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people that much power over us is also a mistake since we assume
they can, and will, do us favors if we ask. Often they won't. And
finally, most of us know that calling in a favor can sometimes be
costly. It's not who we know, it's what we know and how we use it
that impresses people and gets us the rewards we desire.
10. It'll never get done right unless I do it myself. This is one of
the cardinal rules followed by most workaholics. It's irrational
because there are many things we're not good at and other people
are. Not using others means that you might do the job more poorly
than they would. It's also irrational because, in any job, doing every-
thing means that you've loaded yourself down with heaps of work
because you don't trust people to do their jobs. Not being able to
delegate is inconsistent with the way most organizations operate, and
it tends to offend people. Further, it's an indication that you think so
little of your co-workers that you dismiss their capabilities—never a
good way to be, in most organizations.
An Example of Brief Counseling
Nelson Byers is a 63-year-old executive in a manufacturing company
who has just been told that, because the company is facing severe finan-
cial problems, he is being giving a generous severance package but will
no longer have a job. Nelson is experiencing anxiety about the future
and depression over the loss of his job well before he thought it was time
to retire. Nelson sought out a licensed psychologist who specializes in
short-term cognitively oriented counseling.
The psychologist explained his approach to Nelson, who thought it made
sense. He also said that he expected Nelson to do a good deal of reading and
that, in any event, he could only provide 10 or fewer sessions. In the type of
help he provided, the person receiving help had to do a lot of the work, so
Nelson shouldn't expect the psychologist to do it for him. The more Nelson
read and asked questions the sooner he'd stop feeling so badly.
The psychologist asked Nelson to discuss his feelings about the loss of
his job. Nelson replied, “I worked my ass off for that company. I put in
longer hours than anyone should ever be asked to work and look what
they did to me.” The following is a verbatim dialogue between Nelson
and the psychologist.
The psychologist asked, “What did they do?”
Nelson (N): “They fired me, for God's sake, the S.O.Bs.”
Psychologist (P): “That's really tough and I can imagine how upsetting
it is after all the years you spent working for the company but isn't the
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