Fight or Fright

Bob Goldman on

Preparation also helps. The need to make a presentation makes many people nervous, especially the people who will have to listen to your presentation. Rehearsing with a friend or a mirror is one way to prepare, though it could provoke more anxiety when the person in the mirror falls asleep before the 126th PowerPoint slide.

Another preparation technique comes from Tufts University psychologist Christopher Willard, who suggests annotating your notes with cues, like "take a deep breath here" and "pause and feel your feet on the ground beneath you."

Personally, I recommend you "pause and feel your feet on the barstool beneath you." In other words, do your practicing with strangers you meet at stuff-your-face-with-wings Wednesdays at The Kit Kat Klub. These discerning individuals will listen to your presentation as long as you buy the Jell-0 shots, which will give you confidence, and a group of brand-new friends to hang with when the real presentation goes south and you get fired.

Breathing is a solution to workplace jitters according to psychologist Susan Orenstein who recommends that you "inhale and push air into your belly and up into your chest, then exhale slowly." This is clearly not going to work for you. Considering the janky junk food you regularly inhale and push into your belly, there is certainly is no room for air.

If you decide that your job jitters are so severe that you have to quit, anxiety expert Christopher Willard recommends "talking to human resources or a supervisor first." It's a reasonable idea, but it's not going to work when the main cause of your anxiety is talking to human resources or a supervisor.

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Clearly, the best cure for workplace anxiety is to stop working. You may start having anxiety over not working, but it won't hurt your job performance because your job will be doing nothing, and you have zero anxiety about doing nothing.

It's the one thing you really do well.


Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at To find out more about Bob Goldman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at



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