Highly Sensitive Person In The Workplace

 It is a sad truth that the world of work does not understand highly sensitive people. But as they represent 15 to 20 percent of the population, highly sensitive people (HSPs) are not rare. In fact, almost every workplace will have at least one.

Yet very few work environments are set up to help HSPs thrive or even do their best work. For many HSPs, their job is a constant source of stress and anxiety.

If you are a highly sensitive person , chances are, you have encountered these seven problems at work. But, never fear, as there are some tried and tested techniques to help you deal with them.
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7 Workplace Problems That A Highly Sensitive Person Would Understand


1. Your coworker gets into wearing perfume or cologne, and it bothers you all day. . . But you don’t have the heart to tell him.

It is not that she or he is using too much. It is just that as a highly sensitive person, you also notice subtle smells. 

  When the smell is persistent and significant, especially if you’re stuck in one place, it can give you a headache or other physical reactions.
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Tip: Dutiful and thoughtful, many HSPs are accustomed to furthering the needs of other people over their own and don’t want to burden others with their seemingly “picky” requests. But you should not stay silent. If it only happens once or twice, then it may be okay to let it go. 

  But if it is interfering with your work, then you are allowed to speak up. Try something like, “Your perfume or cologne is nice, but I am particularly sensitive to scents. 

  When I have someone near me wearing perfume or cologne, it gives me a headache and makes it difficult to work. Could you not wear your scent in the office? “A reasonable person would understand. If you need to talk to your manager, stick to the facts and ask to be placed in a different workspace.

2. You are surrounded by very bright fluorescent lights.

At best, fluorescent tube lights are blindingly shiny and bright. In many cases, they also flicker, which can be distracting or even upsetting for HSPs.

Tip: Unfortunately, you probably won’t get your employer to switch to different lighting – it’s expensive. You may be able to adjust the atmosphere. I once brought in an old-fashioned desk lamp that worked for my cubicle space, and that “normal” light did a lot to improve my sense of the workspace. 

  You could change the bulb in your area, bring something to mute or change the light, or move to a space with natural lighting.


3. You pick up the feelings and states of those around you throughout the day.

“Very sensitive person” is not synonymous with “empath”, but it is close. HSPs have a high degree of empathy , show more activity in the brain regions associated with mirror neurons, and are keenly aware of the mental state of the people around them, even total strangers (you may find more info about the highly sensitive brain here). Many identify as empaths.

During work hours, this sensitivity leaves you open to the feelings, moods, and tensions of those around you. Usually, there are many people, often people you do not know well, and those people are under a lot of stress from their workload.

  As an HSP, you can absorb those emotions and receive a “flood” that not only derails your workday, but can also follow your home.

Tip: Take a break to plan a little daily rituals before and after work to feel a little better. But for empaths and HSPs, one of the most powerful things to do is to learn to control how they absorb emotions. This does not mean “to put it off” or to reject this gift.

  Rather, it means prioritizing one’s own physical and emotional needs, which makes them strong. Practice some simple self-talk and identify which Feelings are not yours (learn more about how to stop absorbing the unwanted feelings here).

4. You feel constant pressure to move forward.

Does your boss ever give you a huge task and tells you that they need it today? Or do they fail to plan projects and then put their employees through a continuous series of drills that must be completed?

These days, especially in the US, overworking is a chronic issue and results in distressing deadlines and worry for all. But it doesn’t hit anyone harder than an HSP.

This is because a HSP processes information very deeply. They take in more details and put more cognitive functions (so to speak) into each task . If you are highly sensitive, you do your best work slowly and deliberately when you have plenty of time to think things through.

Tip: You cannot control your boss’ deadlines or work habits, at least, not directly. However, you can clearly state what you need to do a task. For example, “You asked for A for tomorrow, but you also asked for B. We have enough time to do one thing in that time, but not both. Which has the highest priority? “And if things are busy because a boss is not organized, you can start each week by creating your own action plan and sending it to them.


5. Your “soft skills” do not get the credit they merit.

HSPs have a large set of skills that improve the workplace. They listen well, prioritize the needs of team members, pay attention to details, and perform tasks carefully, so that they are correct. They are generally easy to be around and warm to their peers. Each of these skills directly contributes to the team accomplishing the goals.

But bosses don’t always acknowledge this. They often hire and promote on the basis of “hard” skills, even if it means messing up the office in charge of an assignment (and derailing everyone’s efforts). When performance reviews come, they cannot factor in your team-oriented skillset.

Tip: The only way to get a skill recognized at work is to speak up. It can be as simple as making sure your manager knows what you have done (“It seemed like people didn’t have a clear plan for how we would complete the project on time. 

  I gave us a checklist, so that we all were on the same page “). Or it might involve telling your manager the important contributions soft skills make (“I know the so-and-so team is the lead, and I’m following their instructions, but the way they are doing it is beginning to ruffle some feathers. I think it’s starting to affect the team’s work. How should we handle it? “).

Clear, direct problem-solving gets a lot of respect at work, even (especially) if it is for “people’s” problems. Also, if you are taking extra tasks and not getting any credit. . . Stop. The HSP should not be the one who manages everyone’s mood or plans every office holiday party.

6. Negative feedback hits you hard

Highly sensitive people have strong emotional reactions to criticism. HSPs try to put the needs of others first and generally want to make people happy. When they are told that they have done something wrong (even a professional context), it can be like an arrow to their (very tender) heart.

 Tip: You know that you have to process your feelings before focusing on implementing feedback. Does your boss know? If you are going through a rough performance review or receiving unexpected criticism, practice these words: “I react sharply to criticism.

 This does not mean that I disagree, just that I need time to process it. I know how I can take apply it going forward, because I want to improve. “If possible, ask for some time after the meeting process, and then promise to follow up.

7. There seems to be no greater meaning behind your work.

As a highly sensitive person, you do not go to work just to earn a salary. (I mean, you do, we all do but still) You’re happiest when you know that your work is contributing to something bigger, when you’re able to do something meaningful that helps others.

Unfortunately, many jobs do not actually provide this. Most involve repetitive tasks that maximize productivity. It can quickly kill a soul. Living without meaning is probably the worst fate that a HSP can imagine.

Tip: Look for new tasks at work. Learning is almost always meaningful and engaging, even if it is for work. This is why the first few months on the job are often the most satisfying. If work has become meaningless, look for new or different tasks, even if it is in addition to your normal work.

Do meaningful things on your own time. It is possible that your passion will not easily align with a job, but you can gain meaning after work and by pursuing it on weekends. (This worked for me and inspired a writing career!).

  Update your resume regularly. Sure, it seems like it’s about money, but every time you brush up your resume, you get to see the everything that you’ve accomplished. You put into words all these things, and they contribute to the big picture of quality, productivity, or profit, which often helps to create a sense of meaning and pride. Finally, it can also help you land a better job.

Also, look after people. For HSPs, people are the main thing on their radars. If you can build meaningful relationships with colleagues, you will find it often provides a much deeper meaning, even on a monotonous job.

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