Corporate Stress and Energy Vampires

If you answer "yes" to any of the following three questions, this article is for you. If your answers were all "no" don’t bother. You don't have enough pain and, at this time, you're among the few fortunate ones.

· Do you dread going to work, especially on Monday, and find little or no satisfaction in what you do?
· Do you worry about losing your job or not getting the pay raise or recognition you feel you deserve?
· Do you work with people who might be described as "difficult?"

If you're still with me, let's take each of the three questions and see if we can come up with some helpful hints that could make your life happier, healthier and more fulfilling.

If you dread going to your job, write down exactly what it is that turns you off. Is it the traveling to and from work, a task or specific tasks, the salary, the type of work or the managers or co-workers? Or possibly is it just you?

Sometimes it's others who make our life difficult and sometimes it’s us.

In order to fix something, first you have to identify whatever is wrong and be as honest as you can about it. If you are the problem, you may not want to admit it. So ask a friend or family member whom you know will be honest and ask if you might be the problem. Listen to what he or she has to say.

Energy Vampires

If the problem isn't you and you work with some folks who make your life miserable, I’m going to tell you a secret:

They're usually not happy campers and enjoy wreaking havoc because it gives them a sense of power and control. These folks should dress up on Halloween because they are what I call energy vampires. If you’re interested in some real specifics for dealing with the vampires, Robert M. Bramson, Ph.D., in his book "Coping with Difficult People," identifies seven different types: hostile aggressives, complainers, the silent unresponsive, super agreeables, the always negative, know it all experts and stallers. I've successfully used his techniques many times.

An example of one of the energy sucking types, hostile aggressives, will give you an idea of how his system works. The hostile aggressive group includes three distinct types: Exploders, Sherman Tanks and Snipers. The Exploders pound the tale and scare folks with their outbursts. The Sherman Tanks just roll right over you and make like whatever you say doesn’t matter. The Snipers act friendly to your face and talk about you behind your back.

For the Exploders and Tanks, you can loudly say, "Stop!" Wait a second or two and if they keep going, say it again, "Stop!" Or, if you choose, you can let them do their thing and then calmly say why you disagree and why. With Snipers, you have to confront them and tell them what you heard they said about you. They're going to deny it because they're usually cowards, but they’ll think twice about doing it again.

For me, the universal antidote for the really crazy ones, those for whom nothing seems to work, is to disconnect by avoiding them as often as you can. If you can't avoid them, make sure you say what you think needs to be said in a calm and direct manner. Regardless of how they respond, stay happy and professional after you stick up for yourself. Kindness is the silver bullet that they dread because it showers sunlight on their darkness and takes away their energy!

About the author: Andy McCabe, Psy.D., graduated from the Rutgers School of Applied and Professional Psychology. He is a life coach and has presented programs on stress management to educational, health, law enforcement and corporate groups, as well as for the United States Navy. He is the author of a 2011 guide for personal and world transformation titled, "The Gifted One: The Journey Begins." McCabe can be reached at his web site or at 201-401-4227.

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