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The Stress Doc Letter
Cybernotes from the Online Psychohumorist ™

November 1999, No. 2, Sect. 1

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

Table of Contents

Announcements: AOL Chat Group and Q & A Links/Archives Q & A: Workplace Jealousy & Expectations and Boundaries Shrink Rap: The Double-Edged Nature of "On the Edge" Success Reader's Submission: Proverbs and Folk Wisdom Sect 2: Main Essay: Practicing Safe Stress for the Holidays

News Flash: Alas, only for AOL members, stop by my online "Shrink Rap (TM) and Group Chat," Tuesdays, 9-10:45pm EST.  Chat with the Stress Doc: It's a dynamic, lively, at times witty and always warm, thoughtful and supportive problem-solving group. We raise questions and share our ideas, hopes and experiences with each other.

Announcements: 1) For all cyberspace travelers, there's the new Ask the Stress Doc Q & A -- Work Stress Digital City - Washington, DC - Ask the Stres... and Love and Relationships Digital City - Washington, DC - Relations . Also, check the Doc's Q & A Archives: Stress Doc's Q&A and Q&A: Love and Relationships .

Ask the Stress Doc Q & A/Digital City--Washington, DC 1) Is Workplace Triangle Cause of Jealousy? 2) Realistic Expectations, Inadequate Performance and Setting Boundaries

1) Q. My boyfriend's coworkers are causing me stress. His boss is a male and coworker is female and are in a relationship. She has a crush on my boyfriend and the boss gives them work that gives them time alone in odd locations. This story is much longer than this, but what could I do to prevent drama?

A. Well I hope the boss isn't a voyeur and, of course, I'm curious about your closing, "This story is much longer than this." I wonder if either of you have been "unfaithful." I'm assuming now that your boyfriend isn't giving you objective cause to worry, for example, not coming home when expected, etc. Curiosity aside, I think you need to acknowledge your concern with your boyfriend. This doesn't mean demanding that he cease and desist. Does he recognize that the female colleague has a crush on him? Can he understand why you are uncomfortable, anxious, jealous, etc.? This doesn't mean you mistrust him (you may not trust her); you just are admitting your human vulnerability. If the two of you can discuss these work/home triangles, then perhaps your boyfriend will be able to set appropriate boundaries with all parties concerned. -------------------------------------------------------------------

2) Q. My office is painfully understaffed. I hired an assistant not long ago. She was my first choice and a big mistake. She had no prior working experience in her field. Things have to repeated more than once to her. With another person, I am still doing a lot of the daily tasks. I would like to have better luck with office assistant the next time. I am so stressed out. Additionally, I get no personal space or private space. I hate not getting any personal time. Everyday, I yearn to have a few minutes to myself at my desk without walk-ins and interruptions. Would that be possible????

A. Responding to a staffing deficiency with a deficient person only adds to the wound. On the other hand, just because you have to repeat instructions doesn't mean she isn't coachable. Is your tight schedule lowering your patience threshold or do you naturally have some Type A tendencies? If you or someone else gives her a chance for a learning curve and she can't show at least adequate upward movement, then tactfully present the reality: a lack of job fit.

As for your second concern, if you are as indispensable as you sound then, of course, people will constantly be pawing and pulling at you...if you permit it. You are allowed to have some personal time, a closed space -- if not closed door -- policy. I'm a big believer in 10-15 minute meditative naps, especially after lunch or mid-afternoon. If the work environment truly lacks office boundaries, then get out...Take a walk to clear your psyche, lower your stress level and regain focus. And try adding an exercise regimen to your after work lifestyle. Working out your frustrations will make it easier to tolerate and deal with human imperfection, others' as well as our own. Just remember...Practice Safe Stress! --------------------------------------------------------------

Shrink Rap™: The Double-Edged Nature of "On the Edge" Success

Having coined the concept, "The Multiple & Simultaneous Demand Situation," it's only fitting that I walk the talk...Or, is it the plank? This "Multiple & Simultaneous" time- and task-driven tempest involves: a) being responsible for a number of people and/or projects, b) dealing with an ever-expanding base of data, assignments and customers, and c) feeling like a slave to deadlines and tied up by thieves of time. And if not careful, this Multiple & Simultaneous (M & S) Demand Situation can quickly regress into an "S & M" experience: You feel like a Servant to too many Masters!

Ironically, this anticipatory anxiety reflects two imminent contract signings: a) one with a publishing house, AdviceZone.com; The Art of Practicing Safe Stress: The Stress Doc™ Survival Guide, (or some such subtitle) should be hitting the street and the shelves by Spring 2000 and b) entering into formal syndication with iSyndicate.com, producing "essays and columns from the Stress Doc Newsletter, on a biweekly basis, in a form and quality consistent with samples submitted at the time of this Agreement." (Nothing like a little performance and deadline pressure in writing to up my adrenaline levels.)

