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“Our jobs are killing us!”
If you have worried about whether your job is killing you, I want you to do something right now. I want you to admit that you are not competent to do everything your job entails in the time it is required. And I want you to say it out loud (perhaps out of anyone else’s hearing range). This is a presumptuous thing for me to request, but let’s see if I can justify my position so that I am not banished from writing this column.
The first step in getting better is to admit to the root reality of the true problem. The reality is our jobs have become so demanding and complex that even if we had superhuman powers we would not be able to satisfy everyone all of the time. We likely fail in some way every single week (a multitude of times) or maybe even every single day (at least once). When you can admit this, you will likely experience a brief moment in which you feel less stressed; your body and muscles relax, and your pulse slows. This is very healthy.
Let’s take this further. Imagine if you could admit you aren’t perfect to your boss and coworkers in an environment where everyone understands, supports you, and has your back? Would this be better for you? Is this the way your work environment is today? These are rhetorical, because we would all want this. Let’s go deeper and see how you behave. How do you contribute to a positive, healthy work environment? For example, what do you say and how do you act toward a subordinate when you discover they have made a mistake? How often do you talk badly about someone behind his back? These are vitally important questions, because what you are doing and how others are behaving may not only be sapping your company of productivity and performance, but be killing you too. As I said in my DAM books, “work is social, our behaviors lead results, and our behaviors are governed by our thinking.”
Read the full column here.
Editor's Note: This column originally appeared in the April 2014 issue of The PCB Magazine.