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Chapter 1. The Real Story of Anxiety at Work

Chapter 1. The Real Story of Anxiety at Work

"I love brainstorming! Nothing energizes me more than being in a roomful of people calling out ideas—even silly ones."

"If I don't understand something, I ask. There are no stupid questions. Other people are probably wondering the same thing."

"I prefer to do business face to face. The personal touch is always better."

Yeah, right. Sure, there may be millions of people in millions of workplaces out there who would agree with these statements. But not you. Not if work makes you nervous. Brainstorming sessions may cause you to snap shut like a clam, hoping no one will ask you to even give an opinion on someone else's idea, let alone offer one of your own. Asking a question—any question—is too great a risk to take: Surely everyone else knows the answer, or somebody else would be asking. As for doing business face-to-face—well, e-mail, instant messaging, and texting have made that kind of personal contact a thing of the past (and are far more appealing to workplace anxiety sufferers than speaker phones, teleconferencing, and webcams). Recent surveys show that text-messaging is most people's primary—and preferred—way of communicating. Unfortunately, these technological "advances" only enable avoidant behavior—and suck the life out of social skills development for those who are most at risk of workplace and social anxiety. Meeting face-to-face is not just old-fashioned; if you are nervous at work, it feels nothing short of dangerous. What if they see you blush bright red the minute somebody says your name? What if they notice your excessive sweating as you try to explain your concept? What if your mind goes blank and you can't even think of a concept?


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