How to leave work stress/personality conflict at work?

Difficulties at work (a small startup) but also lots of good things. I (along with several other people) are having a personality conflict with one of the people there, and I am letting it get in the way of my personal relationships.

Many things at the company are going great, exciting, starting to get traction in the market, new people coming on who are really making great contributions.

Other things not so great. Personality conflicts, the afforementioned person who is in an ill-defined leadership position, very difficult to work with. Although the organization chart is somewhat fluid, convinced he is everyone’s boss, and people should jump when he says jump.

He reacts to stress by unfairly criticizing everyone else, demanding to be in the middle of decisions that don’t concern him, about issues that he doesn’t understand, demanding overly frequent “updates” that take time and energy away from actually getting the urgent work done. Constantly offering unsolicited (and repetitive) advice about how to work better with people, how to draft diplomatic emails, etc. when all (but him) seem to agree that he is the LAST person who should be offering advice on how to work with people.

My problem is that he is really getting to me, and in turn that is getting in the way of my relationships with girlfriend, family, friends. When I am having a problem, I like to talk it through with friends and family. This can be a good thing at times, but right now people around me are getting sick of hearing me make the same complaints over and over. My girlfriend is feeling bad because she says it hurts her feelings that this is all I ever talk about. I have a really great co worker (one of the new folks mentioned previously who has only been here for 6 months but is already making a HUGE contribution to the company) but I find that she and I spend too much time and energy comisserating.

At work the situation seems to be getting better. The CEO has (on his own) decided to step in and get more involved and sort of removing this difficult guy from the mix.

But I want to focus on my own reaction: how can I get better at leaving all this stuff at work, so I’m not driving my friends and family nuts?

it’s a challenge. i try to have some sort of break/decompression time between work and home. i walk home and usually listen to loud music.

with co-workers or friends/family, say i’ve got to vent for 2 minutes. then vent for 2 minutes and shut up about it already. easier said than done, but otherwise you and co-worker will get into an hour long negative feedback loop that poisens your day and you take it home with you. frankly when dealing with such a dickhead, you can come up with a solution to the peeve of the day in 2 minutes or it’s probably not possible. either way figure out how to get it out of your system and/or resolve it in literally 2 minutes.

Don’t know if you are into yoga or meditation, but the latter has worked for me.

There is also a bizarre DVD of abstract visuals and weirdly pulsating music that “resets” the mind, so to speak. It has about a zillion five star ratings at Amazon. Wait. I’ll check the name…

It’s called AV3x – The Inerscape Adventure.

Join a fight club?

Heh. But seriously, have you considered weightlifting? I shove all my angst, stress and despair in a little box in a corner of my mind and let it all out at the gym to propel my workouts. I’m, like, totally Zen now.

Funny, but I always confront the person with the bad behavior.

It never goes well for me with management, even if everyone else in the office is grateful.

But why in the world should 20 (or more) reasonable, talented, professional people have to suffer in silence while one asshole with no management/social skills is permitted to treat others horribly? I mean look at the stress it’s causing for worker101. And I’m sure he’s (or she’s!) not the only one in the office who feels exactly the same way.

Some agreement with Marge–best way to deal with assholes is just to realise they’re an asshole and everything they say is only worth that much. If what they say is right then good for them, but if they’re just up-chucking garbage then just kind of smile and go away to get back to kicking ass for your company.

First and only way to deal with stress is: Don’t get stressed. Getting stressed helps in no way, anything.

For me (right at the moment anyway), Live Journal seems to be a literal life saver. Could that perhaps help?

Last thing we need is more blogs in the world

to compete for popularity with mine. Teehee.

Thanks everyone, for your responses.

I went to yoga tonight for the first time in a long time, and I think that helped. Also, I talked with my girlfriend about how we could handle all this better. I asked her to tell me next time I’m going on too long about this, BEFORE it starts to drive her crazy.

I’m also doing some more things to address the problem at work, but again, I think it’s also great to think about ways to deal with my reaction to it. Zoe, thanks for the DVD suggestion, I’ll check that out.

You do yoga, so it sounds like you’re not a stranger to the concept of living in the moment. When you’re not at work, why are you renting headspace to a co-worker? Come to think of it, why are you renting him head-space at all? Deal with stuff when it happens, make a plan for next time, then let it go. Here’s a great way to look at just about anything - you can feel bad about it, or you can forget about it - your choice.

I’ll second Zoe’s advice on meditation. Also, long distance running used to work wonders for me. It’s good that you’re talking things out with your girlfriend. More than anything else, communicating with your significant other will help the situation.

My boyfriend and I had a rule that work issues etc stayed out of the house - so when walking home or driving home, we were allowed to bitch as much as we wanted, but it stayed outside. Set your own arbitrary limit - no more than 2minutes as suggested, but the fact is that if you stop yourself talking about it (having provided a small period to vent as required) you’ll find it stops annoying the others around you, and you’ll probably feel better for not stewing on it all evening as well. Also second the advice re exercise - choose your poison and release your tension reguarly this way.

Second this whole-heartedly. That, and keep a journal. Vent everything into that book.

I’m with featherlou. If you’re planning to go home to rant to your girlfriend about the jerk at work, then you’re dwelling on him while you think about the rant. Same thing with LiveJournal or even a paper journal. Why are you wasting so much time on this jerk? Do you really want to spend your commute home composing your next blog entry, stewing in your own rage, when you could be, oh, I dunno, noticing how lovely a day it is outside, or listening to some music you enjoy, or just daydreaming? Do you really want to be hammering away at the keyboard crafting a masterpiece of rage when you could be reading a book, working on some interesting project, or having a meaningful interaction with your girlfriend? As you may have noticed, you hate the guy just as much when you’re done with a rant as when you started, if not more, so you really haven’t made any progress.

I used to think that ranting was cathartic. It’s not. Ranting is a waste of mental and emotional energy. I used to think that ranting to my friends and family, using humor to channel my anger, was an appropriate way to “entertain” them. It’s not. I was a downer and a bore.

Let go of your negativity. The best way to leave your stress at work is stop dwelling on it when you leave. If you find your mind returning to the stress of the day, just laugh how silly you’re being, to obsess over this idiot, and remember that your evenings are your own, and you are free to choose something pleasant to think about, instead.