Saturday, October 3, 2009

When Job Loss Leads to Depression

Learn Srategies to Cope with Being Unemployed, Plus Steps to Avoid Or Treat Depression.

A job loss means a major change in your daily routine, losing contact with people from work, and perhaps a change in how you see yourself. For some people, losing a job may be as devastating as losing a loved one or going through a divorce, and you might even experience the same type of feelings, including anger, denial, and depression. Depression can be the result of many contributing factors that can sometimes be difficult to distinguish, but if you are unemployed and living with financial insecurity, your situation may be serious enough to bring about depression.

Research has shown that job loss may be related to depression not only because of the financial burden it brings, but also because it affects your social status, self-esteem, mental and physical activity, and the ability to use your skills. According to Luc Chabot, MEd, a psychotherapist in Montreal and founder of Relais Expert-Conseil, a firm specializing in workplace issues, how well a job loss is handled depends on many factors: age, financial situation, your ability to deal with stress, and any emotional disorders you might already have. Here are ways to help you cope, as well as what to do if you can no longer cope on your own.

8 Ideas for Coping With Job Loss and Avoiding Depression

  • Be Realistic. Come to terms with why you lost your job. If you need to improve your skills to find a better job, now's the perfect time to get that training.
  • Manage Your Money. If you have the right to certain benefits, claim them as soon as you can to avoid getting behind financially. Make a plan for you and your family to reduce daily expenses.
  • Create a Daily Routine. Make a schedule of what you hope to accomplish each day, so that you maintain a regular routine. Include time for your job search, as well as exercise and leisure. Plan for the next day before you go to bed at night.
  • Get Emotional Support. Family, friends, and support groups can help you deal with the job loss. Speaking to people — networking — may help you find a new job.
  • Learn How to Manage Stress. Read a book or take a workshop. Meditate, visualize, and be patient by taking one step at a time.
  • Set Everyday Goals For Yourself. Just going to the library or having lunch with a friend can help you build your confidence, maintain relationships, and stay healthy.
  • Don't Isolate Yourself. Make sure to stay busy outside of your home to avoid added emotional stress.
  • Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle. Limit your smoking and your alcohol and caffeine intake. A regular schedule, eating well, and exercise will keep you fit for the next job.
Getting Professional Help for Depression

If the above strategies don't help and your problems feel overwhelming, speak to your doctor about depression treatment. He or she may suggest management strategies, such as taking medication and/or talking to a mental health specialist (a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker). Here are some issues you may want to bring up at a meeting with a mental health professional:

  • What do you think causes stress in your life? Include long-term and short-term stressors.
  • How are your family and yourself affected by this stress?
  • Do you have support available to help get through your situation, or make a positive impact on your life?
  • Are there obstacles preventing you from reducing the stress?
  • Are you willing to make major changes to reduce the stressful situation?
  • Have you tried without success to resolve your situation?
  • Can you accept this current situation and get on with your life?

Finding a new job can be a roller-coaster ride. But remember that success doesn't happen overnight and that you are not alone in feeling blue or scared.

Chabot recommends that "you first help yourself before anyone else. Don't be afraid to ask for help and discuss your personal issues. If you [still have a job and] know that major changes are going to occur in your workplace, get ahead of the situation by meeting with a counselor or an expert as soon as you feel overwhelmed."

Back Injuries: The What, When, and Why

Back strains and injuries can happen anywhere, but a great many happen at work. Back strain represents one of the largest segments of employee injuries. Only the common cold accounts for more lost workdays.

As you may have learned from personal experience, back injuries can be extremely painful and long lasting. They can keep you in bed for extended periods of time, and occasionally, they may even require surgery. For some people, back pain never really goes away.

The National Safety Council says that overexertion is the cause of about 31 percent of all disabling work injuries. Injuries to the back occur more frequently than do injuries to any other part of the body, so it's very important that employees understand just what types of acts are likely to strain their backs and how to perform tasks in ways that reduce the risk.

Why So Many Injuries?

To understand why there are so many back injuries, it's useful to understand what's in your back to be injured.

Basically, the back holds up your entire body. The spinal column, which runs down your back, is an S-shaped stack of bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae are connected by ligaments and separated by soft disks that cushion and protect the bones. At the center of the spinal column is the spinal cord, and from there, nerves run out to other parts of the body.

