It's Always Personal: Navigating Emotion in the New Workplace

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9781400067978: It's Always Personal: Navigating Emotion in the New Workplace
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How often have we heard “It’s nothing against you, it’s not personal—it’s just business”? But in fact, at work it’s never just business—it’s always personal. In this groundbreaking look at what’s really going on from 9 to 5—the crying, yelling, and bullying, as well as the friendship and laughter borne of creative collaboration—journalist and former corporate executive Anne Kreamer shows us how to get rational about our emotions, and provides the necessary new tools to flourish in an emotionally charged workplace. 

With women now the majority of the workforce and the lines between office and personal life blurring as never before, the dynamics of work have shifted profoundly. It’s Always Personal combines the latest information on the intricacies of the human brain, candid stories from employees, and the surprising results of two new national surveys, reported here for the first time, which reached out to workers from all walks of life about their emotions on the job.

Both timely and crucial, It’s Always Personal also reveals
 
· a neurological understanding of the six main emotional flashpoints: anger, fear, anxiety, empathy, joy, and crying
· an exploration of why we as a society self-defeatingly regard displays of emotion in the workplace as shameful, and how the different emotional rules applied to men and women affect our modern notions of gender equality
· evidence that suppressing emotions can actually have a negative impact on companies’ bottom lines
· a step-by-step guide for identifying your emotional type: Spouter, Accepter, Believer, or Solver, with appropriate tactics for dealing with that style in a complex work environment
· Emotion Management Toolkits that provide the means to cope with specific emotionally challenging situations

An innovative study of gender, emotion, and power, It’s Always Personal is an essential companion for everyone—managers and employees alike—navigating the often confusing and challenging realities of the contemporary workplace.

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Review:

A Letter from Author Anne Kreamer


© Lucy Andersen
I was told when I started work that if I wanted to be professional, I should never let my feelings show at work--that emotion had nothing to do with success. But somehow once I’d been working for a few years I realized that that advice seemed mainly to apply to women. The well-known chairman of my Fortune 500 entertainment company thought it was completely acceptable to call me up and scream at me because a good deal I’d made had not moved up the price of the company’s stock. He got explosively angry at me, but I certainly didn’t feel like I could reply in kind. So I cried. And felt even worse, but I sucked it up and went on, burying that experience until a few years ago when a former colleague and I were talking about how every woman we knew had had a similar experience. Because of my personal experience I realized I really needed to understand why crying on the job was such a taboo.

That simple question led me on a fascinating journey. Over the course of the last two years I roamed the country talking to dozens of neuroscientists and other experts and more than 200 working Americans, from top corporate CEO’s to waitresses on the Navajo nation to entrepreneurs in their basements, about their feelings--positive, negative, and in between--while on the job. The neuroscience of emotion is an exiting new field and the conversations I had with people confirmed first-hand what the cutting-edge researchers are discovering. People basically fall into two groups, those who cry easily and those who don’t, and women are several times more likely than men to be criers, which makes crying at work even more stressful for women. Nobody likes working with angry people. And all of us are looking for ways to reduce on-the-job anxiety.

Through my own original research with J. Walter Thompson, the largest advertising firm in America, I discovered that a lot more men cry on the job than you’d think, but what really surprised me was there is no “tissue ceiling”--successful people from every level of the professional hierarchy reported that they cried at work. And people who cry at work are not necessarily unhappy in their jobs. I poured through the scientific research and uncovered some remarkable things--like the fact that saleswomen make more sales during the ovulation phase of their cycles, and that the cultivation of positive emotions isn’t some New Age dream but a scientifically proven tool to better problem solving.

Work in America today is fraught--the economy is transformed and precarious, and more is being done by each of us with fewer resources than ever. Simultaneously, with women making up more than half the work force for the first time in history, and with science illuminating more precisely than ever how biology drives behavior, we are at a unique moment for reflection and useful rethinking. With the practical insights I gained in understanding the main emotions we encounter at work--anger, fear, anxiety, joy and empathy--and with the specific tools tailored to each emotional state that I offer to help each of us develop better emotional resiliency, I hope my book inspires you to believe that the more of your authentic emotional self you bring to work the happier and more effective you will be.

About the Author:

Anne Kreamer is the author of Going Gray:What I Learned about Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity and Everything Else that Really Matters, a former executive vice president and worldwide creative director of Nickelodeon, part of the founding team of SPY magazine, and a onetime columnist for both Fast Company and Martha Stewart Living. Her work has appeared in Time, Real Simple, Travel & Leisure, and More. She graduated from Harvard College and lives in Brooklyn with her husband, the writer Kurt Andersen.

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