Monday, March 26, 2012

How Do you Handle Stress

Whether you have a job or not, it is important to network with your peers to stay current,  informed and connected with your industry. People in the technology space often have to do double duty. By that I mean you have to be aware of trends in technology and also remain in tune with changes in your business vertical.

Health care, for example, is undergoing huge changes. New database technologies, imaging, video conferencing or tele-medicine, social networks and mobile computing have been driving development schedules for years. More recently, new legislation and even the pending Supreme Court decision will change all the rules and put even more pressure on the need to change. Later in the year, election results could change it all again.

Just keeping up can lead to high levels of stress on the job. But when you add the anxiety of seeking a new job it can become almost too much to bear.

At our last meeting , the Westport Group, one of the local network support organizations to which I belong, invited Frank Basler to conduct a workshop on managing stress. He introduced us to a short and simple exercise that allowed the participants to discover and share some of their own techniques. The members of this group are all senior managers currently between full time roles. In other words, unemployed.

We were each paired with another member and spent ten minutes or so listening to stories evoked by a carefully designed question. The goal was to talk about stressful situations you have been in and how they were overcome. The departure from the usual lecture or question and answer format was refreshing. It was genuinely nice to just chat with a colleague with whom, in my case, I have spent hours week after week in these meetings for months but never really got to know.

Apart from just discussing the findings of various stress management techniques, we were encouraged to seek other members and have more one on one sessions like this. It turns out leveraging relationships, such as the ones in this group, was high on the list.

Some of the other activities that surfaced included being well organized, taking long walks in the woods perhaps with a pet, working out, and just having patience and confidence in one's abilities. Using humor or doing volunteer work were also suggested. Frank added some other constructive outlets he encountered over the years. There is, of course, no right answer. It's best to do whatever works well for you.

One guy is apparently writing a daily blog. That sounds like a good approach to me.

Captain Joe

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