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Pressure pressure pressure

  1. Sep 12, 2005 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    Pressure pressure pressure!!!

    When do you feel it? How do you react?

    I do extremely well in certain situations, such as when troubleshooting a system failure or problem, but the slow boil as a work deadline for programming and integration [office work] approaches can be gut wrenching. Often I am handed what is known in the industry as a fuster cluck [sort of] and am often left holding the bag for every error that has even been made by any one one of ten or twenty people, or more, anytime over the last days, to years. Sometimes the inability to connect the dots on a project due, late on a Sunday night, can just about cause me to stroke out. Last night this happened - it got away from me a little. Before I got ahold of my emotions, I could feel muscles tightening as a sense of panic started setting in. Before long it felt like my head might just explode at any moment, which can be quite messy, but when I felt the pounding in the front of my head, something that I have learned to recognize as a signal that things are getting out of control, I forced myself to back off the juice and calm down.

    In this case, as it turned out, I cried uncle and started an email explaining that I was not ready [I knew that they weren't yet either but I was supposed to be done] and I began to relax as my list of problems and discontinuities grew larger and larger with every passing moment. This morning, having read my email, everyone is apologizing to me for all of the screw-ups and bad information. :yuck: Thank God!!! As a private consultant and programmer, my liability can be pretty high on big projects.

    Anyway, that's my weak spot - the slow boil. It can definitely get the best of me at times.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 12, 2005 #2

    matthyaouw

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    I respond quite badly to pressure. I should probably say no more.
     
  4. Sep 12, 2005 #3

    EL

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    I don't like it, but it seems I need it to get something done...
     
  5. Sep 12, 2005 #4

    BobG

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    I like pressure. About the only thing I don't like is waiting on somebody else to give you something you critically need in order to meet your own deadline. But, once it's in, I can work in a pretty good mood even if it's put me in a time crunch.

    I especially like the jobs where nobody even knows what questions to ask, let alone how to get an acceptable result. In a way, there's less pressure when any result short of disaster is considered good.
     
  6. Sep 12, 2005 #5

    wolram

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    Stop fussing Ivan i know you are the best in your feild, just chill out, and cuddle
    up to Tsu, now that is better is it not??
     
  7. Sep 12, 2005 #6
    But keep your hands where we can see them, this is a familly site!
     
  8. Sep 12, 2005 #7

    Moonbear

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    That's where I run into trouble too, when more and more keeps getting piled on at a faster rate than I can complete projects. My general tendency doesn't help, because I start to just withdraw from wanting to be around people when that happens, but that's when I most need to have someone around who I can vent to so I don't completely explode. But, withdrawing is sort of a learned response...I used to just get insufferably b****y and snapped at everyone over every little thing when I was under a lot of pressure. I've learned not to snap at them, but that's easiest done if I'm just not around people. But that only happens under the most extreme stress (like last month just before I moved...I thought I was going to implode from everything I had weighing on me that needed to get done before moving...I have been sleeping VERY well ever since moving into the new place because I'm still catching up on all those sleepless nights just before I moved when the lists of things that still needed to be completed were racing through my mind every night).
     
  9. Sep 12, 2005 #8

    Astronuc

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    Those two middle paragraphs pretty much describe situations in which I sometimes find myself. In the past, it was usually a senior manager promising the impossible to a client, and then me figuring out how to do it. :biggrin: And sometimes it was me taking a really screwed up project and cleaning up the mess.

    Fuster cluck, eh? I guess that's putting it politely. :biggrin:

    I can thrive on pressure, if I don't find myself taking a wrong turn and hitting a bumpy road or dead end.

    I do find myself in a slow boil sometimes. Then I have to walk away, forget about it, and clear my mind.
     
  10. Sep 12, 2005 #9

    russ_watters

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    People get mad at me or suspicious of me because I don't respond to pressure situations.
     
  11. Sep 12, 2005 #10
    Time will tell :uhh:
     
  12. Sep 13, 2005 #11

    Ivan Seeking

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    I would expect so. Most people want to know that you give a damn.
     
  13. Sep 13, 2005 #12

    Mk

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    Hello! I am a serial killer! :smile:
     
  14. Sep 13, 2005 #13

    honestrosewater

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    I'm usually fine in 'high-pressure' situations; job interviews, taking tests, super busy at work, etc. It's the preparation for and worrying about them that drains me. That is, I feel the pressure before and/or after I perform, but I'm cool while performing. I need to get my hands on some of those chill pills people are always talking about. Anyone 'know somebody'? :wink:
     
  15. Sep 13, 2005 #14

    dduardo

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    I thought Steve Balmer was posting on GD. Steve is under alot of pressure because his employees are going to Google.

    http://news.com.com/Court+docs+Ballmer+vowed+to+kill+Google/2100-1014_3-5846243.html?tag=nefd.top

    "In a sworn statement made public Friday, Mark Lucovsky, another Microsoft senior engineer who left for Google in November 2004, recounted Ballmer's angry reaction when Lucovsky told Ballmer he was going to work for the search engine company.

