Quote of the Day: Stress

 

I have been under an increasing amount of stress and pressure at work for the past six months. I’ve never dealt with stress very well and this time has been no different. It’s not helped by the wonky blood sugar issues I’ve been experiencing or the latest round of flu that I feel coming on thanks to co-workers who couldn’t be bothered to stay away from the office when sick.

I’ve learned over the past week, however, that I need to realign my perspective of my ever-growing to-do list and the constant interruptions I get while working in the office. I need to change how I react to it. I’m normally very good at my reactions to bad stuff, but work-related stress is something I’ve never tackled before.

I need to care less.

I can no longer let my stress define me. I am not a victim of my bottomless pit of work stuff that needs to be done. I am not responsible for doing the work of three people because we’re short-staffed. I do not need to stay caught up. I do not need to take on extra projects. I will not continue taking my work home with me in the form of tears and health problems. I will find healthier ways to react to work stress.

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  1. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    The willingness to say “no” is a powerful thing.

    • #1
  2. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    For the interruptions, may I suggest shooting rubberbands at the interrupters?

    • #2
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    At one time my husband worked for a small company, where the owner repeatedly created fire drills–hurry up everyone, we have to get ** out the door! Mind you, he knew the deadline way beforehand; he just liked fire drills. Jerry warned him that he wasn’t going to dig him out of the next fire drill. Sure enough, Jerry said you’re on your own. And that was that.

    Yes, Jerry was in upper management; he wasn’t going to get fired over this incident. But there were many fewer fire drills after that.

    See @songwriter‘s comment #1.

    • #3
  4. Vectorman Inactive
    Vectorman
    @Vectorman

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    At one time my husband worked for a small company, where the owner repeatedly created fire drills–hurry up everyone, we have to get ** out the door! Mind you, he knew the deadline way beforehand; he just liked fire drills.

    Like your husband, been there, done that.

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.


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    • #4
  5. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    J.D. Snapp, All Out of Gum: I can no longer let my stress define me. I am not a victim of my bottomless pit of work stuff that needs done. I am not responsible for doing the work of three people because we’re short-staffed. I do not need to stay caught up. I do not need to take on extra projects. I will not continue taking my work home with me in the form of tears and health problems. I will find healthier ways to react to work stress.

    I read a phenomenal book about how to deal with workplace stress: Derek Roger’s Work Without Stress.  Roger was an emergency room doctor before he took up studying stress. His coauthor Nick Petrie has an inspiring personal story to tell about surviving cancer.

    One thing I got out of the book is to breath deeply and count to seven. It gives your emotional brain a chance to quiet down and your reasoning brain a chance to get into gear.

    I’m sorry you’ve been dealing with all this. It’s trying, for sure. My husband used to say to me, “Listen, first of all, what’s the worst that can happen? And second, tomorrow will be a brand-new day. Don’t worry about it.” It always helped. :)

    • #5
  6. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    J.D. Snapp, All Out of Gum: I am not responsible for doing the work of three people because we’re short-staffed.

    It can be hard to not worry about things that aren’t your fault.  You still want to fix them, even if others don’t care.  I hope you find a way to make it work, JD.

    • #6
  7. Pony Convertible Inactive
    Pony Convertible
    @PonyConvertible

    When things get stressful, I take a moment to step back and consider what is the worst case scenario if I fail at, or come up short with, what I am doing.  In most cases the answer is, I get fired.  I decided long ago that I can live with that. Therefore there isn’t any stress. Then I proceed to do my best and let the chips fall where they may.  BTW, I’ve never been fired.  Doing my best seems to work out well.

    I suppose if I were a surgeon, and had someone’s life in my hands this wouldn’t work, but in most situations the worst outcome isn’t really tragic. Realizing that removes the stress.

    • #7
  8. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring
    @WillowSpring

    Good luck – been there and done that.  I used to work with a software engineer who came from Viet Nam in the final days of the war.  When things got tense, he would sometimes say – “It can’t be that bad, I don’t hear any helicopters coming”

    • #8
  9. J.D. Snapp, All Out of Gum Coolidge
    J.D. Snapp, All Out of Gum
    @JulieSnapp

    I’m definitely not worried about getting fired. I have about as much job security as one can expect these days. I’ve also been in the field about 8 years at this point, so I’d be able to get another job easily. I’ve only been fired once, about 10 years ago, from a park where I worked the gift shop. It was definitely not the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.

