7 Signs You're Creating Your Own Workplace Stress

Last Updated Jul 3, 2009 7:00 PM EDT

Quick, by a show of hands, how many of you have workplace stress? Almost everybody, great. Now, how much of that stress do you think is self-imposed? What, no hands? Well, I'm not surprised, but you may be in for one.

You see, most people make their own stress. Why do they do it? How should I know? I'm not a shrink. So how do I know it's true? I don't; you tell me if any of these 7 Signs You're Creating Your Own Workplace Stress resonate with you:
  1. Not making enough money? Join the club. Nobody, I mean nobody makes enough money. Work hard, be smart, do great things, learn how to negotiate, and the money will come. That's how it works.
  2. Underappreciated, nobody loves you? Boss treats your co-worker better than you? Did you ever think maybe it's you? Maybe you're always whining. Maybe you treat them like crap. Maybe you never grew up. Who knows?
  3. Your group gets no respect. IT is always getting dumped on. Sales and marketing has it easy. Guess what? The other group probably feels the same way. It's called Silo behavior and it's destructive, period. Grow up.
  4. You have a psycho boss? An abusive self-hating jerk who acts out his childhood drama on poor unsuspecting employees. That sucks, but the unemployment rate is 9.5 percent, so you don't get to pick your boss. Fighting battles you can't win generates stress.
  5. Too much work, too little time. This is usually self-imposed. Are you sure your deadlines are real and not just you feeling self-important, pushing yourself too hard because you haven't got a life outside work? Slow down; what's the worst that can happen?
  6. Peer problems. There's a coworker you just don't get along with and it's really stressful, right? Well, guess what? I'll bet she feels the same way about you. It happens to everybody. Try a little detente. Offer an olive branch. Swallow your pride and give in. It won't kill you.
  7. Executive management doesn't listen or care. Did it ever occur to you that executive managers are people too? They have their own issues and they're not perfect. Some companies are well managed, some are managed by idiots. On the outside chance they're not idiots, did you ever think that maybe, just maybe they know more than you do?
If you think this post oversimplifies things, think again. You may be overcomplicating things.

Try a little experiment: If you experience an issue or two and it changes when you jump companies or groups, then you were probably in a dysfunctional workplace. Welcome to the real world. Don't whine and complain. Don't give in and don't give up. Be optimistic. Continue your search for a passionate, fulfilling job at a great company. You'll find it.

But if it doesn't change, if it's always the same, then it's probably you. You might want to see somebody about that.

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