Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Work Stress or Work Challenge?

I read a great little article from the CDC last week about workplace stress. In short, challenge is the little bit of stress that makes us step up our game and relaxes us when we finish it. Stress is the overwhelming thing that just never seems to go away. All this that is a consternation in my work life now will pass away.

I think, that this time in my life is really just a challenge. It is like the final exam after living in Dubuque and working here for nearly four years. I have learned so much and now is the once in 20 year chance to put it all together. And frankly, I'm getting it done. Everyone says I'm doing a really good job. I've earned more credibility out on the factory floor than many others. People, up the hierarchy and down the hierarchy are coming to me with questions, because I often have answers. It is totally engaging, in the sort of way that I can only worry about what is happening in the moment, because when I try to worry about something longer term than that, I don't have the time to get it done.

Don't let any of this scare you. I often put things in writing worse than they actually are. I explained at work to a colleague that was shocked how negative I was being, that my highs are high, but my lows are low. Usually I try to keep it very positive, but when things turn for the worse and I can't hold the negative in, it's going to spill out, and not just a little bit of it. After all, my definition of vacation involves a 2% chance of death which I view as a challenge, not a stress at all. The other side of it is, I am trying to communicate better. Every person on my team is either feeling the same way, or blaming others.

In high school I asked my scoutmaster, a mechanical engineer, "Is your job stressful?" And he answered with the very well thought out words, "anything you want to be good at will be stressful at times?" As I live that I know, it is true.

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