MODERN MADNESS: The Emotional Fallout of Success by Douglas LaBier

MODERN MADNESS: The Emotional Fallout of Success

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This seven-year study of career people by psychoanalyst LaBier indicates that otherwise normal men and women can be turned into emotional casualties by the organizations they work for. LaBier contends that a number of organizations reward selfish and antisocial behavior--one-upmanship, ass-kissing, infighting--with promotions and salary increases. If carried over into private life, such behavior can be socially and emotionally debilitating. He has also found that the very ""psychostructures' of some organizations are emotionally unhealthy. When upper management is neurotic or psychotic--prone to bullying, temper tantrums or contradictory directives-everyone in the organization can be put under extreme emotional stress. Interestingly, he has found that it sometimes helps to be basically neurotic or psychotic to thrive in such a work environment. Many young upwardly mobile executives or professionals also find that their talents are underutilized or that their ideals and ethical values are compromised by less-than-admirable corporate goals or practices. On the other hand, some careerists identify completely in terms of their work. Should they be fired, demoted or stalled in their careers, they sometimes fall apart. When these ""working wounded"" take their problems to psychiatric professionals, LaBier claims they usually hit a dead end. The psychiatrist assumes that their problems are rooted in childhood conflicts and seldom considers the patient's working environment. Most working people won't be startled by LaBier's findings, even though (as he claims) they may be news to many psychiatric professionals. He writes compellingly, however, and might convince some of ""the working wounded"" that they're not nuts--but that their work environment is.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1986
Publisher: Addison-Wesley