Responding to Stress

Here are a few categories of responses to job stress. I think I’ve exhibited them all in the past 3 months.

– The ostrich: This person looks at the stress at work and just sticks their head into their own work, trying to ignore anything else that goes on. This can be good because at times of high stress there is a need for some people to keep plugging away at work. But it can be bad in that this response can lead to that person working on old priorities and foregoing new priorities.

– The jackal: This person is the cynic. Generally makes fun of the stressful situation. I think of this as a nervous response to stress. This person tends to have a “sky is falling” type of attitude and veils negativity with humor. But this person will also have every intention of being the person to turn out the lights on the last day. Keep working, keep scavenging, it’ll pay off in the end.

– The parrot: This person repeats everything. Not so much a gossip, but a person who likes to communicate what the problem and solution is as presented. Both helpful and annoying at the same time, this response seems to be a self-motivating one. But the parrot likes to think it is helping those around it.

– The bear: This person is all black cloud. They think that today is as good as its going to get. Tomorrow is just another day closer to destruction. This stress response is toxic to a stressful situation because its pessimism can become a self-fulfilling prophesy. Their Eeyore belief system is not cautious, it is reckless. This person secretly likes stress. Above I said I’ve expressed all of these in the past three months, that’s not true. I refuse to be the bear.

– The bull: This person sees an opportunity in everything. Relentlessly over-optimistic. This stress response is helpful in times like this because they don’t care about forecasts and the nightmares MSNBC predicts.

– The honey bee: Similar to the ostrich, this person just shows up and gets the job done. The swarm of activity around doesn’t seem to matter as this person merely concentrates on building the hive and following the orders of the queen bee. Collect pollen, make honey, repeat. If anything the stressful situation makes this person more urgent.

– The sloth: This person responds to a stressful situation by retreating. They burn up sick and vacation days. They find excuses to avoid dealing with the cause of the stress. Really, this is just a lazy response to stress. This person hopes that while they are checked out the problem will get resolved.

– The viper: This person just gets mean. Like a snake, they strike out of fear. They feel like if they are mean they can just scare their problems away. Of course, fear is a short term motivator… but this person doesn’t seem to care about that.

What are some stress responses I’ve missed?





2 responses to “Responding to Stress”

  1. […] check out Adam McLane’s Responding to Stress […]

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