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‘Putting on a tough front’

Jack was a tradie, a man who worked in the tough environment of the building trade.

In the workplace, there was a culture of not whingeing, ignoring whatever was troubling you and putting on a tough front.

Jack’s way of unwinding at the end of the day was to have a few beers when he got home. He realised he was having more beers and more than he should.

He’d also not had a real holiday for some years, always finding excuses to not take time off and re-charge his batteries.

To make matters worse, he had a boss who would phone or text-message him about work related matters in the evening, after the work day should have ended.

Realising he was spitting the dummy too often, particularly at home, he went looking for a psychologist who was right for him. This psychologist specialised in workplace stress, particular in manual labour environments, and also offered out of business hours and weekend appointments. The psych also seemed to have a bit of life experience so they wouldn’t be shocked by the occasional colourful language.

Jack also liked the idea that this would be a person who was a few steps removed from his day-to-day life and could help him see the wood for the trees. Being a professional himself, Jack also liked the idea that he’d be talking to a professional too, just someone whose profession wasn’t bricks and mortar but human behaviour. It was an additional plus that their conversations would be confidential.

Jack and the psychologist he’d chosen looked at what steps he could take to get a better work-life balance, like turning off the work mobile phone when he finished work (and being comfortable doing that), planning for a break and developing interests and a broader support network, like a group of mates beyond the pub, and who were separate from his home and work lives.
By Colin, APS Member


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