The back does its job with the help of muscles attached to the vertebrae. These muscles work with the stomach muscles to keep the spinal column in place and keep the back strong.

When you experience back strain or pain, it's usually related to the muscles or ligaments. The pain results from overusing or stretching those muscles or moving them in ways they're not meant to move.

You can injure your back with just one wrong move—the kind of thing that can happen bending over or twisting—or by a buildup of stress on weak muscles.

Protect Employees' Backs

The best way for employees to protect their backs against the many back hazards on the job, and off, is to develop habits that reduce the strain on the back. For example:

  • Slow Down: Back injuries that result from slips, trips, and falls can often be prevented by walking instead of running from place to place. It's also helpful to wear shoes with nonslip soles and, of course, to look where you're going.
  • Stretch First: Your back muscles, and the stomach muscles that help them, benefit from stretching before heavy use. It's a good idea to stretch gently before lifting or other back activity. Gentle stretches at the beginning of the day, and periodically during the day, also help keep your back muscles flexible.
  • Rest Your Back: When you sleep, your back gets a rest from carrying your body around. To give your back the best rest, sleep on a firm mattress. The best sleep positions for your back are on your side with your knees bent or on your back with your knees elevated.
  • Avoid Unnecessary Lifting: Whenever possible, use material-handling equipment—hoists, hand trucks, dollies—rather than your body to lift. And when you transport material on a hand truck, push, don't pull, it.
  • Break Down Large Loads: Into small, manageable pieces.
  • Get Help: From a co-worker when lifting heavy or awkward loads.

Employees should also look for ways to limit the number of times they have to lift. If they plan jobs so that materials and tools have to be moved and placed only once, it means less strain on their backs. And also train them to keep materials on shelves, pallets, or tables at waist height when possible. Lifting from and to that height is less of a strain than a higher or lower placement.

Thanks to BLR Safety Daily Advisor

How to Make Your Boss Adore You and Keep Your Job

  1. Step 1

    Focus on getting the job done right, on schedule, and only work late when you really have to.

    While you may think that by staying late into the evening you're impressing your boss, you could actually be tarnishing your image. When your boss sees you working late or hears you talking about your long hours on the job, he may begin to wonder why you can't get the job done during your regular work hours. Worse yet, he may begin looking at you as "self-serving."

    Believe it or not, your boss wants you to be happy. A happy employee is a loyal employee, who is more prone to produce better work. And a happy employee is one who isn't forced to work day and night.

  2. Step 2

    Remember that your boss is a living, breathing person who has a pulse, and probably a family. In other words, bosses are mere mortals just like you. They too have supervisors they need to answer to, and sometimes can get overwhelmed.

    If you can recognize that your boss may need help from time to time, and you have the ability to offer it, you will definitely notice an improvement in your relationship. The key is to know when to offer help. You don't want your boss thinking you're trying to muscle your way into her position, so play it smart and offer the help when you can tell she needs it most. Sometimes, the smallest gesture (or lack of it) can make a dramatic difference come performance review time.

  3. Step 3

    Just like on the Reality TV show, "Project Runway," in the workplace you're either in or you're out. In a '90s "Harvard Business Review," it was discovered that within five days of meeting, a supervisor will sort employees into two categories: those who are in and those who are out.

    Needless to say, the "ins" typically receive the accolades and promotions. The "outs" will toil endlessly and remain static. If you are currently in the "outs," you need to fix the problem--fast!

    Since your supervisor won't be calling to discuss the issue with you, you need to be proactive and ask to schedule a meeting with him. Talk out your issues and show why you believe you have been mislabeled. Just like when two kids duke it out on the playground, afterward, the two of you will have a new-found respect for each other.

  4. Step 4

    Don't make false promises or sugarcoat things. When your boss asks you a question, give her the facts, even when you know it's not what she wants to hear. An employee who is honest and truthful in every situation, is an employee who will not likely get fired before employees who act otherwise.

    Give it to her straight; don't allow personal feelings about other employees to interfere and don't walk on glass around your boss' feelings. Your boss knows that the truth is what's best for the company, and she'll appreciate your honesty.

