Is Your Work Stress Perfect for You?

Sculpture of serpent at Boreggo Springs.

“It’s stressful, but I sort of like,” a friend recently admitted.

She was talking about a work project that had tight deadlines, limited information, and bosses with heavy burdens on their shoulders.

Still,  the edges of her lips curl up a bit. "Yeah, it's a bit of a freak-out show in the office."

"And you like it because ---"?

She was willing to think past the concrete speedbumps and all of the shared complaints whirling around the office, and for a few minutes she focused on the big-picture aspects ofhow the job fed her personality:

  • She was working on something new, which fit her innovative, blank-slate-loving spirit.
  • The mutual lack of information forced more collaboration among different teams, so she was experiencing more collaborative interaction, which is high on her values list.
  • The Private Investigator side of her gets a thrill out of finding answers that are hard to find.
  • She loves the puzzle -- putting together pieces of known quantities and unknown ones into the final product.
  • She loves the surprise element of not knowing how something will turn out -- but she also trusts that it will. And she knows how anchoring her attitude can be to her colleagues and the team.
  • The urgency gives her a greater sense of purpose and fulfillment, especially after a period of downtime. "I feel like I matter just a little bit more," she reasoned. "And it makes all the difference."

We all have our stories of how a challenging project -- that we something call "stressful"-- is perfect for us.

When it's perfect, we can write a list of why it's perfect for us.

And when we see that list, we can move away from the popular cult-of-complaining, and focus on the thrill of the hunt.

After talking out her list, my friend was able to embrace her job challenge more lustily -- rather than making it an under-the-table thrill, and even feeling guilty or perplexed by it.

May your list be with you!