Work Well Under Pressure?

Do you work well under pressure?

This feels like it should be a yes/no answer but the context of any pressure is important. How I handle the situation depends on whether or not its a moral dilemma.  Moral dilemmas pose a threat to my sense of social justice especially if people who are marginalised are not getting a fair go.  In those circumstances I reach a point where I have to take a step back and reassess how effective my actions are.  Although I try to detach from the problem to date my success rate has been pretty pathetic.

I do not work well when pressured by a sense of powerlessness in the face of bureaucracy particularly where the pressure being applied is unreasonable or irrational.  If there is an expectation for me to make up time lost because someone else has procrastinated over his or her part of the task, I can tend towards ambivalence which probably has to be regarded as not working well under pressure imposed by someone else.

On the other hand if the pressure is not morally driven, say a project deadline, I find the pace invigorating and motivating.  I’m able to work to a timeline, tick the tasks off the list, consolidate the work to date and prepare for the next step.  Being well organised and having the ability to plan a logical progression of events energises me and also reduces the likelihood of my being affected negatively by any external pressure that may be directed at the project.   I like to know how my part of the project fits into the bigger picture; it give focus to my work.  By cutting the task into smaller chunks I can reduce the stress of having to look at the whole project and be overwhelmed by its enormity.  Each task has a separate timeframe and as those markers are achieved the pressure reduces and I can start to taste the tantalising tingle of success.

Most of us are motivated by success and pulling through the other side of the pressure tunnel is stimulating.  How well do you manage pressure?


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