Chapter 12. Control the Uncontrollable

The alarm sounded, the snooze button was slammed down, and Donald turned over in disgust. He thought, "I hate my job. I hate my boss. I hate my life!" This message played over and over in his head on the trip to work. To validate his dismal message, the elevator's Muzak was playing "Sad Boy" by Dorsey Burnette. "Ah, just the right music for another day that will suck," Donald said aloud. Stressed before he even started the workday, he felt totally out of control and had become a Toxic Person.

Donald was buried in a self-made hole. He was right about the fact he didn't control his company, his boss, his job demands, working long hours, and the people he worked with. He didn't even control the people in his personal life, including his partner, kids, friends, and family. What he did control were his choices in life. His mental terrorism was pushing him to be helpless.

Control Your Job

David Lewis, a workplace psychologist, found that working long hours in a result-driven workplace causes stress, anxiety, and depression in employees. The workers he interviewed agreed that the top three short-term effects of stress were increased irritability, undermining of work performance, and an increase in mistakes—otherwise known as toxic behavior.

So, who is in control? You are. The choice of accepting a position is yours (well, unless you are incarcerated, perhaps). No one is holding a gun to your head. The decision to work in a particular industry or study ...

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