.
Using the tactics above, your ability to handle uncertain situation will be enhanced enough to build on your ability to handle more complex and more difficult situations in the future. Remember that practice is essential to become a better problem solver and the more you get involved, the more you learn to control your EQ and contribute to your team, shift, facility or your organization.
Corrections.com author, Carl ToersBijns, (retired), has worked in corrections for over 25 yrs He held positions of a Correctional Officer I, II, III [Captain] Chief of Security Mental Health Treatment Center – Program Director – Associate Warden - Deputy Warden of Administration & Operations. Carl’s prison philosophy is all about the safety of the public, staff and inmates, "I believe my strongest quality is that I create strategies that are practical, functional and cost effective."
Other articles by ToersBijns:
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