How to Deal With Unexpected News at Work

The 9th November 2016 officially marks the day the whole world was left speechless. The New York businessman Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the US Presidential Election. It’s not an understatement if I say that the whole world was turned upside down over Trump’s ‘unexpected’ victory.

I mean, the man himself seemed surprised by his own victory. And while many were saddened, others were rejoicing. For some his victory means ‘good’ news, others rather call it ‘bad’ (This is completely your opinion).

So how does this apply to your workplace?

For starters, how do you deal with shocking or unexpected news at work? Let’s be honest, some employers know how to drop a bombshell on their employees.

  • From laying off people in the company
  • To cutting off wages (which implies legal requirements though)
  • To losing business partners
  • Or maybe not granting you the promotion you’ve worked so hard for.

Sometimes shocking or unexpected news, whether we view it as good or bad, can push us into the right direction. Losing your job might open up a door for you to start your own business and maybe you didn’t get that promotion because your time at the company is way too overdue anyway. Hey, who knows?!

There’s always a way to ‘Triumph’ over Trump-like (unexpected) news. Here’s how:

Don’t panic – stay calm

It’s completely normal and in our human nature to instantly react to noteworthy information. The surprising news will cause you to jump, shout it out from the rooftops and social media makes it even easier to express how you feel to the entire world. However, when it comes to your job, you might want to think twice about how you react. Calm down, take a chill pill. Even if you’re offered something good at work. Don’t be hasty to act upon your emotions. Weigh in your options. Ask yourself, “what’s in it for me?” And maybe,  most importantly what’s in it for them?

Take stock of the moment

Every news or information deserves to be examined carefully. Of course, some more than others, depending on the nature of the news. In my own experience, someone once offered me a great deal (actually, it has happened way too many times). They pitch their idea, it sounds fantastic. And as soon as I get home, sleep over it, I wake up and think, “Wait, is this really what I want?”. “Can I really have this on my plate right now?”.  It makes me realise that it’s so important to first take time and reflect on what you’ve been offered or asked to do.

Relax, take it easy – Maybe it’s not as bad as you think

The thing about unexpected or shocking news is, it will shock you. That’s what it’s meant to do. It comes as a surprise, without warning or announcement. If it’s good news you’re guaranteed that nothing can steal your joy that day. However, bad news, on the other hand, has the opposite effect.

Negativity kills hope, and if there is no hope, there is no progress.

As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, it’s important to try and see the positive in something that looks and feels quite negative. Why? Negativity kills hope, and if there is no hope, there is no progress. And if you cease to progress you become stuck. If you need a few days off to get your head around things and just relax, I think that’s perfectly acceptable. You might then realise that things were actually not as bad as you thought.

Stay positive

You’re only able to move forward if you remain positive. If you need a day or two to cry and let out all of the emotions that have boiled up inside. DO IT (But please don’t try this at work, though, and for other people’s safety, make sure no one’s around) Okay, all jokes aside. Not being hasty to react (in the moment), doesn’t mean that while you’re in the reflection stage you can’t express your emotions. Work can be stressful, and receiving news you don’t know how to deal with, on top of that, can become quite a lot to handle. Expressing your emotions can even be a relief.

Also, in order to handle unexpected news at work (or maybe even in life in general), make sure you have people around you who can lift you up. People who will look at the positive side of things even if you can’t see it at the moment. And as my friend always tells me, no matter how bad it looks, your hard work will always speak for you.

Sarah Johnson

Sarah is Founder and Editor of IAMICareer. She currently holds a BA of Commerce and has a strong background in Marketing. Sarah is passionate about seeing millennials thrive in career and the workplace and is dedicated to helping millennial women bridge the gap between university and the corporate world.