How to Deal with the Catch-22's of Corporate Bureaucracy at Work

Published: 26th March 2010
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Corporate life can take a serious toll on the mind, particularly if you happen to be the one caught amidst the company's hustle and bustle. There are a thousand things that need to be done any given shift, and you'd need at least a shift just to get one of those tasks to be done properly. There are also the occasional added duties of the typical employee, such as the meeting with the boss, rant sessions with fellow employees, and the pressures and responsibilities that the typical worker adds to his already overwhelming set of problems. The need for stress relief is most commonly seen among people who are doing the dry grunt-work of a company, the ones working the trenches at the front lines of the "corporate war."

Of course, a company employee may not necessarily be fighting a "war" against the company's enemies, or business rivals, as the case may be. For anyone who has ever read the novel "Catch-22," the rather daunting concept of a soldier fighting the rigid bureaucracy of his own army is a humorous, unpleasant yet all too realistic storyline. Unfortunately, for some corporate employees, the Catch-22 is an everyday ordeal. They find themselves willing to fight even their own corporate bosses. Even worse is when there is no convenient or regular source of stress relief, which tends to wear down a person's mind and makes the situation much worse. Once a person thinks the situation is getting worse, it inevitably really does become worse, through some dismiss it as a mere quirk of fate. Yes, this sounds terribly pessimistic, but there are several people who go to their jobs day after day --- resigned to go through the daily drudgery.

The fact is, there are always a few disgruntled, disenfranchised, and disillusioned employees who will look at the corporate power structure and only see the Catch-22 bureaucracy. They literally see policies leading them around in circles, with stress relief being just a pipe dream --- with each step leading to the path of madness. Of course, madness is not included as a job skill requirement although in some lines of work that involve creativity, being somewhat "looney" is an unwritten prerequisite.

Dealing with a Catch-22 bureaucracy can be taxing on your mental health, whether you're fighting it or you're trying to work with it. There is ample anecdotal evidence to show that attempting to work within a bureaucracy that keeps on going around in circles can drive employees to develop frequent bouts of nausea. Besides the nausea, chronic fatigue also seems to be a growing problem among employees that attempt to survive in a Catch-22 environment. Mental fatigue is also a problem, as some people tend to spend hours upon hours trying to figure out how to get out of the mess that the company's policies have gotten them into, all the while realizing that any attempt to get out is likely just going to get them deeper into the problem.

Naturally, from a realistic point of view, the above situation is hardly feasible, but if work-related stress and anxiety are not dealt with in a timely and effective manner, it can lead to some unpleasant situations. For the most part, the common reaction when the situations get extreme is to simply try and find a way to escape, or at least get into a position where the bureaucracy is less constrained. In a corporate environment, the former is little more than just removing yourself from the company's employ, and the latter means working within the constraints to get into a position of power. Of course, working twice as hard just to get away from the bureaucracy means the company will be getting more work out of an employee, but not have to pay more. Why does that sound like exactly what your typical corporate slave driver actually wants? If it does start sounding that way, then it is a safe assumption that your stress and anxiety at work has gone past being an anxiety disorder and developed into a full-blown paranoia. Next thing you know, you'll start thinking they're all out to get rid of you.

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