Steven Slater and workplace stress
To his admirers, Steven "take this job and shove it" Slater is a modern-day hero, an everyman who channeled the collective frustration of working people everywhere and did something decisive about it.
But not all of us are in a position to abruptly exit our jobs via emergency chute, beer in hand.
Are there other, perhaps better, ways to handle workplace stress?
I asked Robert Hogan, Ph.D., the Tulsa-based expert in personality testing and president of Hogan Assessment Systems, to whom I was referred by the American Psychological Association. I got some unexpected answers.
Not a man to mince words, Hogan told me that Slater's blazing act of defiance was less a matter of dealing with workplace stress than a publicity stunt. According to Hogan, Slater is what's known as a "high colorful," a personality who "loved being the center of attention."
So how should the less colorful among us deal with workplace stress? Short of punching your boss in the nose, are there positive ways to deal?
For those who need our jobs, it seems, options are limited.
"Here's a really big-picture tip," Hogan says. "Shut up and bear it. People who try to stick up for themselves always lose."
"The trick is to say, 'I can learn something from this,'" Hogan says. Tell yourself that if you ever become the person in charge, you won't treat others the way you've been treated."
Aside from that, Hogan advises, try to avoid such stress in the first place by finding a job -- and a work culture -- that fit your personality. Also, he says, "It's good to have somebody to talk to" about your workplace woes.
Most of all, Hogan says, "You have to control what's in your head. If you focus on how angry you are, you're done. Tell yourself, 'I've got to be an adult and do my job.' Don't let irritation or anger control your thought process. Just distract yourself. That's what counting to ten is all about."
Jennifer LaRue Huget
August 12, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Stress , Workplace health
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