Using A Sledgehammer On A Mosquito Of Change

At a program last week I was saddened to hear a program participant tell me that she was having difficulty staying focused at work because a coworker frequently lied to her. When I inquired further, she told me that her manager was investigating the actions of the coworker. The person talking to me was quite disraught and was listing any number of drastic measures she could take like changing jobs or possibly taking two part time jobs to replace her current full time position-all so she would not have to have any contact with the coworker. She even mentioned transferring to another department, but was not sure she would like working in another area.

As our conversation continued she said something very telling-she only wanted to stay in the job a couple of months. She would finish her degree in a few weeks and then was planning on taking a position in another company. At that point I said, "Can you come up with a way to survive for two months?" We then discussed some ways to minimize her exposure in this negative situation.

Confucious was quoted as saying, "Never swat a mosquito with a sledgehammer." In the same way, we need to be careful not to overreact in times of change. Our emotions and desire to avoid conflict can cause us to make rash decisions that have greater negative consequences than simply doing nothing. If the program participant had told me she wanted to stay in the position for a longer period of time our conversation might have been very different. Considering her current plan, however, a fly swatter was more in order.