Work is where we spend half of our waking hours, and it's responsible for a large part of our self-esteem.

When you are stressed out at work, it's important to deal with it as soon as you can. Here are some common stress-inducing situations and how to handle them.

* You feel powerless. The National Academy of Sciences says jobs with little decision-making power can result in stress.

* Learn to speak up. Psychologists at Stress Directions in Boston say you should get clear directions on how much authority you have in order to do the job.

* Recognize that you have some control. Determine what you have power over and work to increase those areas. Remember that you have control of your life outside of work.

Too much work, too little time. Having more to do than you can accomplish in a normal work day means you spend less time with friends and family. You may not exercise or plan a healthy diet. Here's what to do:

* Talk to the managers. They know that exhausted employees get less done and make more mistakes.

* Get them to help you set priorities. Ask which tasks you should give up in order to handle a new responsibility.

* Root out busywork. Delegate tasks that someone else could do. Manage time so you work on the most important things first.

* Fear of the pink slip. It would create money problems and decrease self-esteem.

* Stay healthy in uncertain times. Exercise and stay strong so you can do well.

* Accept the challenge. Those who are optimistic and in control of their lives do best in difficult times.

* Know that you are a valuable worker. Do your best work now, but know that you can handle whatever the future holds.