Working With You is Killing Me: Freeing Yourself from Emotional Traps at Work
by Katherine Crowley & Kathi Elster
Hardcover256 pages (March 2006) Warner Business Books
Review by Will Phillips
This book proposes that co-workers often create more stress than the job itself. It seems that invariably you are likely to find someone at work who annoys you. They describe five basic types of annoying people:
And this is just a start. There are many other fomrs of annoying co workers and bosses.
- The Explorer, who is often a charismatic person, who explodes now and then.
- The Empty Pit, who is constantly asking you for advice and help, but rarely follows it.
- The Saboteur, who becomes your biggest fan in your face, but often sabotages you behind your back.
- The Pedestal Smasher, who initially builds you up with compliments, and then knocks you down.
- The Chip on the Shoulder person, who feels they’ve been wronged in life by someone or something, and is always hostile, defensive, and complaining.
The authors describe a fairly simple four-step process to help you take action when someone at work is annoying you.
The first step is to unhook physically by taking a deep breath, going for a walk, putting some water on your face. This is just to break the cycle that you often get caught in.
The second is to unhook mentally by trying to understand what part you’re playing in this situation and what it is that you’re doing that may be maintaining the annoying interaction. This often surfaces some options you can take to influence or improve the situation.
Number three is to unhook verbally, looking for words to protect yourself or escape this trap, learning how to speak up.
Number four is to unhook using a business tool such as job description, contract, memos, and performance reviews to depersonalize the situation and provide some objective ways tochange the interaction or at least track what’s going on.
This is not an extraordinarily elegant or insightful book, but it will give you a set of working tools to address the annoying people at work, particularly when that person turns out to be your boss.