Stress in the Job

[Post by Chuck Krugh, January 12, 2024]

Every job has stress! I don’t care what level you are in the company or where you work, there is always some level of stress that comes with any job. While the job itself can produce stress, other factors can also contribute to feeling stressed at work. These can include work-related factors such as a difficult co-worker or vendor or equipment or process problems and outside factors like family, other relationships, the weather, our health, the time of year, finances, and many other events in our lives. It can range from minor to overwhelming depending on your situation.

I’m a pretty even-keeled guy; I don’t feel stressed that often, but there are some triggering events that can elevate my stress level. While I’m no expert in stress relief, I want to share a few things that I do to lower my stress when that happens.

Keep a project going in your mind: This is by far my go-to solution. I displace what’s causing me stress in my mind with a few minutes thinking about a project that I’m working on at home. Whether it’s a sewing project, fabrication project or building something, I always have three or four projects top of mind. Typically, these are projects where I have reached a stopping point because of a problem or difficulty. Thinking about one for three to five minutes often does the trick, reducing the stress I feel at that moment.

Talk to other shipbuilders: I really enjoy getting out on the deckplates and talking to all of you. I never know what I’m going to hear or learn, so it is a lot of fun! I really appreciate the realness of the conversations, and they almost always pick me up. You’d be amazed what a friendly exchange can do for your mood and to help keep things in perspective.

Talk about it: As my teammate, my wife is a very thoughtful, intuitive and trusted advisor who has incredible people skills, and her gut reaction is usually spot on. Much like talking to the shipbuilders, I’m not sure what I might hear from my wife (even after all of these years). But we all need someone who will listen and help us see that it may not be as bad or big or difficult as we think it is to find our way through to the other side.

Exercise as often as you can: This one is hard for me because of my schedule, but I try to find windows where I can get some exercise. One thing I know for sure is that I feel better after I run or get a long walk in. I never was a step tracker, but taking a walk is one of the ways I make sure that I keep moving. It may not be as good as a workout, but it does help!

It’s important to realize that stress can inhibit your best performance. Think about it ­– when you are stressed about something, it has a tendency to consume your mind, causing you to lose focus on other things. It can create a dangerous situation – especially if you are working in a safety-sensitive activity or job. I’ll talk more about this in another blog, but I wanted you to think about it.

When you are feeling stressed, try a few of the actions I’ve described to see whether they work for you. If you have some good ideas, please don’t hesitate to share them with me.

See you on the deckplates!

Safely Execute High-Quality Work

President, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works

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