NOV 2013

EyeWorld is the official news magazine of the American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery.

Issue link: https://digital.eyeworld.org/i/220233

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Healing a broken relationship at work by Erick Lauber, PhD Healing a broken relationship M aybe you have a broken leg at work. I don't mean the physical kind—the type where you see a doctor and try to stay off of it for a while. That kind will heal in a few weeks all by itself. I mean the broken relationship kind— the type that's much harder to heal, keeps you awake at night, and can end up making you unproductive for years if it isn't fixed. But a broken relationship at work is a lot like a broken leg. It can make you avoid certain places or take a different route in and out of your office. It can dominate your conversations with friends and make your spouse wish you would just shut up about it. Broken work relationships make you less productive and tempt you to overdo the "pain medication," despite how dangerous you know that is. Unfortunately, the risks of not treating your broken relationship are also like having a broken leg. It can become an ever-increasing problem or infection. It might change how you act in the future, making you a bit gun-shy and eager to avoid another broken leg. The broken relationship might even wear you out emotionally and physically, so much so that you just want to escape and maybe accept any offer to change jobs. You might think that it makes sense to go back and examine how your leg or relationship became so broken. Thoughts like "What did I do so wrong?" and "How could this happen to me?" might float through your head. But how it broke isn't nearly as important as how you respond. So what can you do about your broken relationship at work? Is there a way to avoid being one of those martyrs who in some weird way seems to enjoy having a broken relationship? Fortunately, there is. But, like a broken leg, it will take some uncomfortable work. 1. Choose to heal. The first thing that must be done is to approach the situation correctly. You have to make a choice: Is this thing going to heal and get better or is it going to be a pain forever? This choice is completely under your control and it really matters which option you choose. For example, martyrs won't listen to any advice, even from professionals. They don't believe the relationship will get any better so they won't try anything. They stick to complaining as their only "therapy." But healers work toward a solution. They try things, they ask for advice. They refuse to accept that the future has to look like the present. They believe. 2. Avoid "compensatory" behaviors or workarounds. For example, those who don't believe a relationship will get any better start to work around it. These are called "compensatory behaviors" because the person is "compensating" for the deficient limb or process. This can be a problem; first, because it puts extra strain on the other parts of someone's life. Long-term problems can develop in those relationships that have to bear the extra continued on page 26 December 2013 • Ophthalmology Business 25

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