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Counseling On Demand Stress And Anxiety In The Workplace

Anxiety in the World of Work

There are many facets with which to deal in the world of work.  Many can create anxiety.

As a job seeker, you may face an initial screening via a psychological test such as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory.   Beyond that comes the interview, much of which goes beyond assessment of qualifications to questions designed to assess your reaction to stress. Then comes the job itself.  There, you face what is commonly termed the learning curve- its beginning point at your frustration level.  Inevitably comes the day-to-day office politics among fellow colleagues, various supervisors, etc. And, how about your anxiety at performance review day?

Let’s take them one at a time:


Jane Framingham, Ph.D, (Psychcentral). “The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is a psychological test that assesses personality traits and psychopathology. It is primarily intended to test people who are suspected of having mental health or other clinical issues. Although it was not originally designed to be administered to non-clinical populations, it has found” its way into the world of work.  Selections of the Inventory have been arranged as an initial screening instrument. Doubtless to say, its assessment is probably not done by a qualified psychologist.  Yet its results tend to define your qualification for the next step:

The Interview:

Karen Burns, “Career experts often offer helpful tips for reducing job interview anxiety. But you don’t want to reduce job interview anxiety; you want to avoid it altogether. Before you say, “But that’s impossible!” let’s clarify: You don’t actually have to eliminate the anxiety. You only have to avoid letting it show.

Anxiety is a turn-off. In a job interview, you want to come across as confident, competent, and ready to go to work. Anxiety detracts from the strong, positive impression you want to make. It’s also contagious—your jitters can infect and distract your interviewer, making him less able to focus on you.

The bottom line: It’s okay to feel anxious. It’s not okay to display it.”

(Karen Burns, 21 Ways to Avoid Job Interview Anxiety, money. Us News)

The Learning Curve:

Emily Sørensen: “The learning curve is going to be steep and you’re going to feel like you have no clue what you’re doing. This is totally natural and is happening to everyone in the same position as you and even people senior to you.

  This could last a few days, weeks, a month or more, depending on job requirements and your experience. But really, if you try too hard to be perfect, you’ll burn yourself out. Even if you’ll be doing the exact same thing now as you’ve done in the past, there’s a new environment to adjust to, new people with slightly different perceptions about your work, a different way to communicate, a new location, and (usually) a new set of work tools and resources to get used to. That’s a lot to get your head around.” (Emily Sørensen Why you should stop worrying in your new job, Plus Guidance)

Office Politics:

Casey Imafidon, “It is almost impossible to find an organization that is not political in nature. It is difficult to deal with humans in a perfectly logical way since humans are driven by emotions and biased by unconscious needs and insecurities.

Getting entangled with office politics and the bureaucracies may not be pleasant for you and the organization. It is important for you to consider the psychological factor office politics plays in a social environment as the workplace.

Office politics promotes stress and career burnout as the workplace is already a breeding ground for stress. Playing office politics could trigger frustration, create unnecessary anxiety, eat away office spirit as well as sap motivation and reduce work satisfaction. Stress, burnout or related ailments could be very expensive to the company that is doing well to manage funds and maximize profits.” (Casey Imafidon , 8 Reasons Why You Don’t Have To Play Office Politics, Lifehack)

The Dreaded Performance Review:

Adrian Granzella Larssen’s story, ” There are few things quite as anxiety-inducing as a performance review. You expect to be grilled by your stone-faced superiors about what you have and haven’t achieved in the last year, right? Of course that’s not how it goes, but it’s easy to fall prey to your own anxiety. Sitting in a small, empty, windowless room while being grilled is definitely the vision that rushes through my head the second a performance review gets put on my calendar. Seriously, while I’ve been receiving reviews for the better part of a decade now, they still induce mild panic attacks every single time.”
(Adrian Granzella Larssen, Four Ways to Kick Performance Review Anxiety and Get Good Feedback, Lifehacker)

Time to Make a Decision

“Frustration and stress increase cortisol levels, says Katherine Crowley, “if streaming in steady enough supply, can lead to lowered immune function, heart disease, sleep loss, anxiety, depression and weight gain.  If this happens to you, you might want to consider moving on. Decades of research that correlates lack of job control with earlier mortality rates to recent analyses on the link between psychological job strain and diastolic blood pressure supports this position.” (Katherine Crowley, psychotherapist and author “Working for You Isn’t Working for Me”, WebMd)

Time to seek help?

Self-help tips can be found at the various citations above.


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