Stress in the City


As we move into modern times, we have, along with the benefits, been forced to deal with an emerging trend in the workplace. STRESS. Dealing with idiots, unpaid overtime, an ever increasing workload, watching workmates getting picked off one by one, half hour unpaid lunch breaks and crap coffee in the staff room. Stress.

When you wake up in the morning, how do you feel about going to work?

Recently I left a job. A few days later I received an envelope with my termination payslip and a letter. I opened the letter thinking it would be a reference, thanking me for the hard work, unpaid overtime, never having a sick day and going beyond my scope; taking one for the team. No such luck, it was a warning informing me they had withheld $200 from my final payout until I returned my uniform. Who are these people? Who are these faceless idiots hiding in the bowels of the admin office trying to resurrect policies best left in 1939 Europe? They are idiots.

But I’m not bitter.

What I am, is worried. High stress levels are not good. Especially for men. Men do not have a mechanism that relieves stress before it gets to danger levels. Male stress is more likely to evacuate much like the extraterrestrial in Alien. KA-POW and you have a group exercise in messy.

I can’t claim to have the answers. I’ll admit I do like the odd shandy, but I do employ one mechanism that may help.

In situations of non-idiot related high-stress, like a massive breakdown in a work process, say for instance being in charge of maintenance when the lift fails, the main oven shuts down and a major water pipe fractures just as the sewer blocks. That’s stressful, but to deal with this I would employ what I call the Neil Armstrong Method.

Neil Armstrong was the greatest pilot the world has seen. As he’s approaching the moon for a touchdown he realises the landing site is wrong, he has no way of knowing how deep the dust is covering the surface, alarms are blaring, the manual is as thick as a phone book, he’s running out of time and fuel. And he’s the first person in history to do this.

He doesn’t panic. He assesses the situation. He then creates a plan. He switches to manual, goes with his instincts and lands that baby right on the Moon.


So whenever I’m faced with a workplace situation that is there purely to stress me to the point of an ugly thing popping out of my chest, I take a deep breath and ask myself, what would Neil Armstrong do?

Of course, when you have idiots involved a rational plan is often beyond reach. It’s probably best simply to leave.

Keep calm, till next time. LF





About Author

Leon Fish

Leon fish is well read, well travelled and under educated. He has written for film and television – the highlight being his full-length feature, Bloodspit, which still holds the record as the cheapest Australian film to ever show at the Cannes film festival.

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