Work Related Stress
It was a camel-back-breaking kind of week. Two stories
surfaced so far illustrating that the stress-factor in the work
place is super high right now. The first story I have to credit
Daniel Pink for uncovering. (Even if it turns out that the story is
a hoax its a great parable).
The essence of the story is about a woman who overheard her
boss refer to her using a derogatory slur. She decided at that point
that this was no longer the place where she wanted to be employed.
So she tells her boss, and everyone else on company email, that she
is quitting. And she uses a series of pics of messages on a
dry-eraser white board in slide show fashion to totally bust her
boss for not only the name calling but also all the wasteful ways
the boss spends his time. Because she had the password to his
computer as his assistant, she was able to track exactly how much
time he was spending "playing" on Facebook. It is hysterical. I
have a new level of understanding about passive-aggressive now.
And then there is Steven Slater, the Jet Blue flight
attendant. It's stuff like this that serves as an incubator for new
verbalizations. My guess is the term "Going Slater" will soon be up
there with "Going Postal." Rude passengers everywhere are now on
their best behavior because they don't want to get "Slaterized."
The real tragedy in all this is how many people are
vicariously living through these two individuals because of the
amount of pent up anxiety and stress at work. The Labor Department
just released a report indicating that productivity in non-farm
related work fell by .9% in the second quarter. Yet, unemployment
remains above 9% indicating that workers have finally reached that
point of diminishing return. In other words, they were willing to
do the work of two for a period of time but it is not sustainable
for the long haul.
This is where being more motivated is really not going to
help. Paying people more money might make it more tolerable
but again, meeting the demand is really not sustainable. So I'd
like to offer some suggestions on dealing with the high stress
factor at work and as always, welcome yours.
Pull the line of
offense way back:
Having grown up with two brothers, this was always a favorite game
to see who was in control. Cross this line and.... We all have
mental lines of offense we bring to work. In Slater's case, the
passenger owed him an apology for bumping him on the head with his
luggage. I am not suggesting that you just let people "run all over
you." I am suggesting that we can all yield a little more than we do
when it comes to being offended.
Play the role of a
Explosive situations never start at the point of impact. When you
see a conflict emerging, take the lead at diffusing it. In the case
with Jenny who resigned via email and white board, the situation
begs the question, why did not someone in the inner circle of
leadership call this guy out? It's almost like watching a group of
high schoolers not wanting to be thought of as the dork for being
the one to speak out in defense of this lady
Work is not your
Please don't miss this principle. Work is a very important part of
our lives but it does not define us in our entirety. You are part
of a much bigger canvas than you might think. Maybe it will be in
the crucible of the pressure of where you are that prepares you for
something bigger. Perhaps it will take this kind of stress to help
you see that your family is more important than any job. Ask
yourself, am I allowing the stress to make me a better person or
just a grouchy, irritable person? How you see your life relative to
the bigger picture will help you make the right decision at this
point. If it's all about "work" then the stress will no doubt suck
the life out of you.
Practicing these principles will not lesson the demands of work.
Practicing these principles makes you better at dealing with the
demands of work.
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