  5. Step 5

    Treat your boss like he has all the answers (although you may think you know more about your job than your boss, and in some cases you probably do). Many supervisors like being asked to help solve a particularly difficult dilemma. It boosts their ego to know that only they have the insight to come up with the solution. After all, that's WHY they're the boss!

    Just be careful not to overdo it. If you go to your boss for help with every problem under the sun, you will begin to look like an employee who can't handle his responsibilities. Do your job and ask your boss for help with a difficult problem every once in a while. It shows that you are willing to learn and that you aren't afraid to ask for help from those who "know more" than you do.

  6. Step 6

    Provide relevant information in the format your boss can absorb best. For some, it may be via the printed page, and for others it may be through an email. Some may comprehend the information better through a face-to-face meeting. It may take some time to figure out which avenue your boss prefers her information, but once you know, be sure to use it. And don't be afraid of providing too much information. For most bosses, they can never receive too much information.

  7. Step 7

    Be proactive in your own opportunity for advancement. Take initiative and ask for more responsibility (if you can handle it). Remember, your boss doesn't want to hear false promises. But, if you can manage more responsibility or you want to take a stab at a higher profile job task, ask for it. If you can prove yourself, you'll be making great strides toward a future promotion--and you'll be showing your boss just how valuable you really are.

  8. Step 8

    Be cordial to everyone at work, share a smile and be positive. Nothing can bring a workplace atmosphere down to the ground like a negative person. Nobody wants to hear someone complain all day and nobody wants to look at your scowl all day either. A happy worker makes the workplace a happier environment--and your boss will definitely like having you around.

  9. Step 9

    Dress for success. One way is to dress in a similar manner as your boss. If your boss wears a nicely tailored suit to each board meeting, you should do the same. It builds an instant camaraderie. Just don't try to overshadow your boss by wearing a more expensive suit or clone his look down to the socks! That will definitely work against you. Besides, those socks may have been the only clean ones he could find, and would never be caught dead in them otherwise.

  10. Step 10

    Socialize with your boss, but know your limits. You can initiate an offer by saying to your boss, "Hey, a bunch of us are going to such-and-such for lunch, care to join us?" This will tell the boss that you enjoy her company on a personal level and that you wish to include her in your inner-circle.

    However, if you should come across your boss during off-work hours, it's best to keep your meeting polite, but brief. You don't want to come across as overbearing. Employees who are "too friendly" with their boss are always looked upon negatively by their coworkers and in the eyes of their boss, may appear overeager.

Thanks to eHow

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Workplace Learning - Types Of Anxiety

The young man Shin Dong Hyuk was born and raised in a North Korean prison camp.  When he was 14, his mother and brother tried to escape.  They failed, and so Shin was forced to watch their executions.  His mother was publicly hanged, while his brother was shot nine times.  Shin's indoctrination was such that he felt no pity for them whatsoever.
World-renowned psychologist, Edgar Schein, discovered that there are two types of anxiety associated with learning and development:  Learning Anxiety and Survival Anxiety. 
Learning Anxiety is when people are too afraid to learn something new.  They're scared it might be too difficult; they're fearful it'll fail; and they're worried they'll be perceived as a traitor by the groups in which they belong.  Shin was suffering from extreme learning anxiety because of the total control that the North Korean regime exerted over his whole life.  That's why he reacted so callously to his family's executions.  To change was unfathomable.

Survival Anxiety is when people finally realize that, in order to make it, they have no choice but to change.  By the time he was 22, Shin became the only person to ever escape from that prison camp.  He'd made the decision to get out when a new inmate shared stories of what the outside world was like.  Together, they ran off, and even though his mate became stuck in the electrified fence and died, Shin was able to jump over and defected to the South. 
Behavioral change occurs when survival anxiety is greater than learning anxiety.  There are two ways you can do this.  You can increase your employees' survival anxiety, which includes threats and intimidation to get staff to do what you want.  Or the second option is to decrease their level of learning anxiety, which is the creation of a safe learning environment. 
It's difficult to get rid of learning anxiety entirely, but here's how you can reduce it: 
  • Credibility:  The facilitator needs to be someone believable and trustworthy.
  • Positive Incentives:  Benefits of the training need to be articulated and understood.
  • Group Support:  People are more comfortable learning with their peers.
  • Follow-up:  Training is not enough, so include coaching and other reinforcement.
  • Method:  The training should be tailored to suit every learning style, and just as importantly, the major 'attention styles'.  The two are very different.
Many people are reluctant learners.  They attend training not because they want to, but because they have to.  By reducing their learning anxiety, you give employees one less reason to escape.
Thanks to James Adonis

