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A dose of insight

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in Office Politics,Workplace Communication

Sally, a technician for a manufacturer of scientific equipment in Texas, updates us on how a team-oriented workplace has fizzled in recent months.

We’re making some strides working together to improve our production and develop cost-cutting strategies. But it’s like a dark cloud has drifted over this place since my co-workers unfairly tried to pin the blame on me for a malfunction in one of our products.

As much as I try to shake off the yucky feeling of knowing these people ganged up on me to sabotage my reputation, it still lingers. I think about it all the time.

Our company has an EAP (Employee Assistance Program), so I decided to get a referral from my supervisor and see an EAP counselor. The first two sessions were interesting. After explaining how hurt I felt that my peers conspired to make me a scapegoat for their mistakes, I almost started to cry.

The counselor helped me view the situation in a larger perspective. Instead of focusing on my feelings of betrayal, I was told to step into their shoes. I imagined that they were scared about losing their jobs (rumors of layoffs continue to swirl around here).

Intellectually, I know that the current economic environment is causing anxiety that leads people to behave uncharacteristically. But the EAP made me dig deeper and deal with the raw fear that’s gnawing at all of us. Emotionally, everyone’s a basket case. My hurt feelings are really a byproduct of the worst recession in ages.

That may sound obvious. But to me, it was a revelation. In the last few days, I’m really trying to be a lot more accepting of my colleagues and see if I can put this whole episode behind me.


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