    • #9
  10. Rick Poach Inactive
    Rick Poach
    @RickPoach

    “Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.”

    And just what the *#&$ do you mean by that?!?!

    • #10
  11. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    I got out of project management specifically because I hated the stress.  Well, that and I got fired.  The job I have now, estimator, is a perfect fit for me, and low-stress to boot.  There are a manageable number of variables.

    • #11
  12. Al French Moderator
    Al French
    @AlFrench

    Just don’t let the stress interfere with your more important job as moderator.

    • #12
  13. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    I don’t think you need to care less.  What you need to do is find comfort in your faith to be the primary focus of your life.  From the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 11.

    28 “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.  29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.  30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

    • #13
  14. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Arahant (View Comment):
    For the interruptions, may I suggest shooting rubberbands at the interrupters?

    @arahant In my experience, the interrupters are all too often the boss.

    • #14
  15. Hypatia Inactive
    Hypatia
    @Hypatia

    Good luck!

    Who pointed out that we can control whether or not we act on our desires, but we can’t help wanting what we do want..? 

    • #15
  16. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):
    For the interruptions, may I suggest shooting rubberbands at the interrupters?

    @arahant In my experience, the interrupters are all too often the boss.

    And?

    • #16
  17. Kay of MT Member
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    Stop the sugar! It is hard to get use to, but now I drink my coffee and tea without a sweetener. I don’t drink sodas as sugar substitutes are really bad for you. I don’t eat sugar loaded foods. Approx 2.5 hours after ingesting sugar my blood sugar levels drop to the point that I have passed out as I am a reactive hypoglycemic. If I do eat something, like huckleberry pie, will eat it late in the evening then go to bed and sleep off the sugar jag. I speak from experience.

    Your stress will be under your control, you will sleep better, and see if you can find someone to refer to your boss as a new worker. I don’t remember what kind of work you do, but jobs are increasing and they are huuuuuuge. Ask your boss if they are giving out bonuses since they seem to be not using tax savings to hire needed employees./s

     

    • #17
  18. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Julie, I am in the exact same position now.  We have a new slave-driver boss, who is making his senior people into glorified clerks, and actually making us responsible for things over which we have no control.  We have a meeting every day to speak to our “charts” which show how many orders are “past due to release”, and mostly consist of orders entered inside of the lead time of our parts.  Yesterday, when I ran my weekly releases, out of 60 new items, at least 10 were “past due” when they showed up; the boss and his minion get very upset and make meetings with us so we can explain!  Many of us have also been assigned another person’s job, so that person can work on a special project.  We had no say in this matter.  Our lives will be made a living hell from here on out.  Sigh, and thanks for the post.

    • #18
  19. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    The movie Office Space was on the other night – so funny!  Maybe watch it for tips….

     

    • #19
  20. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Speaking of living hell, from now on every e-mail we send, every file we save or print, has to be “categorized” as to sensitivity.  If something is categorized as “sensitive”, the nagging program (called Titus!) prompts you with “send by secure method”, of which there is none.  Send Anyway gets a lot of use.

    • #20
  21. J.D. Snapp, All Out of Gum Coolidge
    J.D. Snapp, All Out of Gum
    @JulieSnapp

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):
    For the interruptions, may I suggest shooting rubberbands at the interrupters?

    @arahant In my experience, the interrupters are all too often the boss.

    That’s definitely not the case here. :)

    • #21
  22. J.D. Snapp, All Out of Gum Coolidge
    J.D. Snapp, All Out of Gum
    @JulieSnapp

    Kay of MT (View Comment):
    Stop the sugar! It is hard to get use to, but now I drink my coffee and tea without a sweetener. I don’t drink sodas as sugar substitutes are really bad for you. I don’t eat sugar loaded foods. Approx 2.5 hours after ingesting sugar my blood sugar levels drop to the point that I have passed out as I am a reactive hypoglycemic. If I do eat something, like huckleberry pie, will eat it late in the evening then go to bed and sleep off the sugar jag. I speak from experience.