Did You Know
Almost 75 percent of new graduates say that training and development is the most important factor for them when choosing a new employer. 68 percent even say they'd happily accept less money if it meant they'd get more training.
Source: TMP Worldwide
Thanks to James Adonis
"Learning is a lifetime process, but there comes a time when we must stop adding and start updating." ~~~ Robert Brault
Thanks to James Adonis

How Do You Manage a Workplace Bully?

When you think of health and safety at work, what probably crosses your mind is the use of machinery, ergonomics, and adequate breaks.  But a more prevalent and dangerous beast is increasingly lurking in workplaces: the bully. 

If you've got one in your team, it's unlikely you know about it because to your face they're charming and delightful, but behind your back they torment and torture, leaving co-workers affronted and afraid.

Workplace bullying is a repeated series of actions towards one or more employees that's sometimes aggressive, at other times manipulative, but always causes distress and anxiety. 

One particular study found that over 70 percent of employees admit to having been bullied at some stage in the past.  The problem is widespread and it's possible that your employees are next.

Often the bullying is just verbal.  From insidious insults to humiliating sarcasm, and from abusive language to public put-downs, the words are targeted with the intention to hurt.

Occasionally, the bullying becomes more sinister where the bully will play mind-games and intimidation to wrest control within the team.  What causes the most concern is that the majority of victims either don't do anything about it or they just find a job someplace else, leaving the bully to continue the damage.

The impact on the business is huge.  Increased absenteeism is a certainty as victims dread the thought of going to work where they'll face the bully.  The effect it has on their health reduces their productivity, saps their energy, alters their mood, and costs businesses a lot of money. 

In fact, one study by Work Cover in the ACT found that workplace bullying costs the Australian economy between $6 billion and $13 billion a year.

Pyscholigst Keryl Egan has dentified three types of bullies in the workplace.

The first are the accidental bullies, who respond demandingly and in a blunt manner because they're panicked, rushed, or stressed out. 

The second are the narcissistic bullies, who crave power and will do anything to get it no matter how destructive it is, and have little care for who gets burnt in the process. 

And the third are the serial bullies, who are almost impossible to cure because they're psychotic sociopaths with a relentless and fearless appetite to systemically deceive and destroy.

There are also specific factors that might make your business more conducive to workplace bullying.  Sudden changes and instability, undefined work structures and procedures, and insufficient levels of communication and direction, are all a fertile breeding ground for a bully to emerge.  To eliminate bullying in your workplace, consider the following steps:

1.Openly state that your company will not condone bullying of any kind.

2.Have an anti-bullying policy written down as part of your employee handbook.

3.Prohibit actions like tantrums, screaming, and threats.

4. Make it easy for employees to complain if they're the victim of a bully.

5. Frequently consult employees to see how they're feeling about the workplace.

6. Look out for body language clues that might indicate an employee is a victim.

7. Be cognisant of a spike in absenteeism from an employee who's rarely sick.

8. If you spot a bully, take action immediately.  Don't tolerate it even for a second.

9. When giving a bully feedback, focus on their behaviour, not their personality.

10. Make sure the bully understands the consequences if their behaviour continues.

11. Document all conversations, and if it doesn't stop, consider serious penalties.

12. Remember to be the role model of how you'd like your employees to act.

Moving a bully from one team to another is not a solution, because the bully will just find a new victim in the new surroundings.  Instead, provide coaching, offer counselling, issue written warnings, and eventually if there's no improvement, terminate the bully's employment before other employee resignations take hold.

Keep in mind that workplace bullies are usually your best performers.  They're clever, successful, and highly productive, so this might make you reluctant to deal with their menacing ways. 

But deal with it you must, or else it'll have a larger financial impact on your business down the track.

