5 Ways to Deal With Uncertainty at Work

“Will I have a job in 6 months?” was the question that kept me up many nights.  For some time, I went through the gut wrenching stress and anxiety of trying to deal with uncertainty at work especially where things would come out of left field almost constantly.

Unable to deal with uncertainty and chaos at work, I froze and became paralyzed by over thinking about what I thought was going to happen next.  I just couldn’t deal with uncertainty and it caused me to have stress and anxiety.  Then for a while, I went through an up and down journey which led me to my breakthrough.  Uncertainty didn’t go away – I just learned to deal with it.

Here are 5 ways to deal with uncertainty at work that helped me and may be helpful to you:

1. Accept the craziness 

Understand that your place of work will have lots of changes.  Don’t be surprised with chaos at work.  It will happen.  No one is immune from the up and down cycles especially during an unpredictable economy.  People will change, the nature of work will be different and the way your place of work is organized will be different.  Things you didn’t expect, will likely happen because no one can predict the future.

By FULLY ACCEPTING the chaos at work, we can start realizing that we cannot control the chaos BUT we can only control ourselves and the way we deal with the uncertainty and chaos.  Accepting this hard truth FULLY will make you feel better in how you deal with uncertainty.

2. Go deep 

It’s hard to focus on work when everyone around you is waiting for the next shoe to drop.  But instead of waiting for that ‘shoe’, why not do something?  If you’re thinking about making a career move, then go ahead and start sending out those resumes, make those calls or put out those feelers.  Don’t waste your time going around the gossip mill.  Stop trying to predict what’s going to happen next.  You can’t.  Get busy with doing something meaningful – something useful.    If you’re not interested in leaving your job and are trying to deal with uncertainty within the same place, then find a project and just do it.  Throw yourself into your specific role and do it really, really well.  Move forward and start working on something that you CAN control.

3. Try Something New 

Dealing with uncertainty at work can make you feel lost sometimes.  We’ve all seen people who are ‘checked out’ walking around like zombies with no life inside of them because of so much change and chaos at work.  I’ve been there and its tough.  By trying something completely new, you’ll be sending positive signals to yourself and to those around you that you’re the person to go to in times of chaos.  You’ll not only demonstrate an exterior that says, “I’m throwing stuff on the wall” but one that allows you feel like you’re progressing…not sitting there and sulking. Getting out of limbo land and trying something new breathes new life to into a weary soul.  Taking a step forward is rich nourishment that brings with it a potent tonic: momentum.

4. Don’t Believe the Hype. Believe Yourself. 

Don’t over think what others say is going to happen.  They can’t predict the future.  Don’t listen to the hype, the gossip, all the so called facts or anyone else….believe what YOU know to be true.  Don’t over analyze what you think might happen next.  Don’t over think the path you will take next.  You were born with everything that you need to deal with uncertainty at work and make it through the chaos and move forward in life.  It’s called your gut.  Your intuition.  Use it.  Trust it. Trusting yourself when you’re dealing with uncertainty can make you feel like you are in control again.  Because you really are.  You are in control of yourself!

5. Know That Things Do Work Out 

Regardless of what happens during times of uncertainty at work, know that somehow, somewhere down the road, things do work out.  I’ve had colleagues or friends who have lost jobs and somehow – by hook or crook, it has always worked out.  Some have found better jobs – higher paying careers.  Others have moved on to whole new lifestyles where they got out of the rat race altogether and are happier that they were forced to take a hard look at their life.  Some became entrepreneurs and are thrilled.  It didn’t happen over night but it did happen – things did work out.  Realizing that life has an interesting path that you have to uncover is a great way to deal with the uncertainty at work in a positive way.

Do I have a sure fire answer to the question I started with?  The answer is no I don’t.  And that’s because life has never had any guarantees.  But I’ve felt better about it all and the way I think about it has changed dramatically.  And so by minding these simple 5 ways to deal with uncertainty at work, I believe you can start reducing your anxiety and stress and get back to living a life and career full of possibilities.

June 2012   |   5 Ways to Deal with Uncertainty at Work   |   Embrace the Chaos!   |   Bob Miglani


  1. Sam M. says

    This is a fantastic post Bob. It is something that everyone deals with in some way, and provides a path to getting your mind focused and back on the right path. Taking control of ourselves and what we can control, leaving the unknown behind. This has helped me get past some key situations. Thanks.

    • Bob Miglani says

      Thanks, Sam! Really appreciate the kind words. Have to go deep on what you do best…that’s exactly the way!

  2. Charlotte S says

    I just want to second Sam M’s comment. We’re are going through an enormous amount of upheaval at work, our boss is being investigated and my immediate reaction has been to ‘check out’ and walk around like a zombie but I know that’s not helping me or anyone else and just reading your article has brought out a mental shift- I can control myself and my reaction. Thanks again.

    • says

      Thanks for sharing Charlotte. I hear about chaos at work more frequently these days and the impact it has on all of us. With constant change, it’s hard not to get stressed because of this sense of loss of control. And you are absolutely spot on at shifting your mindset to redirect control into ourselves. That’s where certainty begins. Wishing you all the best,


  3. Loulou says

    I’ve recently become unemployed, and the anxiety takes it’s toll.
    Mostly the feelings of “where am I going” and “how will I survive” are playing on my mind.
    I am at a point in my life where I thought I’d be married and have a house and possibly kids. Now it seems everywhere I turn there are set backs. All I need is a break and I’ll get back on track. But it’s just so damn hard to get one!

    • says

      I understand where you are coming from. The pressure we feel when things don’t turn out as we expect can be stressful and keep us up all night.

      In my journey, I have realized is that once I got control of my own mind and shut out worrisome thoughts, I began to feel better. What’s really important to help shut off the overthinking is a specific and clear goal. Having something to move you towards is a powerful way to redirect that energy from the negative, anxiety driven thoughts to positive ones that will be useful towards helping you achieve your goals.

      By taking massive action and getting consumed by your goal, you will be on a path where there is higher likelihood of getting that “lucky break”.

      Remember: accept, don’t overthink and keep moving forward.

      I wish you great success, prosperity and happiness. It might be right around the corner.


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