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article imageOp-Ed: Workplace happiness comes from being yourself? Really?

By Paul Wallis     Mar 10, 2019 in Business
Dallas - New US research indicates that people who can be themselves “without stigma” are happier and more productive at work. This may come as big news to those who work in psychotic, counterproductive stress factories.
The research was conducted by Rice University, Texas A&M University, the University of Memphis, Xavier University, Portland State University and the University of California, Berkeley. It’s a somewhat complex, but interesting finding for a global workplace which is basically nuts.
The “be yourself” option was great for “disclosed” personal characteristics like lifestyle, sexual orientation, mental disorders, disabilities and health issues. Those who are able to be themselves within the workplace are far happier, with lower levels of stress. Not having to hide yourself is apparently better all round.
“Observable” issues like race, gender, physical disabilities, and other major characteristics don’t do so well, however, on the same basis. Seems when you’re tagged in the workplace with specific identifiable characteristics, you have to deal with the reaction.
The primitive brutality of the modern workplace
This research highlights one very obvious point well – Surrounded by other people, many hide, and they do so with good reason. Personal priorities may include simple things like not making an issue out of a personal problem, for example. Basic privacy is a pretty convincing reason for non-disclosure of personal characteristics.
What workplace is so well-adjusted that individuals are able to be themselves? Psychopathy in the workplace is well documented. With an estimated 5-25% of managers deemed “psychotic” (really pinned that one down well, guys) and office politics, cliques, claques, clocks, and clueless managerial pets the norm, where the hell did they conduct this research? Disneyland?
Workplace bullying has been at plague levels for decades and still is making headlines every day. I worked in the employment sector on a site based in the EU which had people from around the world. The endless stories of pure hate, bullying, malice, and totally whacko behaviour told a very unambiguous single tale. For gratuitous misery inflicted at work, the US and UK eclipsed all others.
It was like people were being paid to make life unbearable for employees. These employees didn’t have “disclosure issues”. They were simply onsite, being used as targets by their obviously deranged supervisors, colleagues, and managers. Single mothers, in particular, were often singled out for highly disruptive treatment.
In these environments, the survival technique is to keep a low profile, and get out ASAP. Those with major issues would have to disclose nothing at all, beyond the visible. Those without visible issues and disclosures to make would be well advised to disclose nothing.
To give some idea of the scale of the issues, according to figures from memory from back when, the 2000s, 33% of US workers sued their employers, and 75% won their cases. The brutality was rampant, obvious, and unequivocal. It’s the product of a slack, weakling management culture, lack of talent, and a mix of misanthropic and misogynistic cruelty.
These horrible workplaces, of course, are full of conflicts, usually expensive conflicts, dysfunctions, and everything no real manager would tolerate. The maneuvers and lies are all part of the mix, and that’s how so many businesses fall to bits. These workplaces are also great for fraud, theft, and everything which highly distracted managers trying to get things functional can’t always watch.
Take the research further and deeper
I’m not going to knock this research for its findings. It’s not that often that anyone bothers to conduct research regarding what makes a good workplace. Given the prehistoric nature of the average workplace, that’s not too surprising. Nobody cares what makes people in the workforce happy, or has the slightest idea why they should care, most of the time.
If managers are trained to care, or even recognize, the major risks in these dysfunctional workplaces, it’s obviously not a high priority. The train wrecks are universal, and not much gets done, when there are problems.
The subhuman sycophantic rodents running most workplaces certainly don’t care. Most of the sour middle managers and just out of the cookie cutter brats couldn’t care less. The ideas that people might be more productive, or that the workplace would be a better and more efficient place, aren’t even on their maps.
If you want to find out what makes workplaces such hideous experiences, start with the complaints. Get NASA to help with the data load. You’ll see a lot of patterns which any psychologist could identify as major issues. You’ll also see a lot of weakness, managers who can’t cope, and few working mechanisms for managing the eternal fan-hitting of totally unnecessary conflicts in the workspace. Most of these conflicts are caused by those who can get away with causing them, typical office bullies.
In my experience, the only thing which works on these scum is when they recognize high personal risk to themselves. Then, and only then, will they back off. I’m a fairly aggressive type; I had to learn how to handle them, even with a hideous, lethal temper to back me up.
Most people aren’t aggressive in the workplace, and can’t fight back. They don’t know how to deal with psychos and bullies. For all I know, they may even be those actual nice people I keep reading about. One thing for sure, however, is that they’re highly exposed to a vast range of ultra-negative, hostile experiences in the workplace. Go to work on that, and you’ll be heading in to Nobel Prize territory, and it’s long overdue.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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