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April 2014 • The PCB Magazine 59 IS YOUR DAM JOB KILLING YOU? continues Endorphin and dopamine are the selfish chemicals. Endorphins kill pain. When I ride my bike thirty or so miles I get saturated with endorphins, which feels great, until they wear off. This quality of making physical work feel good motivates us to go out and do more hunt- ing. This was a great survival mecha- nism long ago. Today, endorphin provides a way for us to numb pain we might also be experi- encing in the workplace. But if we work out (or work) too much, and don't allow our bodies and minds to rest and recover, cortisol is elevated, which is a killer. There is a fa- mous quote, "any great endur- ance athlete is running away from something." What about dealing with the real problem that is at the source of the pain? Typically, a chronic emo- tional problem requires admit- ting to the problem and seek- ing out other people who can help. When we aren't allowed to, or choose not to do this, we get sick even if we are working out and trying to be healthy. Dopamine is the most well-known chemi- cal on our list. It is our feel-good chemical and it is the reason why addictions are so hard to break. But it is also the chemical that gets re- leased when we accomplish something and feel good about it. So dopamine isn't all bad. For example, before we knew how to farm, raise live stock, and create an abundance of food, do- pamine motivated us to eat even if we weren't hungry. This isn't good for us today. A dopamine high is something we all selfish- ly want. Unfortunately, we can get it in very dan- gerous ways. When we take drugs, we get huge spikes in dopamine. Dopamine is also affected by how we choose to treat the people at work, because one way or the other, we will get it. Understanding the next two chemicals, the "social" chemicals, could be life changing for you, particularly if you believe that most, if not all, people are motivated by self interest only. By the way, there is a name for people that be- have this way and they are called psychopaths. Unfortunately, when you talk to companies that describe what they are looking for in hir- ing a new leader much of what they describe are many of the traits of psychopaths or more formally known as antisocial personality disor- der [1] . If you think I am kidding check out this quote from an article by journalist and entrepreneur Brian Basham: "Beware of cor- porate psychopaths—they are still occupying positions of power…At one major invest- ment bank for which I worked, we used psychometric testing to recruit social psychopaths because their characteristics exactly suited them to senior corporate finance roles." Is it any coincidence that we have had the spectacular rise and fall of companies like Enron, WorldCom or Tyco? What about the banking cri- sis? Were investment firms de- liberately hiring psychopaths? Is it still going on? How about closer to home with our own experiences at work? How many of us can recall a time when we were berated or shamed, collectively or individually, by the so- called leader? There are an encyclopedia's worth of examples I can recall, but I will share just one. A general manager of a very large board shop at the time (now defunct) told me in the hallway that I was too smart for my own good. How was that statement going to help me, help him? Did it make me feel important or did it make me feel ashamed? Did it calm me down or stress me out? Did it build or kill trust? Was it meant to harm or help? There is a study that supports this selfish, psychopathic behavior as being bad to the financial results of a business. Here is the reality, and here is the truth: As healthy people, we aren't wired to be motivated by self-interest only. The social chemicals se- rotonin and oxytocin prove that. Serotonin is the "status" chemical. We get a dose of it when we accomplish something and are appreciated by others. If we merely accomplish something understanding the next two chemicals, the "social" chemicals, could be life changing for you, particularly if you believe that most, if not all, people are motivated by self interest only. By the way, there is a name for people that behave this way and they are called psychopaths. " "

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