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Working With You is Killing Me: Freeing Yourself from Emotional Traps at Work Hardcover – March 7, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0446576741 ISBN-10: 0446576743 Edition: First Edition
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For anyone trapped in an energy-zapping relationship with a co-worker, boss or subordinate, Crowley and Elster offer an exit strategy—a highly practical and easily implemented guide to making the situation workable. Looking at the workplace from every employee's perspective, Crowley, a Harvard-trained psychotherapist, and Elster, an entrepreneurial consultant, have created a book as valuable to readers on the top rungs of the corporate ladder as it is to those near the bottom. Readers in the throes of a work crisis can find a relevant case study to lead them to relief from any situation. Whether the problem's a charming and demanding boss, dealing with a saboteur or addressing one's own inclination to play the office martyr, the authors offer frameworks for breaking down the conflict and achieving détente. They even detail the inevitable verbal confrontation. Supervisors are provided suggestions for "parenting" employees who chronically underachieve or disappoint to help them live up to expectation, or at least their job descriptions. This empowering book delivers a sense of control over nasty workplace situations. It may also offer the answer to high job turnover. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

"I don't want to quit my job; I want to quit my manager (or coworker)." If this statement rings true to you, then this guide is exactly what you need to separate yourself from the toxic relationship that is ruining your job. The authors call the experience of being caught in an emotionally distressing situation at work being "hooked," and they provide tools to unhook physically, mentally, and emotionally. They define some of the roles that we play, such as hero, caretaker, rebel, martyr, peacemaker, or entertainer. Playing a role is a hook, too, because it holds us back from realizing our true potential. We naturally fall into certain roles, and the authors provide ways to break out of our comfort zone to expand and thrive at work. The guide is short on analysis and long on ideas and examples to help you survive in the often-claustrophobic space called "the office." Harvard-trained psychotherapist Crowley and small-business expert Elster are published authors, educators, consultants, and seasoned guides in the area of professional fulfillment through self-awareness. David Siegfried
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Business Plus; First Edition edition (March 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446576743
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446576741
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #144,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on March 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
How often has someone you work with driven you completely up the wall, and you swear you can't take it anymore? What's the matter with them, you mutter, why can't they just change so they aren't so annoying? Perhaps it is time to rethink things.

Let's face it, they aren't ever going to change, so instead, why not change your reaction to their maddening behavior? Or maybe the problem isn't your nutty co-worker or boss. Did you ever stop to

think that you might just be your own worst enemy at work by dint of your irritating quirks?

Whatever your work situation, this book has with not only the symptoms but also the cure for what ails you. The authors use questionnaires, anecdotes, and specific scenarios to come up with solutions to various work situations.

Katherine Crowley, a Harvard-trained psychotherapist, and Kathi Elster, a small business expert, combined their expertise in this book.

Each chapter describes the problem behavior, how you might be

exacerbating the problem, and actions you can take to change your

reaction to the behavior and thereby create a different result. The

authors believe that the one factor having the most impact on a satisfying work environment is being able to master your state of mind, and after reading this book, I agree.

They describe emotional "hooks" and delineate steps you can take to "unhook" yourself, along with setting boundaries at work.

They describe the "Fatal Attractions," who suck you into their webs: the exploder, the empty pit, saboteur, pedestal smasher, and the chip-on-the-shoulder, all of whom make life miserable.

But managers also have their own crosses to bear in the form of parenting their recalcitrant charges, the employees, a.k.a.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Caroline W. Melberg on December 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Having worked in the wireless industry for over 16 years, I was immediately drawn to the title of this book. Upon further thought though, the appeal of this book for me has less to do with wireless and more to do with the variety of different personalities I've encountered in my professional life - regardless of the industry.

A lot of books offer advice on how to deal with difficult people - particularly in personal relationships. This book takes a turn at helping people learn to cope with the personalities they have to deal with at work. Katherine Crowley is a psychotherapist and Kathi Elster is a small business expert; together they describe themselves as "undercover business therapists." While their focus on professional relationships is new, their message is familiar - "you can't change other people's behavior, but you can change your reaction to it."

Unhooking is the Key

The authors explain that changing your reaction starts with finding ways to "unhook" yourself from the situation, and they give specific examples of ways to tell - both physically and emotionally - whether you are 'hooked". Symptoms include headaches and fatigue, anger, depression and forgetfulness. Their "Four Pronged Unhooking Technique" is simple and is good, practical advice for anyone dealing with difficult people at work.

Not all Theory

While a lot of books give you theories on dealing with others, "Working With You is Killing Me" gives tips and examples on how to use the technique in real life business situations. And they don't assume it's only co-workers who drive you nuts: tips for obnoxious bosses are also presented.
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31 of 39 people found the following review helpful By James A. Hatherley on March 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is a lot to like about "Working With You Is Killing Me."

The authors use their years of business experience to cleverly categorize a number of boss types, work methods, co-worker habits, attitude issues, leadership styles et als. that are harmful to your working experience - and offer the means to overcome ("unhook from") them, often beginning with a massage, or a run, or walking the dog, or getting a facial to purge bad karma and rethink potential options. Putting a form of scientific method to resolving work related problems - including the reader's assessment of their own role in the problem - is a big part of the text. It provides an organized and controllable process to attempt issue resolution.

For me, the best part of the book, however, was the subject of "Managing Up," in which the authors urge their readers to take more control over their disappointing managers by using that same scientific method to manage them to preferred solutions. Good advice.

And, there are a number of self-help exercises to assess your fit with Corporate Culture, or to determine if you are hooked (emotionally distressed) by a "Fatal Attraction"-type manager etc. Again - good stuff and helpful to think about for many people, particularly the less experience workforce.

Still, I was caught in a bit of a dilemma. The book is written from the point of view of what do you do when someone else is causing emotional discomfort to you - as if you are the center of the universe. OK - that's why you bought the book. But, survey results from reputable researchers show that the primary reason for people remaining with their jobs is that they like their co-workers. Even more than their commitment to the work they do, they begin with liking their co-workers.
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