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The Stress Doc Letter
Cybernotes from the Online Psychohumorist ™

JAN 2006, Sec. I

Fight when you can
Take flight when you must
Flow like a dream
In the Phoenix we trust!

Table of Contents

Section I

Work Q & A:
    Democratizing an Inequitable Work Distribution/Delegation System
         Request for Permission from India, Two Little Old ladies, NEW DRUGS 
                       FOR WOMEN, Quotes about Being Jewish
Heads Up:       WMATA, Estrin Legal Education

Section II 

Shrink Rap:   
12 Tips for Beating Mostly Moderate Clinical Depression
Main Essay:
    Sea of Tranquility:  Dealing with Employee Arrogance & Jealousy
Offerings:       Phone Consultation/Coaching, Training/Marketing Kit and Books

Overview:  Sec. I

1)  Work Q & A:   Written for WorkforceOnline.com, the Stress Doc provides team building steps and strategies for reversing a work distribution pattern that has senior employees unfairly delegating work to their juniors...and the stress is building.

Overview:  Sec. II

1)  Shrink Rap:  A Stress Doc classic:  steps for overcoming denial and shame ("You're just a sad person"), recognizing the subtle and paradoxical aspects of depression, and grappling with therapeutic options, including assessing the appropriateness of biochemistry and psychotherapy.

2)  Main Essay:  Written for DAYSPA Magazine (the industry standard), the Stress Doc tackles the effects on colleagues and on workplace ambiance of a knowledgeable and perhaps "arrogant" new employee.  Intervention steps include coaching, preliminary interviewing, conflict mediation and team problem-solving.

Work Q & A

[This Q & A was written for WorkforceOnline.com]

Democratizing An Inequitable Work Distribution/Delegation System

Q.  We have a major problem that is causing undue stress in our workplace.  It seems our senior employees are passing off more work to their juniors, rather than making an effort to share the work.  We're concerned that if junior employees spend the first few years of their company life continuously stressed out and overworked, that they will in turn treat their juniors with the same indifference and laziness.  How did we miss this signal?  More important, does it mean we need to redesign jobs/duties to alleviate stress?  Please help.

A.  Don't run through a red light just because earlier you missed a signal.  You are right to be concerned about the effects of workload inequity on new staff.  In fact, without some intervention a portion of these juniors won't be around to fill their "indifferent and lazy" clone-like destiny.  They will burnout and dropout way before.  (Makes me wonder if some of your seniors' actions aren't a defense against prior burnout, or maybe they are still smoldering with stress.  And, of course, don't buy the notion that the seniors were just trying to "toughen up" their apprentices.)   Before engaging in redesign, try doing some research.  Consider these strategic steps for confronting dysfunctional delegation and for developing a more equitable work distribution system:

1.  Interview a Sample of Employees.  Do separate individual interviews with both senior and junior employees.  Explain how management is not satisfied with the current delegation/distribution system and wants frontline redesign ideas.  If it's not practical to interview all, select representative samples.  You might even separately run small feedback groups to glean both sides' viewpoints on the current situation, the advantages and disadvantages, the efficiencies and inefficiencies, the short- and long-tem consequences of the current system, etc.  If using a group forum, all must feel comfortable giving input.  The positives and negatives should split along senior-junior lines.  However, don't be surprised if some seniors express relief that management is finally confronting this issue, or that seniors speak of their "early years" experience. 

2.  Hold Joint Meetings.  Bring both sides together and share the above data.  You may also need to allow some venting of junior frustration with both the seniors and with management for allowing this inequity.  (If the frustration is intense, you may want to bring in an outside mediator/facilitator.)  Hopefully, clearing the air will result in an understanding of why change is needed.  This process should also stimulate clear-headed problem-solving regarding changes in operational procedures, job duties, etc.

3.  Do a Test Run.  Sometimes the best way to implement large system change is to have a subsystem, e.g., a department or two, do a time-limited trial and error pilot to get any bugs out of a new operational format.  Have the entire experimental entity, not just the department supervisors, meet regularly with a senior manager to monitor the trial.  Hopefully, some kinks will come to light and can be addressed. 

4.  Report Back Staff Meeting.  Within a month of the starting date, hold a report back meeting with all relevant staff.  Share the results, the positives, the glitches, the unanticipated discoveries, etc.  By laying a proper foundation, your employees should buy-in to a full-scale trial of the new distribution/delegation format.  Again, you may want to hold a matrix task group to get input from the various departments on the positives and on any missteps of a company-wide run.  And as noted before, have this subgroup work with a senior manager and then also report back to all relevant staff.

This problem-solving process should not only democratize the operational procedure and yield a more current and productive redesign, but you'll likely strengthen team and departmental cohesion and camaraderie.  Definitely a formula to help one and all…Practice Safe Stress!

Readers' Submissions

Date:                 10 Jan 2006

Hi Mark,
I write to you from India. I train adults In Communication and Soft Skills and having seen the need to address Stress Management, I came across your articles.  Needless to say, I don't feel the need to look elsewhere.  Do I have the permission to use the same in the form of a power point slide during a four hour workshop? I will give credit to the source. Thank you once again for the wealth of information and the user friendly language and approach to the content.
Warm regards,


Subj:  Two Little Old Ladies
From: MDodick

Two little old ladies were attending a rather long temple service.   One leaned over and whispered, "My tuchas is going to sleep."

