Do's and Don't's for a Stressful Job Environment

1. Don't talk shop when you socialize. It can be like rubbing salt into an open wound.

2. Work out on a regular basis. Take action in an area you can control, and build up your resiliency to withstand stress.

3. Develop more hobbies and outside interests. If you are passionate about something else, it will counterbalance the negative effects of your work experience.

4. Invest more time and energy in high-quality friendships. This will provide a buffer against those who devalue you in the workplace.

5. Modify any health risk factors you may have. These include hypertension, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, and obesity.

6. Attention, managers: Seek early intervention with your EAP. Look for the telltale signs of employee stress, such as absenteeism, the inability to complete tasks, quarreling with other employees, and poor productivity or work performance.

7. Have your job responsibilities defined upfront. Review your job description with your supervisor(s). Develop/define the essential functions of your job.

8. Use an annual performance review to set realistic goals and objectives.

9. If your immediate supervisor won't help you, begin to walk up the ladder until you get someone to hear you.

10. Attention, men: Women seem to deal with stress on the job much better than men do. Men have not yet learned to break the stereotype that prevents them from learning to express their feelings.

Sources: Howard Eisenberg, Syntrek Inc., Stowe, VT; Dale Block, MD, medical director, Weirton (WV) Steel Corp.