It's important to note that as an employer, you have a legal duty of care to protect your staff from hazards in the workplace.  One particular hazard that needs to be managed is the risk of staff suffering from an unsupervised workplace bully. 

As Edmund Burke famously said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

Workplace bullying is a problem that can no longer be ignored.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Don't You Just Hate Repeats?

Just Consider How Much Even One Accident Can Affect Your Workplace By:

  • Lowering morale about employer commitment to safety
  • Creating fear about working in unsafe conditions
  • Adding stress from worrying about another accident
  • Breaking confidence in being sure of safe working environment
  • Slowing production
As a supervisor, You Can take Several Steps to Prevent these Negative Effects from Multiplying. Follow these Do's and Don'ts.


  • Make Eliminating Repeat Accidents a Safety Goal. If an incident happens, recommit yourself to safe working habits.
  • Outline steps to reach that goal. The first step is to have no incidents at all. If an incident does occur, subsequent steps include investigating the accident and making specific changes to procedures, tools, or equipment to prevent it from happening again.
  • Communicate the Priority Of this Goal Clearly. Pay attention to daily or weekly safety reports and reminders that keep repeat accidents "in the news" as a major concern in the company.
  • Promote An Accident-free Culture. Be a safety advocate and encourage co-workers not to take shortcuts, use substitute tools, or otherwise increase their risk of accidents.
  • Suggest Rewards As Incentives rather than using punishments and discipline as deterrents. This will make preventing repeat accidents a positive goal rather than a negative experience.
  • Emphasize Hazard Detection. Always be on the lookout for potential safety problems and hazards.

  • Don't Send Mixed Messages about the priority of not repeating accidents. Everyone needs to know that one incident is bad enough, that it is taken very seriously, and that it is the company's top priority to prevent it from happening again.
  • Don't Use Discipline Without Also Offering Help. You know that supervisors need to follow company policy on the consequences of accidents. But also ask them to provide support so you don't have another accident.
  • Don't Lecture. People don't respond well to this method inside or outside the classroom. Lectures don't work because they turn co-workers into passive receptors rather than engaging them in their own safety performance.
  • Don't Blame. Even if you or a co-worker makes a mistake, other contributing factors need to be addressed. The goal is to ultimately fix the problem, not to blackball someone.
  • Don't Assume the Worst Of People, stereotyping them as troublemakers, for example. This assumption can backfire by becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy for the singled-out employee.
  • Don't Give Pep Talks With Simplistic Answers. Actions speak louder than words, so back up encouraging words by making real changes and offers of assistance. 
Why It Matters...

  • Approximately 20% of workers cause 80% of workplace accidents.
  • The high price of even one accident includes direct costs, such as workers' compensation and medical expenses.
  • It also includes indirect costs, such as accident investigations, replacement worker training, replacing damaged equipment, and increased insurance premiums.
Thanks to Safety Daily Advisor

Five Barriers to Change

Familiarize Yourself With these Five Common Barriers to Change So You Can Stay On Track:
1. Ownership: It's easier to pass the buck than to stand up as a leader and take over responsibilities that may not even be yours.
2. Time: Change always takes longer than estimated. Add 50 percent to 100 percent more time to your expectations.
3. Difficulty: When a task appears to be easy, you may set yourself up for disappointment and frustration if you miscalculate the time required to complete it.  Anticipate troubles, and give yourself credit for small victories.
4. Distractions: When the going gets tough, as it will, it's easy to be distracted by competing goals, other interests and priorities.  Anticipate how easily you can become distracted; you'll be amazed at how much easier it is to regain your focus.
5. Maintenance: Once you expend all of the effort needed to achieve a change goal, be willing to face reality.  It takes time for the new to become habitual. Give up too soon, and you're back to square one.  Maintenance requires vigilance and perseverance—more than you may think.
Thanks to Coach John G. Agno

The Aftermath of Childhood Sexual Abuse

People Who Were Sexually Abused As Children May Have Issues With Sexual Dysfunction and Self-destructive Behavior When they Get Older.
Sexual abuse leaves many scars, creating feelings of guilt, anger, and fear that haunt survivors throughout their lives. Adults who have undergone sexual abuse as children commonly experience depression and insomnia. High levels of anxiety in these adults can result in self-destructive behaviors, such as alcoholism or drug abuse, anxiety attacks, and situation-specific anxiety disorders.

