Allan Takes Aim Blog


Posted on: 6 July 2013

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Success = Stress= Psychology

I’ve come to the conclusion that all candidates for parliament should undergo a mandatory psychological examination to see if they can withstand the stress that being a politician often brings. And perhaps candidates for senior positions in the bureaucracy should undergo the same examination because when all is said and done they supply the information that politicians rely on to make their decisions.

It seems logical to me that such examinations should take place because it is now common for candidates applying for senior managerial positions in industry have to face such a test. Not all the tests are carried out face to face but judgment is made on what candidates said in their written application and answers given to question set by psychologists.

Theoretically this is supposed to weed out the wheat from the chaff so avoiding candidates being selected because they are part of the same old boy or old mate network. Unfortunately, it doesn’t avoid the ‘he’s a good bloke’ system. (Bloke, by the way is gender neutral.)

With nature becoming an important aspect of life today and just in case someone sneaks through the psychology test, it’s good to know that according to the experts ‘a return to nature will relieve stress.’ Comforting as the experts assurances are, I wish the experts would do their homework first, before opening their mouths.

But will this action relieve stress? Having now researched the subject intensively, I don’t think returning to nature is the answer. Indeed, as I watch some of the proselytizers, I think some of them need to be tested psychologically, but not necessarily for stress.

On the other hand during my research, so impressed was I with the research of Robert Evans, a Canadian and leading authority on baboons, I feel able to advise the experts that sending people suffering from stress to join the baboons of the Serengeti Plain, the distant cousins we left behind in the evolutionary race, could exacerbate their stress problem.

The fact is, that based on Evan’s research, politicians, senior bureaucrats and senior executives would be mistaken if they thought that joining the baboons would help them. Indeed, according to Evans and a study carried out in the early ‘90s by the Serengeti Consulting Group from Canada, human and baboon society have the same hierarchical structure and contrary to common belief, the people who suffer most from stress are those at the bottom of the heap, not those at the top.

Contrary also to popular belief, the principal cause of stress is not fear of being sacked, the boss bawling you out, or making you look foolish in front of your workmates, it’s the simple fear of being ignored.  And while my research didn’t throw up a definitive cure for stress, I might be able to help you avoid it using the experience of my friend Cedric as an example of what not to do.

Eighteen months ago, Cedric deciding the public service was an honourable occupation, thought he would try and climb to the top instead of just plodding along. To show he meant business, Cedric vowed that from that day on he would get to work on time. He vowed also that before setting off for work and conscious of the fact that, in the course of the day, it was likely he’d meet meet some of his employers (taxpayers) he would shower, shave, put on a clean and ironed shirt, polish his shoes and make sure his trousers were pressed.

Sadly for Cedric, instead of his actions being the first step on what he thought would be the path to success, it led to a nervous breakdown, brought on by stress. And so it was that during the morning on the first day of Cedric’s new, “I mean business,” program, the secretary of the department called in at the office where Cedric worked.

On previous occasions when the secretary had called he had noticed Cedric and nodded to him. On this day thought Cedric, the secretary seeing him dressed and looking as if he meant to work, not the usual public service garb of T-shirt, jeans and runners, would mark his card for promotion.

Cedric might as well have dressed in mini-skirt, low cut blouse, high heels, put on a blond wig and false eyelashes (in fact it might have been better for him if he had) because despite all his efforts he was still ignored. And the more he was ignored the more stressed he became to the extent that visiting his distant cousins would be ill advised.

Comment welcome.

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1 Response to "Success=Stress-Psychology"

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