"I know,"  replied her companion, "I heard it snore three times."

From:  im837@sbcglobal.net

A spray carried in a purse or wallet to be used on anyone too eager to share their life stories with total strangers in elevators.

Injectable stimulant taken prior to shopping Increases potency, duration, and credit limit of spending spree.

Take 2 and the rest of the world can go to hell for up to 8 full hours.

When taken with Peptobimbo, can cause dangerously low IQ, resulting in the enjoyment of country music and pickup trucks.

Suppository that eliminates melancholy and loneliness by reminding you of how awful they were as teenagers and how you couldn't wait till they moved out.

Increases life expectancy of commuters by controlling road rage and the urge to flip off other drivers.

Relieves headache caused by a man who can't remember your birthday, anniversary, phone number, or to lift the toilet seat.

Potent anti-boy-otic for older women. Increases resistance to such lethal lines as, "You make me want to be a better person. Can we get naked now?"

When administered to a boyfriend or husband, provides the same irritation level as nagging him.

Liquid silicone drink for single women. Two full cups swallowed before an evening out increases breast size, decreases intelligence, and prevents conception.

Plant extract that treats mom's depression by rendering preschoolers unconscious for up to two days.

Subj:  Quotes about Being Jewish
From:  im837@sbcglobal.net

Most Texans think Hanukkah is some sort of duck call.
- Richard Lewis

Look at Jewish history.  Unrelieved lamenting would be intolerable.  So, for every ten Jews beating their breasts, God designated one to be crazy and amuse the breast beaters.  By the time I was five I knew I was that one.
- Mel Brooks

The time is at hand when the wearing of a prayer shawl and skullcap will not bar a man from the White House, unless, of course, the man is Jewish.
- Jules Farber

Even if you are Catholic, if you live in New York, you're Jewish.  If you live in Butte, Montana, you are going to be goyim even if you are Jewish.
- Lenny Bruce

God, I know we are your chosen people, but couldn't you choose somebody else for a change?
- Shalom Aleichem

The remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served us nothing but leftovers.  The original meal has never been found.
- Calvin Trillin

Let me tell you the one thing I have against Moses.  He took us forty years into the desert in order to bring us to the one place in the Middle East that has no oil!
- Golda Meir

Don't be humble; you are not that great.
-Golda Meir

Even a secret agent can't lie to a Jewish mother.
- Peter Malkin

Humility is no substitute for a good personality.
- Fran Lebowitz

My idea of an agreeable person is a person who agrees with me.
- Benjamin Disraeli

It's so simple to be wise.  Just think of something stupid to say and then don't say it. 
- Sam Levenson

I went on a diet, swore off drinking and heavy eating, and in fourteen days I had lost exactly two weeks.
- Joe E.  Lewis

Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding in which you put your money in your pants pocket and give your coat to your creditors.
- Sam Goldwyn

A spoken contract isn't worth the paper it's written on.
- Sam Goldwyn

Everybody likes a kidder but nobody loans him money.
-Arthur Miller

I have enough money to last me the rest of my life unless I buy something
- Jackie Mason

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work.  I want to achieve immortality through not dying.
- Woody Allen

Marriage is a wonderful institution.  But who wants to live in an institution?
-Groucho Marx

Whoever called it necking was a poor judge of anatomy.
- Groucho Marx

A politician is a man who will double cross that bridge when he comes to it.
-Oscar Levant

Too bad that all the people who know how to run this country are busy driving taxis and cutting hair.
- George Burns

Liberals feel unworthy of their possessions.  Conservatives feel they deserve everything they've stolen.
- Mort Sahl

I don't want any yes-men around me.  I want everybody to tell me the truth, even if it costs them their jobs.
- Sam Goldwyn

Television is a medium because it is neither rare nor well done.
- Ernie Kovacs

With the collapse of vaudeville, new talent has no place to stink.
- George Burns

When I bore people at a party, they think it is their fault.
- Henry Kissinger

Heads Up:

Successful Jan Programs (Email stressdoc@aol.com for references):

1.  Wash. Metro Area Transportation Authority (WMATA); Managing Anger & Difficult People; Full-day workshop
2.  Estrin Legal Education; Closing Speaker: Managing Anger and Difficult People; Breakout Session: Team Management and Motivation; New York City

Mark Gorkin, LICSW, "The Stress Doc" ™, is a psychotherapist and "Motivational Humorist" whose Interactive Keynotes and Kickoffs draw wide and "amazing" acclaim - from Fortune 100s and Federal Agencies to around the world with Celebrity Cruise Lines.   An OD/Team Building Consultant, Mark is the author of Practice Safe Stress:  Healing and Laughing in the Face of Stress, Burnout & Depression and of The Four Faces of Anger: Transforming Anger, Rage, and Conflict Into Inspiring Attitude and Behavior.  Also, the Doc is AOL's "Online Psychohumorist" ™ running his weekly "Shrink Rap ™ and Group Chat."  See his award winning, USA Today Online "HotSite" -- www.stressdoc.com (cited as a workplace resource by National Public Radio (NPR).  Finally, Mark is an advisor to The Bright Side ™ -- www.the-bright-side.org -- a multi-award winning mental health resource.  Email for his monthly newsletter showcased on List-a-Day.com.  For more info on the Doc's speaking and training programs and products, email stressdoc@aol.com or call 301-946-0865.

(c)  Mark Gorkin  2006
Shrink Rap Productions