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ASK MERRILY/Big Challenge at Work

Merrily Preston
By Merrily Preston
Posted on Mar 03,2009
Filed Under Personal Development , Opinions,

Dear Merrily,

I have a very big challenge at work. I work in a room of 5 men; two are hugely unhappy with life. They complain loudly and swear all day long, which wears on me. I have used every trick in my book to stay sane and "enjoy" being there. All of us are on 1-year contracts, so this situation is dynamic anyway.

Finally, I revealed my stress to my lead, and things have improved. Some days are great, some are more challenging. The satisfaction I derive in being able to keep on taking care o f my family drives me every day.

Dear Big Challenge,

It is good that you are able to see the big picture and keep going.  Some days are great, others are challenging.  That’s the way life is, isn’t it?  

Possibly your real challenge (disguised as 2 loudly, unhappy men) is to unearth a painful boulder lodged in your heart.  

Curiosity could transform this situation into a meaningful opportunity.  

Why has life put you in a room with 2 hugely, unhappy men for a year?

Why are you stressed when they are complaining or swearing?

Can you tell them yourself, “Enough is enough already!”

Was there a major person in your early life whose unhappiness caused stress?

Refer to my column Plenum Dilemma for help with these or your own questions.

If you find the courage to process your real challenge, you could learn to be present and stress-free in the company of loudly, unhappy people.  Admittedly a tough assignment – one for which you may recruit help.

On the other side of the coin you are teaching them by example how to stay sane and enjoy the day.  Your presence is changing them.

Do you have a shirt with Carpe Diem on it?

Merrily Preston is an Intentional Life Facilitator, who lives in Woodbridge. Her column is exclusive to Local Kicks in Alexandria, VA. Email questions to, or use online form at

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