Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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Are You in a Madness Zone?

-How can you tell if you're working in the midst of madness? Do you feel as though you've fallen down Alice in Wonderland's rabbit hole each time you step into the office?

A lot of workplaces do feel that way, and that's why business consultant Nancy Slomowitz wrote Work Zone Madness: Surviving and Rising Above Workplace Dysfunction.

Here are some recognizable symptoms of Work Zone Madness that may appear around your desk:
* Your boss would answer, "No" to the question, "Would I like to work for someone like me?" 
* Your work site is configured to better serve the needs of cattle, not people.  You fight for cubicle elbowroom with your colleagues and need white noise in earphones to hear yourself think.
* Nobody around you seems too concerned that the financial data your company needs to make sound business decisions, flawed from the point of entry (called "garbage-in-garbage-out") and mushroom easily into crisis.  Fancy PowerPoint presentations paint a happy but vapid façade. Things appear too good to be true (and they aren't). 
* "There's no such thing as a bargain" is something your management hasn't fathomed yet.  Examples include hiring the cheap, disposable and under-qualified and offering them little or no training; making unwise cuts to overhead that compromise vital operating systems and eliminate vital checks and balances; relying too heavily on software with wishful thinking and without proper human oversight; and the list goes on.
* You need body armor to deal with a war zone of infighting, finger-pointing, turf battles between power-hungry egos and raging maniacs who misuse a lot of time and energy trying to make life hell for their co-workers. 
.  Some fixes Slomowitz describes require a commitment to fundamentally change the parts of the corporate culture that are clearly not working. But too many companies have departed from "doing the right thing" and over-emphasize growth and short-term shareholder rewards above the quality of their work and the satisfaction of their customers and employees. If that's the case in yours -you may want to get that resume in order. ###


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