Emotionally Unstrung: Learning the Art of Relational Maneuvering

20thingsFor most people, earning a living is not an option; it’s a requirement. Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster in Working with You Is Killing Me

Before the morning alarm goes off more men and women than not are already lying in bed drifting somewhere in that twilight state between blissful slumber and being fully awake, unknowingly dreading the next eight to twelve hours of their day. These individuals are generally hard-working, responsible souls who want to give it their all.

They long to see their vocational goals (both singly and corporate) achieved and have committed themselves to following through on their assignments (the short and long-term). Still, they frequently feel overwhelmed, overlooked, or just plain fed-up. Any prospects of finding inner-satisfaction, fulfillment, and purpose at the workplace have been greatly reduced or died out.

What used to be a generally accepted workplace mindset that didn’t demand much more than gratefully bringing home a weekly paycheck in exchange for the 9 to 5 daily grind…has shifted significantly. Adults have now come to demand a higher level of personal satisfaction for the work they are paid to do. While everyone desires this ideal end, few ever realize it. And according to authors, Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster, today’s workers are themselves, in part, to blame.

Every workplace environment has its unique forces in the form of people make-up. How individuals recognize, identify, and then learn to handle these often-tricky personal exchanges is key to long haul workplace harmony. In their book, Working with You Is Killing Me, the authors suggest regular self-checks that can bring to light common emotional/mental/physical stressors. A few of the most telling warning signs that a person is being negatively impacted on the job include feelings of anger, fear, and panic, or a lack of concentration. More obvious are telltale physical indicators such as clenched teeth, neck and head pain, and shortness of breath.

So what is a troubled worker to do? Crowley and Elster suggest the four-step plan below that works (with practice) no matter how emotionally charged a situation becomes.

· Step 1 – Unhook physically. This might mean removing oneself from the environment and taking a quick walk or begin deep breathing techniques until an inner-calmness returns.
· Step 2 – Unhook mentally. Involves separating the emotional from the rational by stepping back and doing some fact gathering.
· Step 3 – Unhook verbally. Deliberate, focused speaking that encourages problem solving.
· Step 4 – Unhook with a business tool. Includes making full use of company rules such as written job descriptions and performance standards/reviews.


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