DIY

Music soothes the savage beast

When the customers stress you out, take a tip from Julie Andrews and whistle a merry tune, so no-one ever knows you're afraid. Jeff Dray shares his tips for staying sane on the job.

This is my tip for unwinding after a "difficult" customer. I treat all my customers the same, but sometimes they want to pass the stress of their job onto me, and in the past I have been guilty of taking it on board and letting it show at the next port of call.

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I don’t believe that it is fair to anyone to pass on your angst, but I can understand why people do it. What is not always realized is that it is not healthy or helpful to do this, and bottling up this kind of tension can lead to health problems. Fortunately there is usually a long journey between my calls, and I use this time to expel those tensions. I have several techniques that I use to clear my head, some of which can draw unwanted attention from my fellow road users.

First there is the screaming technique. There’s nothing sophisticated about it; I simply scream at the top of my voice to expel tension. I suggest that it is best to have the windows closed and to use a highway trip for this. People in built-up areas tend to note down my registration number and call 911 if they observe this method.

I often use music to wind down, but the choice of artist is very important. My tastes are wide ranging and eclectic. Anything from Wagner to Beethoven with a smattering of Pink Floyd, ELO, and even the massed pipes and drums of the Royal Scots Dragoon guards have all found their way into my car’s CD player. I find that Beethoven can lead to reckless driving and speeding, Wagner can lead to road hogging and poor lane discipline, the Floyd can lead to being too laid back and taking hours to get anywhere. Just so long as nobody puts a country CD in when I’m not looking, because that would be too much to bear.

My favorite method is to drop by home and spend a few minutes playing my guitar, but this is only possible if the call is nearby.

What is most important is to break out of the cycle and allow yourself to restart the day. Having worked for many years in the service field, I know from personal experience how harmful it can be to bottle up tensions.

This isn’t an entirely frivolous posting; the issue of stress buildup can have a real impact on your health. It is important not to bottle things up. I used to feel aggrieved when customers took out their angst on me; after all, I’m the good guy. I’m trying to get things working. Most of my customers appreciate this and are very supportive and pleased to see me, but as the old saying goes, you can’t please all the people all the time.

What tracks and artists help you get over the stressy parts of the day?

26 comments
Juan Ferzara
Juan Ferzara

Me? It depends , usually it?s Pachelbel?s Canon, Vivaldi?s 4 Stations, Porgy and Bess, Apocalyptica, and when really , really needed , Haendel?s Ave Maria. Oh, and sometimes you can hear me whistling the Sephirot Theme from Final Fantasy 7.

bluenix
bluenix

Great post and certainly not a frivolous one. Music do really appeases one's soul. :)

mjd420nova
mjd420nova

If I'm in the company wheels, with no CD player, I have to settle for smooth jazz to settle the jangled nerves and ease the frustration during working/transit periods. When I make the last call and head for home, it's classic rock for that trip. Usually after 5PM you might spot me bouncing in the seat and drumming on the steering wheel. If I have a CD player, I carry a couple favorite disks, preferably early Santanna or a couple of Chicago or Fleetwood Mac. This is a process that I exercise every work day as I promised the other half to never bring my work problems home with me. So far it has worked well for 39 years.

mwagner
mwagner

The Grateful Dead and Phish work for me

Jellimonsta
Jellimonsta

Well, I generally listen to music at work if I think I am going to be tied to my desk for a while. I usually listen mostly to hard rock while working, or riding home on the bus. I usually listen to some classical, opera, jazz or 60's soul (Temptations, M. Gaye, Four Tops) once I get home to the kids though. :D However, if it has been a stressful day I usually go down stairs and play my drums for a while, then my bass, then my guitar. That usually gets me out of a funk (or into the funk). :)

snlsm
snlsm

Whenever I'm at my desk I always have music playing. My entire CD collection is ripped to a hard drive I keep at work. This makes anything I owned available, and is a great backup solution should, god forbid, anything happen to my music collection. Then the beast would really come out.

demo2nz
demo2nz

I tend to find that heavier rock does the trick to loosen up after most sessions, but for seriously changing the mood and de-stressing, I love to throw on a comedy track. I love most of it, from Old Bill Cosby or George Carlin through Blue Collar Comedy Tour and Jeff Dunham. Just watch that you stay to your lane if your driving!

lgonzales
lgonzales

This Hispanic likes any music that has a good fast beat. It takes my mind away from the stress but still fills me with energy for the rest of the day.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

does music soothe the savage beast, it stirs it to frenzy. Something too often overlooked.

d.k.rich
d.k.rich

I use The Most Relaxing New Age Music in the Universe and More .... Calms me down.

s.butera
s.butera

Good topic thanks. It's not so much as my users who give me angst. It's my co-workers. Being they are the most difficult I've ever had to work with. I try any method I can on the way home and after. so far Cut Copy seems to work well, as do The Shins and Ra Ra Riot. When I get home I usually ride my bike for an hour.

david_heath
david_heath

It should be "music hath charms to soothe the savage breast"

flounder_pdx
flounder_pdx

I have a little bit of everything on the iPod. Weird Al to Judas Priest to Mannheim Steamroller. That keeps me going until I get home and then its the sound of the wind thru the helmet and the engine on my Honda VTX1300R that helps me the most. Nothing like a twisty road to ride your troubles away.....

iconoclastic
iconoclastic

Somedays I need calming: classical, new age, chorale, jazz Somedays I need venting: Tool, Disturbed, Jimmy's Chicken Shack, etc... the right music "hath charms to both soften the rock or pulverize it!"

joanne.carr
joanne.carr

I'm a strange one. I like to relax, reboot my day and be ready to roll to the tunes from my favorite movies. Star Wars does wonders. Cantina Band can make even the dragon lady smile.

CG IT
CG IT

and also [paraphrased] "Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned".

Jeff Dray
Jeff Dray

"Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak." Is the full quote but as is mentioned elsewhere, I was going for the common usage as it is less verbose and said what I wanted to say.

PanamaPat
PanamaPat

I listen www.radiomargaritaville.com to chill out and reduce stress. It also relieves my Winter blues until Spring arrives. Music is terrific therapy - I highly recommend it!

Bob_or_Fred
Bob_or_Fred

Given that there was no direct citation, it's quite possible that he was simply referring to the most widespread usage which, much to the ire of closeted scholars, would be both accurate and acceptable.

ginmemphis
ginmemphis

I haven't gotten past the incorrect title.

Groovyman
Groovyman

I guess it depends on the level of frustration. Mind numbing frustration would require Sade, Portishead, etc. Medium frustation requires Thievery Corporation, Enigma, etc. Light frustration can be soothed with Front Line Assembly, The Cure, etc. And ditto on keeping me going till I get home and can jump on my ZX9 and seek out a twisty road.

simon.child
simon.child

I agree most customers we just have a giggle at as most of the time they are being silly. My peers on the other hand make me want to smash stuff up. Give me techno, electro, then some house. Now that im quasi wound down break out the prog rock and ambient. Zen!

Coss71
Coss71

I agree with the author, I have a wide variety of music I choose from. The louder the better. That's why I put a 2800 watt sound system in the truck. I have learned to turn auto answer off on my phone / headset after I had one client say, when I hit a break in the music, "keep your day job...."

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