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. Most people make their own stress. Do any of these signs 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) Nobody loves you? Boss treats your coworker better? Did you ever think it’s you? Maybe you’re always whining. 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.
4) You have a psycho boss? That sucks, but unemployment is at 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. Are your deadlines real and not just you feeling self-important, pushing yourself too hard because you haven’t got a life?
6) 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?
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. 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.