The damage extends to the sexual abuse survivor's sense of their own sexuality. Many survivors also have trouble pursuing adult relationships and enjoying sex as an adult. The abuse can color a person's sexuality, preventing the survivor from pursuing a healthy sex life with a loving partner.

Sexual Abuse and Sexual Behaviors

In general, childhood sexual abuse survivors tend to either pursue sex recklessly as adults or to forgo sex completely, says Stephen L. Braveman, MA, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Monterey, Calif., and the western regional representative of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. "They typically wind up with splitting behavior, where things become very black and white," he says. "Either they are very sexually active, or they shut down sexually."

After the Shock of Sexual Abuse

Some of the sexual after-effects of abuse include:

  • Limited ability to feel sexual pleasure or have sex at all.
  • Sexual promiscuity as a way of taking control of their feelings of abuse. Some studies have found that female survivors of sexual abuse are more likely to report having many partners over the prior year.
  • An increased likelihood of engaging in prostitution, unsafe sex, and risky sexual behaviors.
  • A tendency to "disassociate" from the body during sex, going through the motions but without any feeling. "They check out of their body and just wait until it's over," Braveman says.
  • Withdrawal from all social and sexual interactions, leading to isolated and lonely lives.
Sexual Abuse and Relationship Problems

Hidden trauma from childhood sexual abuse also can cause survivors to sabotage relationships, Braveman says. The adult survivor might meet someone and be very playful and sexually active, but then shut down sexually as the relationship proceeds and deepens.

"For most people, when they were abused it wasn't by somebody who jumped out of the bushes, but by somebody they had a trusting, loving relationship [with]," he says. "A sense of trust got merged with a sense of betrayal when it comes to their sexuality. The closer they get to someone, here comes that trust issue. So they pull back emotionally and sexually. It's much easier to end the relationship than deal with the abuse."

Men and women survivors often take different paths when they've become too intimate. "Men tend to shut down their sexual relationship with their partner, and then take their sexuality somewhere else," Braveman says. "Women shut down their sexuality altogether, or they remain sexually active but shut down emotionally."

Therapy for Sexual Abuse

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse do not have to allow the trauma to continue interfering with their lives. If you are a sexual abuse survivor, the first step is to talk with someone about it, either a trusted friend or a counselor. If sex abuse is threatening to destroy your relationship, you should tell your partner about it. Therapy can help you understand the patterns in your life created by the abuse, including the ways it has been affecting your sexuality. Figuring these things out can set you on the path to good sexual health.

20 Bad Boss Behaviors that Drive You Bonkers

Everyone encounters "toxic" bosses, but in this economy, it's something people may just have to deal with. In their new book, Working for You Isn't Working for Me: The Ultimate Guide to Managing Your Boss (Portfolio, September 2009), authors Katherine Crowley (a psychotherapist) and Kathi Elster (a business strategist) help you detect bad behaviors and--luckily--tell you how to reclaim control of the relationship regardless of your rank. Here are the 20 behaviors; your boss may have one--or all.

  1. Chronic Critic: finds fault with everything you do
  2. Rule Changer: keeps changing and rearranging what he or she originally decided
  3. Yeller: explodes without notice and says incriminating things about you
  4. Underminer: will set you up to fail
  5. "I'm Always Right": needs to be considered infallible
  6. "You Threaten Me": takes credit when it's not due
  7. Grandiose: can't see past his or her own ego
  8. Control Freak: micromanages uncontrollably
  9. Love-Struck: can't manage his or her own emotions
  10. Calculating Confidante: has a hidden agenda
  11. Tell-All: makes you his or her captive audience
  12. Liar, Liar: can implicate you in his or her lies
  13. Sacred Cow: not going anywhere; if you challenge you will lose
  14. Checked Out: preoccupied with non-work-related matters
  15. Spineless: incapable of defending anyone
  16. Artful Dodger: afraid of tarnishing his or her perfect image
  17. Junior: many not value your experience
  18. Former Colleague: the balance of power has changed
  19. Unconscious Discriminator: unintentionally expresses bias
  20. Persecutor: targets and torments you
Thanks to HR Strange But True