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
Work Q & A: Democratizing an Inequitable Work
Readers: Request for Permission from India, Two Little Old ladies,
FOR WOMEN, Quotes about Being Jewish
Heads Up: WMATA, Estrin Legal Education
Shrink Rap: 12 Tips for Beating Mostly Moderate Clinical Depression
Main Essay: Sea of Tranquility: Dealing with Employee Arrogance &
Offerings: Phone Consultation/Coaching, Training/Marketing Kit
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
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?
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
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
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!
Date: 10 Jan 2006
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
Subj: Two Little Old Ladies
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."
Subj: NEW DRUGS FOR WOMEN
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
ST. MOMMA'S WORT
Plant extract that treats mom's depression by rendering preschoolers
unconscious for up to two days.
Subj: Quotes about Being Jewish
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
Successful Jan Programs (Email firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com
or call 301-946-0865.
(c) Mark Gorkin 2006
Shrink Rap Productions