Q: Sometimes I get exhausted dealing with people issues at work. Other people don't seem to find office politics so tiring. Am I just a...

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Q:
Sometimes I get exhausted dealing with people issues at work. Other people don’t seem to find office politics so tiring. Am I just a wimp?

A:
Despite those books that promise a “five-second solution to life,” the truth is that people can be annoying and that life is hard. The reason you believe other people don’t find workplace politics tiring is that you don’t know them well enough.

Our emotional resilience at work runs in cycles. Some days we feel vulnerable and may think being in a sterile bubble would be a great idea. At other times people can cough, sneeze and drool on us, and we feel fine.

Noticing you get exhausted dealing with people at work makes you human, not a wimp. People are like the tide: Some days our energy is coming in and we can take on the world; on other days our energy is going out and we just want to lie on a beach.

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Give yourself room to let your tide go out, to rest and withdraw if you need to. You’ll recharge more quickly if you accept your cycles as normal rather than worrying that something is wrong with you.

To speed up your recharge time, think seriously about what’s bothering you at work. Sometimes exhaustion is a signal you need to set better limits, speak up or change a pattern of behavior. Sometimes exhaustion is an ally that points out an area of our life that needs to be cleaned up.

When my clients complain of being tired and unable to function in their usual manner, I remind them that exhaustion can encourage change. When we don’t have our usual energy, we have to find streamlined approaches to problems.

In mathematics, practitioners talk about “elegant” solutions. Elegant solutions don’t wear pearl earrings but are ways of solving problems in the simplest manner.

Experiment with allowing your exhaustion to encourage you to find the elegant solutions at work. Sometimes the best answers are the simplest.

The last word(s)

Q:
Is it impractical to do something creative for money? I’d like to be an artist.

A:
If you love art enough to support it with a day job — yes. Your emotional paycheck will be priceless, and if you love something this much you’re bound to get good enough to be paid for your efforts.

Daneen Skube, Ph.D., can be reached at 1420 N.W. Gilman Blvd., No. 2845, Issaquah, WA 98027-7001; by e-mail at interpersonaledge@comcast.net; or at www.interpersonaledge.com. Sorry, no personal replies. To read other Daneen Skube columns, go to www.seattletimes.com/daneenskube.