Dealing With Workplace Stress

Outline of the Conversation:

Jay and Hasan work for the same graphic design company in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Jay is experiencing an incredible amount of workplace related stress caused by his company's high demand for performance, job security, mandatory on-the-job training in new software programs, and personal problems at home. During lunch, Jay explains his problems to his co-worker friend Hasan. Hasan, who is undergoing some of the same workplace challenges, discusses the situation with Jay to give the two some clarity and attempt to work through the situation.

The Conversation:

Jay: I don't know what I'm going to do Hasan. I feel like I'm in a hole and will not be able to climb out. Our company is so demanding! Our workload just keeps getting bigger! We are forced to work unreasonably long hours, and we are expected to perform at the highest level all the time with no promise of a raise! 

Hasan: You are absolutely right! On top of that, our managers are constantly pressuring us to learn all this new software in a very short period of time. Everybody knows that the company has been downsizing for the last six months. I mean, what if we have no job next week?

Jay: I can't take it anymore. I am mentally, physically, and emotionally drained. Can I be honest with you Hasan?

Hasan: Sure Jay. I'm your friend. Please tell me everything that's bothering you! We must try to work through this together! I'll share my concerns as well. 

Jay: I'm behind on my work because I'm having trouble focusing. I've been having much trouble sleeping at night, and I'm beginning to get depressed.

Hasan: I'm having a difficult time also. I put on a smile at work, but on the inside I'm really frustrated and angry with the situation. I've also been suffering from stress-induced headaches, and those kind are the toughest to deal with. And the fatigue is just too much!

Jay: I'm always tired, and I'm getting headaches as well. To make things worse, the situation is making me irritable and temperamental all the time, which is causing problems in my marriage. My wife is very worried about me and we've been arguing a lot lately.

Hasan: Jay, we must do something, anything to change this situation before one of us ends up in the hospital. We can start by reviewing this list of tips on dealing with job stress. I found it while doing some research on the internet the other night. Something told me to bring it today.

Jay: Ok let's see what you have!

Hasan: I found out that aerobic exercise and yoga help relieve anxiety and stress, lifts our mood, gives us energy and focus, and relaxes our mind and body.

Jay: But what if we're too tired to exercise? At the end of the day all I want to do is relax.

Hasan: We should work out together. That way we can encourage and support each other. We'll agree to exercise in the park nearby at sunset, or at the gym if we work late. A good workout will help us get to sleep much easier. Maybe we can take a yoga class together.

Jay: Ok, it's worth a try. I think I'll begin my morning meditation again. It's been too long, and maybe not meditating is contributing to my stress.

Hasan: Yes, meditation definitely helps. It is so easy to overlook our spiritual needs when we are trying to complete our mountains of assignments and manage other job responsibilities.

Jay: This next tip is interesting. It says that eating small but frequent meals throughout the day maintains an even level of blood sugar in your body. Low blood sugar makes you feel anxious and irritable. On the other hand, eating too much can make you lethargic.

Hasan: When I read this, I decided to start packing snacks. Lucky for you, I have enough for us both today. If you like, we can each bring snacks and share.

Jay: Definitely! A thirty minute lunch break during an eleven hour shift is insufficient!

Hasan: Check out these time management tips for reducing job stress. We should strive to maintain a balanced schedule, avoid over-committing ourselves, arrive earlier in the morning to get a head start, and take regularly scheduled breaks throughout the day.

Jay: These task management tips look kind of helpful. This says we should prioritise tasks by making a list and completing the most important and unpleasant tasks first. If we follow this, the rest of our day will supposedly be more pleasant. I don't know. We'll see about that.

Hasan: Come on Jay; let's try to think positively about work. Look, the next set of tips is about eliminating self-defeating thinking and behavior. We should avoid thinking negatively about our managers, even though they give us an enormous amount of work with tight deadlines.

Jay: Ok. I'll work on getting past my pessimism, but it won't be easy.

Hasan: I think we are trying to be perfectionists all the time which is creating extra stress. No project, situation, or decision is ever perfect, so we should strive to be more realistic but deliver decent work at the same time.

Jay: Look! This next tip describes what we are doing now: reducing stress by talking it out with a friend. Suppose we were to start a company support group to benefit everybody? Surely we are not the only employees here who are thoroughly stressed out.

Hasan: That sounds like a great idea. It could send a hint to our managers to lighten up on us. What about this next tip Jay? It says that we should find humor in the situation. We have twenty minutes left in lunch. Do you have any good jokes or funny stories to share today?

Vocabulary:

Mandatory - required by a law or rule.

Clarity - the quality of being easily understood.

Downsize - to make (something) smaller.

Temperamental - likely to become upset or angry.

Aerobic - strengthening the heart and lungs by making them work hard continuously.

Overlook - to fail to see or notice something.

Lethargic - feeling a lack of energy or a lack of interest in doing things.

Prioritise - to organize (things) so that the most important thing is done or dealt with first.

Pessimism - a feeling or belief that bad things will happen in the future.

Perfectionist - a person who tries to do things perfectly. 

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