    Your stress will be under your control, you will sleep better, and see if you can find someone to refer to your boss as a new worker. I don’t remember what kind of work you do, but jobs are increasing and they are huuuuuuge. Ask your boss if they are giving out bonuses since they seem to be not using tax savings to hire needed employees./s

    I’ve had to stop the sugar because it messes with me too bad. I’m trying to eat like I have diabetes now because if it’s not already here, it’s coming fast. Basically everyone on my mom’s side has it already.

    • #22
  23. J.D. Snapp, All Out of Gum Coolidge
    J.D. Snapp, All Out of Gum
    @JulieSnapp

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):
    Julie, I am in the exact same position now. We have a new slave-driver boss, who is making his senior people into glorified clerks, and actually making us responsible for things over which we have no control. We have a meeting every day to speak to our “charts” which show how many orders are “past due to release”, and mostly consist of orders entered inside of the lead time of our parts. Yesterday, when I ran my weekly releases, out of 60 new items, at least 10 were “past due” when they showed up; the boss and his minion get very upset and make meetings with us so we can explain! Many of us have also been assigned another person’s job, so that person can work on a special project. We had no say in this matter. Our lives will be made a living hell from here on out. Sigh, and thanks for the post.

    I’m lucky in that I get to do what I enjoy doing: software engineering. It’s just that I finish one thing and 3 more crop up, and everyone wants to know why their stuff isn’t my top priority. On the bright side, I got to explain what’s going on to my manager and he said that he’s going to put a stop to people coming to interrupt me. I don’t know if he will succeed, but that at least made me feel much better!

    • #23
  24. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):
    the nagging program (called Titus!)

    Heh, heh. @titustechera.

     

    • #24
  25. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):
    For the interruptions, may I suggest shooting rubberbands at the interrupters?

    Arahant, in my experience, the interrupters are all too often the boss.

    And?

    Exactly. One year I bought some rubberband pistols that could be loaded with seven rubberbands each, and were semi-automatic from there. I figured I would bring them in to work for one day and one day only. I happened to have an office with a door at that time, and that very day my boss came to my office, “Hey, can I talk with you?” “Sure, boss.” He closed the door and I whipped out the rubberband guns and gave him a full load from both pistols as he turned around to face me.

    He said, “Well, I was here to tell you about your raise, but…”

    Good thing he had a sense of humor, and I loaded them up and let him have his chance at me.

    • #25
  26. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera
    @TitusTechera

    Arahant (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):
    the nagging program (called Titus!)

    Heh, heh. titustechera.

    Yes, please change the program’s name to Charles-

    • #26
  27. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):
    For the interruptions, may I suggest shooting rubberbands at the interrupters?

    Arahant, in my experience, the interrupters are all too often the boss.

    And?

    Exactly. One year I bought some rubberband pistols that could be loaded with seven rubberbands each, and were semi-automatic from there. I figured I would bring them in to work for one day and one day only. I happened to have an office with a door at that time, and that very day my boss came to my office, “Hey, can I talk with you?” “Sure, boss.” He closed the door and I whipped out the rubberband guns and gave him a full load from both pistols as he turned around to face me.

    He said, “Well, I was here to tell you about your raise, but…”

    Good thing he had a sense of humor, and I loaded them up and let him have his chance at me.

    There are still dents in the sheetrock from the airsoft battles they used to have in the office.  Before my time, though.

    • #27
  28. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    J.D. Snapp, All Out of Gum (View Comment):
    I’m lucky in that I get to do what I enjoy doing: software engineering. It’s just that I finish one thing and 3 more crop up, and everyone wants to know why their stuff isn’t my top priority. On the bright side, I got to explain what’s going on to my manager and he said that he’s going to put a stop to people coming to interrupt me. I don’t know if he will succeed, but that at least made me feel much better!

    I always complained about the interrupters, as most of my working life was interrupt-driven. But if they hadn’t been there, life would have been boring. I would have missed them. Don’t know if I could have handled such an orderly existence.

    • #28

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