Paranoia is a sad and serious condition. The dictionary definition of paranoia is “an unrelenting mistrust and suspicion of others, even when there is no reason to be suspicious”. What I am seeing in the work environment is a quiet paranoia. You see there are ample reasons to be suspicious. There have been incidents that fed the general mistrust. I have recently succumbed to the paranoia. In my office, the counter where my computer resides requires me to sit with my back to the door. I’ve taken to locking my door while I’m working. I now lock my computer whenever I step away. I lock my filing cabinet. I’ve started balancing paper clips on drawer ledges and on the top of file folders. Although the IT department requires a new password every 6 months, I’ve been changing mine every 2 weeks. The tension is thick. Part of the problem is not knowing. Uncertainty introduces chaos. Chaos is the loss of control. Control (even if it is illusionary) creates a sense of well-being, allays fears, and confirms stability. Stability is the antithesis of chaos.
We are stronger than we think. The human mind and body can withstand extremes, endure, adapt, and thrive even in the most inhospitable environments. Sadly there is a limit and it is different for each individual. We cope in myriad ways – some are destructive and others are constructive. Which brings me to the point – I have learned to bend. Others are less flexible and have not practiced (or even considered the possibility of) bending. I am anticipating a storm and have confidence that I will survive. Others are much less at peace with the pending trials. They may snap. They may flee. Organic attrition is real. Even if it has been anticipated, it is nonetheless startling.