3 Tough Conversations at Work and How to Survive Them

 In VA Work Tips and Best Practices

The virtual assistance industry doesn’t shield its workers from difficult work conversations. Even when you’re doing online work as part of a virtual staff, you will eventually have to deal with awkward, sometimes terrifying, discussions at work. In fact, since you’re not holding these conversations in person, handling them well can be even more challenging. This can include anything from asking for a raise to telling your client that they’re being unreasonable.

So what do you do when you’re in the midst of these trying times? Ignore the issue and hope it goes away? Be a martyr and deal with the difficulties you’re facing alone? That isn’t healthy at all.


To help you manage these situations like a true professional, you have to face them head on — and read these tips to prepare yourself better. Without further ado, here are two types of tough conversations and how to survive them.


  • Asking for a raise or salary evaluation

Have you been with a client for years and now you feel like you deserve a raise because of your constantly exceptional work? Has your workload been increased? Are you doing more tasks than originally agreed upon when you signed your contract?

If you’re lucky, your client will take notice of these things themselves and offer you a salary increase by their own volition. If not, then you just have to prepare yourself for the “I’d like a raise” talk.

So what’s the best way to handle this? For starters, you have to be logical about it. Before talking to your client, prepare a list of reasons why you deserve a raise. Years of service, quality of work, increased workload, and addenda to your job description are some of the best reasons to angle for a raise.

Once you’ve got your list of rational reasons for a raise, you need to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally. Be ready to accept their decision no matter what it is, and if you ever need to argue, do so without raising your voice or sounding resentful or defensive.


  • Letting your client know that their expectations are unrealistic

If your client has been asking you to finish in an hour something that normally takes three or more hours to do or asking you to do a task that’s way out of the scope of your job description, you need to put your foot down. As much as you want to give the best service and solve as many of your clients problems as possible, there’s a time when you really need to let your client know that their expectations are unrealistic.

To deal with this conversation, you have to really center yourself and put yourself in a positive frame of mind. You can’t approach this conversation when you’re feeling bitter and are filled with indignation. Next, calmly explain to them how long it normally takes to do a particular task. You might have to let them know how you tackle the task step-by-step, why this or that step takes X amount of minutes or hours, and so on. Let them see your workload from your point of view so they will understand why you think that their expectations are unrealistic.

If it’s a case of them asking you to do a task you have no experience in, evaluate whether this is something you can study. If it is, let them know that if they really want you to handle that task, you will need time to skill up. They should be willing to give you the time you need to learn this skill so you can handle the task that’s outside the scope of your original job description.

Don’t be intimidated by the topic of these tough work conversations. By preparing yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally, you can definitely handle everything with ease. Good luck!

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