What to Do If You’re a Toxic Handler

by Sandra L. Robinson and Kira Schabram

DIVANI (NOT HER REAL NAME) is a senior analyst at a large telecommunications firm. She proudly describes herself as her department’s “resident cheer-upper.” As she says, “I have always been the person that people turn to for support… I listen really well and I like to listen, I like to help.” But the year before I spoke to her, Divani’s organization was going through a major change initiative: “I already had so much on my plate, and so many colleagues were leaning on me—turning to me to process, commiserate, ask for advice. It was hard to get through my own deadlines and also be there for my coworkers. I was drowning in stress and nearing burnout.” She told ...

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