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, but you may be in for a shock.
You see, most people make their own stress. Why do they do it? How should I know? I'm not a shrink. I'm just here to tell you that a lot of it is self-imposed.
How do I know that? Well, I've been around the block a few times. I've watched the way employees, managers, and executives behave in companies big and small. After a few decades, you experience the same things over and over and, well, let's just say it's not rocket science.
That said, here are 10 ways you may be inflicting stress upon yourself and what you can do about it.
Compensation. 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. What, you don't like that answer? Tough, that's how it works.
Unappreciated. Nobody loves you? Boss treats your co-worker better than you? Did you ever think maybe it's you? Maybe you're always whining. Maybe you never grew up. Who knows? Change groups, change companies; if the same thing happens, it's you. See a shrink. If not, problem solved.
Silos. Your group gets no respect. IT is always getting dumped on. Sales and marketing has it easy. I've got news for you--the grass is always greener. Silo behavior is destructive, period. Don't believe me? Fine, then jump ship. See for yourself.
Psycho boss. What, your boss is an abusive self-hating jerk? You've tried everything but nothing works? Well, lots of bosses are dysfunctional nuts who act out their childhood dramas on poor unsuspecting employees. Life is too short. Quit and go somewhere else.
Company performance. So, you work for a crappy company that's getting its butt kicked by the competition. First, be sure this isn't a grass-is-greener thing. If it's really true, then don't beat your head against the wall. Go work for the competitor. Not so easy? Sorry, but none of the best things in life are.
Too much work, too little time. Most of the time, this is self-imposed. Are you sure your deadlines are real and not just you feeling self-important or maybe pushing yourself too hard? Bottom line: no group or company is successful pushing its employees too hard. If you happen to work at a place that doesn't get that, then it's time for a change.
Peer relationships.There's this guy you just don't get along with and it's really stressful, right? Well, guess what? I'll bet he or she feels the same way about you. It happens to everybody. Try a little detente. Offer an olive branch. Swallow your pride and give in. It won't kill you.
Responsibility with no authority. There are jobs--product marketing, for example--where you have a great deal of responsibility but few direct employees or resources. You have to manage by influencing people. If you're good at it, congrats--you're a leader of men and you'll do well out there. If not, better find another job.
Budget. For some reason, you or your group just isn't getting the budget you need to do the job right. Well, that's your opinion, but management has an opinion too, and they win. Make do with what you have; it'll be fine. The pay's the same. This is one you just have to learn to let go. It comes with maturity.
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 selfish zealots, and there's everything in between. That's what's great about America; you can always quit and go somewhere else.
If you experience an issue or two and it changes when you jump companies or groups, then welcome to the real world. That's just the way it is. Don't whine and complain. Don't give in and don't give up. Be optimistic. Continue your search for a passionate, fulfilling job at a great company. You'll find it.
If you think this post is oversimplified, you're wrong. The truth is that you're overcomplicating things. If you experience a few of these issues, you've tried switching jobs or companies, and it's always the same, then it's probably you. It wouldn't kill you to see someone about that.