    "At some point in the conversation, Mr. Ballmer said: 'Just tell me it's not Google,'" Lucovosky said in his statement. Lucovosky replied that he was joining Google.

    "At that point, Mr. Ballmer picked up a chair and threw it across the room hitting a table in his office," Lucovosky recounted, adding that Ballmer then launched into a tirade about Google CEO Eric Schmidt. "I'm going to f***ing bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I'm going to f***ing kill Google.""

    His new war cry is: Developers, Developers, Developers...please come back.
     
  16. Sep 13, 2005 #15

    russ_watters

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    It has nothing to do with caring. Most of the typical responses to pressure are not helpful, so it is better to not have them. That's kinda the point of military basic training - to condition you against losing your cool and becoming useless in a pressure situation. Ie, while a little turbulence turns most people in an airliner to blubber, the pilots are up front, cool as a cucumber. It isn't because they don't care, its because they are professionals.

    These days, most of the pressure situations I get into involve being out-of-my-leage in meetings. My boss has a tendancy throw me in the water to see if I can swim. Not responding to the pressure equals professionalism and respect. The time when people get mad about it or afraid of the situations is when they lose their cool, and I don't.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2005
  17. Sep 13, 2005 #16

    Moonbear

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    Oh, I see. You're using "responding" differently than I would (and I suspect Ivan does based on his reaction). Losing your cool, panicking, bursting into tears, etc., is responding poorly to pressure (or just plain crumbling under pressure), and is completely unhelpful. Keeping focused on task, not letting your emotions interfere with your thinking, providing an outward appearance of calm to reassure others even if your gut is crawling, etc, is a good response to pressure. You're still responding to the situation and getting things done.
     
  18. Sep 13, 2005 #17

    BobG

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    Or a postal worker. :rofl:
     
  19. Sep 13, 2005 #18

    BobG

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    Early on, the preparation is the only thing that ever got me through pressure situations. As long as I have something else to try, I don't get too intimidated. My worst fear was hitting a dead end where I couldn't think of anything to do.

    I think I'm naturally averse to pressure and to any kind of risk in general (risk of failure and humiliation included). I think it took both pressure and building a record of success to push me closer to working at my full potential. I would say I'm still pretty averse to risk, but it's more that I focus on making darn sure the critical parts don't fail than being afraid of them.
     
  20. Sep 13, 2005 #19

    russ_watters

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    Perhaps - I tend to think that there is no such thing as a positive response to pressure. Ivan's post was pretty much entirely about negative responses he had to pressure. (edit: caveat) ie:
    But that's just doing your job, whether pressure is involved or not. The big issue with pressure is if it changes how you do your job. Ie if a meeting is going well and suddenly someone starts raising their voice, you continue to focus on the task by not responding to the pressure - by not raising your voice in response - by continuing to do what you were doing before. When pressure starts to build and your blood pressure doesn't rise, thats a non-response.

    In any case, I understand what you mean now, even if we are talking about two different things.

    (edit:caveat) Stress triggers certain biological responses that can help deal with danger (you're the biologist though - I'm sure you know more about the physical responses than I do). Adrenaline, for example. However, I don't think that those biological responses are typically helpful in the type of stress that most humans see. I see shaky, tingling hands (adrenaline shock?) and a knot in your throat as a purely physical/biological response that for people in white-collar stress situations are utterly useless and even harmful. Now if you're a fire fighter or a soldier, those physical responses to physical danger could be useful - but even then, our best weapon is our brains and those physical responses intefere with its operation. That's why the the military doesn't teach people to go berserk in danger situations, it teaches them to remain calm.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2005
  21. Sep 13, 2005 #20

    Moonbear

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    Yeah, the whole "fight or flight" response doesn't work so well when you're sitting in an office with the work piling higher and higher and there is noone to fight and nowhere to flee. And, I do think it's a complete over-reaction to situations like that. I have relatives like that (we probably all do...or know someone who fits the description), who are CONSTANTLY complaining about how stressful this or that is, and I have no sympathy. Aw, gee, you're busy at work, isn't that why they call it "work" and why you get paid to do it? :biggrin:

    I can usually trace most of my reaction to stress to the accompanying sleep deprivation. It probably isn't correct to call it stress, I should just call it the sleep deprivation that it is. That's the irritability and withdrawing from being around people part.

    But, then the adrenaline rush sometimes is helpful when there is a physical component like that (no sleep for 3 days to meet a critical deadline), because it just keeps you going.

    Beyond that issue, when I really get stressed to the point where I feel like I am on the verge of "losing it" is when too many things are outside of my control. I can cope very well if I am responsible for things and if something doesn't go well, I have the ability to fix it. It's when I'm at a point where someone else takes over and I just have to sit and wait for them to do their part that I go nuts. I don't have an easy time trusting other people to do their job when it's down to the wire and their job affects my job, especially if I don't supervise them, so have no authority to kick their butt into gear for them. I'm not very good at just sitting back and saying, "It's out of my hands now," because I still feel personally responsible for a project I'm doing, even if it's someone else's screw up.
     
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