Monday, February 9, 2009

How to Cope with Unpleasant People at Work

When I'm getting angry/frustrated/exasperated by idiotic or mean things people at MPOW do, I have a trick for calming myself down.

I remind myself to adopt an Anthropological Perspective.

Imagine you're hanging with Jane Goodall and watching a bunch of chimps flinging poop at each other... and at you and Jane. (I should point out that in this exercise, you and Jane are tight and she's told you not to call her "Doctor Goodall.")

Rather than getting upset about getting poop on her safari outfit, Jane turns to you and says, "Isn't that fascinating? They flung poop at us! I wonder what made them do that...it certainly is curious behavior, this flinging of feces. That big one has quite an arm and looks pleased with himself for having hit us from this far away."

There's no need to get upset. There's no need to fling poop back- that'd just be childish. There's no need to have an emotional response to this poop-flinging. Just study the behavior and focus on what you can learn from it. You are among the chimps- but you're not one of them.

2 comments:

lalcorn said...

I like "you are not of the chimps".

David said...

Feels like that'd be a biblical reference, so I decided against it.