So now the challenge is to get even more focused, structured and time conscious. Ugh! (Can someone send me my essay on, "The Procrastination Puzzle: To Do, Not to Do or Deep Doodo.") Am I caught up in a pride and fantasy-driven egoal moment? This is when ego needs obfuscate the boundaries of what is and what is not obtainable. (Just the use of "obfuscate," you know I'm a bit grandiose.) Remember, Stress Doc, there's a fine line between vision and hallucination.

I'm beginning to sense the disorientation of companies in a rapid startup mode. (Though I'm more on the verge of being a 20-year overnight success.) Suddenly the balls you've been juggling are undergoing mitotic division, fueled by the sweat of your palms. In addition to these publishing contracts, I've hired a small internet-media savvy marketing firm. They've directed me to an online resource that's spinning off exposure like a media reactor. In the last two days there have been interviews with the: a) LA Times on becoming a successful public speaker and b) Atlanta Journal and Constitution about workplace stress in our new fast-paced economy, and why some folks would rather spend even more hours at work. (For more information about this media resource, including my online coaching program for consultants and entrepreneurs, email stressdoc@aol.com .)

So as I approach the holiday, there's much to be thankful for. Yet, I'm also wary of future brainstrain, if not burnout..."Living on the Edge." Not sure I know another way. Still, as long as I can keep up with my daily walk in Rock Creek Park and build in some, "R & R," "incubation vacation" time to hatch new perspective and energy there's hope. As the lyric below penned a dozen years ago attests, I've made progress on the coming out of the creative closet journey.

American Hero

Did you ever have grand illusions And want to become a star? To ride out the waves of confusion And just keep going...real far.

Well, I took off with my fantasy I no longer was playing the game It was mystery over history, but I was driven by fear and fame.

I tried to do it "my way" The way Frankie claimed it was done. I got lost along the high way What happened to life on the run?

(Chorus) Oh to be an American hero Not just a face in the crowd I'm tired of waitin for tomorrow It's enough for cryin out loud.

If I can't be a real hero At least my mind will run free One day I'll rise from this sorrow And share my love with thee.

Well, I move around with women I once tried to take a stand I want to love em, but must leave em Will I ever be a family man?

Now I made it -- TV and radio My own very own show Didn't last, so long; the glory's gone Now where the hell do I go?

I never did make enough money For my old man to be proud I would smile when nothing was funny Couldn't see the bull being cowed.


A friend says all that matters Amongst the glitter and the gold Is bringing life into this world The greatest story ever told.

Sometimes when I'm helping others Forget their troubles and their pain I just feel that we are all brothers For a moment I seem kinda same.

Now I've got something to offer I know my spirit's not yet dead. Just wish there was some more laughter And I could let someone share my bed.


So I'll forget about being a hero About the wealth and all the fame. Mom and Dad, have no fear though I won't dishonor our good name.

It's time to stop all that dreamin Of rising once again from the dead Life can never be what it's meaning to be If you only play it out in your head.

So bring on that old-time reality A little work and a little love. I'll let my pride become a casualty And just watch the shooting stars above.

(c) Mark Gorkin 1992 Shrink Rap Productions

Finally, I've decided to reprise my holiday standard as today's "Main Article." (And don't miss the classic holiday's survival joke.) To a playful and graceful holiday and, of course...Practice Safe Stress! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Reader's "Higher Power of Humor" Section

Proverbs and Folk Wisdom Tula710@aol.com

>From Tula Henneman's Daily Enduring-Wisdom

French Proverbs:

It is better to be the hammer than the anvil.

The man who has nothing to do is always the busiest.

What makes us discontented with our condition is the absurdly exaggerated idea we have of the happiness of others.

I know by my own pot how the others boil.

Glutton: One who digs his grave with his teeth.

Gratitude is the heart's memory.

It's good to be clever, but not to show it.

When a blind man bears the standard, pity those who follow.

In love, there is always one who kisses and one who offers the cheek.

People will ignore their misfortunes and their interests when they are in competition with their pleasures.

A sin confessed is half forgiven.

Life is half spent before one knows what it is.

Work relieves us from three great evils, boredom, vice, and want. ___________________________________________________

Zimbabwe Proverb:

If you can walk you can dance. If you can talk you can sing. ___________________________________________________

Malabar Proverb:

Anger is as a stone cast into a wasp's nest. ___________________________________________________

Greek Proverbs:

Gray hair is a sign of age, not of wisdom.

If you steal something small you are a petty thief, but if you steal millions you are a gentleman of society. ___________________________________________________

Pennsylvania Dutch Proverb:

Our faults irritate us most when we see them in others. ___________________________________________________

Malayan Proverb:

One can pay back the loan of gold, but one lies forever in debt to those who are kind.

Seek the Higher Power of Humor: May the Farce Be with You!


Mark Gorkin, LICSW, the Stress Doc, a psychotherapist and nationally recognized speaker, trainer, consultant and author, is also known as AOL's and the internet's "Online Psychohumorist" ™. Check out his USA Today Online "Hot Site" website - www.stressdoc.com  and his page on AOL/Online Psych, Keyword: Stress Doc

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