Second that emotionThe prevailing attitude in the American...


July 01, 1991

Second that emotion

The prevailing attitude in the American workplace is that emotions should be checked at the door, but the authors of a newly published book say we shouldn't feel embarrassed by our emotions -- even at the office.

In the book, "Working Up a Storm" (Ivy Books, $4.95), authors Jeanne M. Plas and Kathleen V. Hoover-Dempsey, associate professors of psychology at Vanderbilt University, argue that "the real issue is not whether emotions belong on the job but how people can make emotions work for them rather than against them."

The ingrained corporate belief that displays of tears and angehave no place in the workplace is starting to change, Ms. Plas said. "I would guess that within 15 to 20 years there will be a remarkable change in the American workplace in how we deal with emotions," she said.

Some human resources consultants are doubtful. Morris Sullivan, owner of Rational Performance Management in Orlando, Fla., says:

"One of the things I found problematic about the book was that it doesn't really tell you what to do about emotions," he said. "It says, learn what the patterns of anger are and pick one that works best for you." Instead, he says, individuals should develop new ways of thinking so that they won't respond to work situations with full-blown anger or tears in the first place.

Stress sweepstakes

Here are the 20 most stressful jobs according to Men's Health magazine. Factors included degree of danger, number of deadlines, amount of competition and degree of job control, defined as whether the job carries a lot more responsibility than authority. Job stress scores are in descending order.

Inner-city schoolteacher 25

2. Police officer 25

3. Air traffic controller 23

4. Medical intern 23

5. Firefighter 23

6. Waiter 23

7. Assembly-line worker 23

8. Customer service rep. 22

9. Securities trader 21

10. Newspaper editor 21

11. Advertising executive 21

12. Public relations specialist 21

13. Middle-level manager 18

14. Salesperson 18

15. Attorney 18

16. Urban bus driver 17

17. Roofer 17

18. Real estate agent 17

19. Politician 17

20. Banker 16

The magazine suggests that if you're looking for less stressfuwork, try one of the following careers: forest ranger, artisan, musical instrument repairer, architect, natural scientist, industrial machine repair technician, actuary, piano tuner, barber or librarian.

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