Sociology of Stress in Office Settings (#fiction)

brown envelopes in mail box
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The FedEx delivery driver was a little aggressive. I mean she acted like delivering our packages was keeping her from the really important tasks on her list, but we all sort of thought delivering our packages should be the important task on her list, but most of us were too timid to actually say so. In fact, we were pretty deferent.

Except Imogen.

Imogen said, “She might talk to you that way, but she’s not going to try it with me, because I know where she stays. I know where her Daddy goes to church, and I know where she went to school. No sir, she’s not going to come in here talking to me about being stressed.

“Stressed? Black people may have worries that put them in the ground, but they don’t talk about being stressed. ‘Stressed’ is how white people talk, and Black people only talk about stress when they’re talking to white people.

“Make nothing of it. She’ll do what she has to do, and I’ll do what I have to do, and we’ll get our documents on time every day, and everybody will get along just fine.”

And Imogen was right, more or less, as we didn’t have any more big problems in our office. We developed a mutual if grudging respect with our delivery driver, until she was suddenly replaced by a young man that the ladies in office obviously found preferable for reasons I won’t go into.

We heard something about our former driver leaving some pretty important boxes on a loading dock over at the law school without getting any signatures. Someone seemed to think it wasn’t a good idea to leave legal documents unaccounted for, so we got this nice new young man who looked like he knew how to handle all kinds of boxes, or at least that’s what the ladies said.

Randall Horton

A Realist’s Guide to Relieving Stress – Seven Tips for Reducing Tension

  1. Know your limits. If school is too demanding or overwhelming, set aside two hours each day for meditation and exercise.
  2. Learn to say no. If your job is draining too much energy, take an extended vacation or, if that is not possible, start leaving work in the early afternoon to have a walk in a park.
  3. Reduce your to-do list. If unemployment and search for work is stressful, set aside a couple of hours each day for watching a movie and eating snacks.
  4. Stay connected. If you are feeling lonely and unlovable, remember to discuss it with a friend or trusted family member.
  5. Avoid the people who stress you out. If your marriage is creating too much anxiety and uncertainty, abandon your spouse, children, pets, home, and reputation in order to gain some “me time.”
  6. Remember the silver lining. If being ill is stressful, remember to focus on the positive things in your life such as pain reliever and warm blankets.
  7. Focus on the big picture. If a diagnosis of a terminal illness is causing stress, remember it won’t last forever.