The day after The Guardian published the article, “You’re not alone: how to survive your horrible boss” (about which I wrote last week), Training Journal published this: “How to avoid triggers in the workplace“. Apparently looking to one-up The Guardian on idiocy and infantalism, the Training Journal article suggested taking these four steps:

  1. Take responsibility for developing your own emotional self-awareness.
  2. Control your responses.
  3. Breathe.
  4. Look at things from a new angle.

That’s actually great advice, presuming you’re anywhere between infancy and your freshman year in college. If you haven’t gotten 1-4 down by the time you’re a college sophomore, your prospects for an emotionally and psychologically fulfilling life are somewhere on the Emotional Maturity Curve between Bleak and Fuggedaboudit.

Plan B

Once you’ve successfully negotiated your freshman year — presuming you haven’t attended a liberal college, haven’t had helicopter parents, and/or never received a trophy just for showing up for something — there are two other things you can do to avoid triggers in the workplace and to prevent the myriad traumas they’re likely to yield:

  1. Grow up. Many people seem to overlook this fact. But the simple matter of spending more time on the planet seems to have an ameloriating effect on the ravages of things like bad attitudes, negative comments, the hairy eyeball, and the myriad other things likely to constitute triggers for the excruciatingly sensitive.
  2. Thicken your skin. The market is rife with products intended to fortify the epidermis. Creams, ointments, and other tinctures that contain collagen, retinols (particularly retin-A, an acidic form of vitamin A, which encourages the multiplication of cells), vitamin E, vitamin C, and camellia oil have been demonstrated to thicken skin dramatically.

Plan C

If those two things don’t work, you can always try getting over yourself. That can be a singularly difficult undertaking, particularly for those who suffer chronically from COTUS (Center of the Universe Syndrome). But because getting over yourself precludes you from perceiving yourself as the victim of bad bosses and triggers, the rewards are well worth the effort.

The world and the workplace are less intimidating if you don’t give away your power.

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