New study says half of Americans find job 'unpleasant'

TAMPA, Fla. - Karen White, a Tampa businesswoman, can relate to the 55 percent of Americans who find their job to be 'unpleasant'.

"A few years ago," says White, "I actually had a woman change her clothes in my cube." Keep in mind: White was still in the cube, too. "Yep, she pulled her pants down, changed her clothes...It was my boss."

That 55 percent number comes from a startling new joint study from Harvard, UCLA and Rand Corp. Twenty percent of those surveyed said their jobs were worse than unpleasant; they were threatening, hostile.

A frequent problem is a difficult, stressful coworker: the office bully, the office jerk... or maybe even a boss with no pants.

Before going to your boss or even HR, you can try and manage your workplace relationships:

  1. Be honest and open with difficult coworkers. Keep it brief, use humor, but let them know how you feel.
  2. Try "befriending" the office bully: smiles, compliments, even try asking for favors. Try and flip the script, change the pattern of annoyance.
  3. Change your real estate. One woman we talked to is a project manager for a Tampa construction firm. She was being irked by constant office chitchat. She let her coworkers know that she didn't like it -- then she moved across the office.
  4. Realize that it's not you -- it's them. The office bully isn't acting out because of you. Try to understand why they're doing this.
  5. If all else fails, it may be time to speak to someone in upper-management.
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