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Hello! We’re glad you’ve found us. This is the place to visit for tips and suggestions on how to handle work issues, life’s challenges and many things in between. If you’re wrestling with a problem at work or dealing with a difficult situation at home, we hope you’ll find some answers here.

We know what we’re talking about. Arete® is in the business of helping employees and managers get the most out of work and home life.

Use worklife@aretehr.com to send in your requests, questions for our CEO Allan Stordy, and feedback – anything related to work or life issues. We may not be able to answer every question or request individually, but we’ll do our best to address as many as possible in upcoming blog posts.

In the meantime, you’re invited to search the blog for what you need.

How does Arete help?

The long answer is that we encourage organizational health and wellness and prevent or lessen absenteeism, long term disability and chronic issues by providing short term psychological counselling, legal and financial consulting, management training and human resources coaching.

The short answer is that we help people get on with their lives – managers, supervisors, employees, small business owners, and corporate bosses – the whole spectrum.

Why does Arete want to help?

It’s simple, really. We believe a healthy organization means a healthy work environment. And a healthy work environment is one where people feel valued, can be productive, have fun and thrive. Right? Here’s a sample of what you can expect from our blog:

  • Tips from our founder and CEO, Allan Stordy – You can “Ask Allan” a question about work or a personal issue by emailing us at worklife@aretehr.com. Confidentiality is of utmost importance to us. We’ll post an answer in a way that protects your anonymity. Read on for Allan’s answer to dealing with a chronic complainer.
  • Health & wellness information – We’re big on sharing useful information to help you stay healthy – both physically and mentally. So, if you’re stressed to the max, feel stuck or have a specific health issue that’s affecting your work or home life, take a look around here.
  • How to deal with difficult work situations – Who hasn’t had a problem that keeps them up at night? How do you survive a nasty boss? How do you make the leap from employee to supervisor? What are the signs of work overload? (They’re not always obvious.) What to do if there aren’t any raises (again) this year. We’ll cover it. (Not the raise, the topic.)

We’re also a big fan of having guest writers contribute their expertise. Every so often, we’ll include a posting contributed by one of the many professionals on our team – psychologists, legal and financial experts, consultants and counsellors. They have a wealth of information to share with you.

So let’s get started!

Here’s what Allan says about our company name, followed by his suggestion on how to deal with that negative person who never stops complaining.

What’s with the name? Doesn’t Arete mean stop?

Why would anyone name their company “stop” in French? Arete, pronounce “ah-reh-tay”, does not mean “stop” in French (although it could, but only if spelled with two Rs and an accent: arrête).

Our “Arete” is a Greek word meaning “excellence.” We chose this name because our aim is to help people achieve excellence in their daily lives – at both work and home.

Of course, if you prefer to think of it as “stop”, this still fits, as we work towards stopping the stigma behind issues stemming from mental and physical health challenges, and we help stop problems affecting a person’s work and home life before they get out of hand. How do we do this? By providing you with information, suggestions and support to help you deal with the issues you face. And build excellence in everything you do. Arete!

Ask Allan: Dealing With a Chronic Complainer

Dear Allan,

I’m sick and tired of the person who works next to me. All he does is complain all day long: the office is too hot; the traffic was terrible, the work is beneath him, his boss is a jerk. He never stops. How can I get him to be more positive and spare the rest of us from his non-stop complaining?

– Complaining About the Complainer

Dear Complaining,

What a great question! I’m like you and don’t like a negative work environment. I think it’s the responsibility of everyone in an office to contribute towards a positive and fun workplace. And yes, it’s hard when there’s a professional complainer in the group.

Here’s what I tried awhile back and it was a real eye-opener for me: I decided that day was going to be “No Complaints Day”.  I’d make it through the whole day without complaining about a single thing. If someone cut me off in traffic, then perhaps they were rushing to a terrible emergency. If the coffee was cold, hey, I’d always wanted to try iced java! If I was handed a last-minute problem to solve, then I’d do my best to resolve it quickly and professionally, with no blame assigned. I wanted to see just how ingrained the habit of complaining about things was in me. I found out it’s harder than I thought to break the pattern of making a negative comment every time something doesn’t go the way I think it should.

My goal was to accept whatever came my way with grace and patience and not blow my cool in thirty seconds or less. If I could practice tolerance and understanding, it might even become a habit! We all have beefs about something and issues to address, but not at the constant expense of others. Nobody wants to listen to a chronic complainer.

Now, before you rush over and show this suggestion to The Great Complainer, I challenge you to try it yourself first. See if you can go an entire day without complaining. You can tell your coworkers what you’re doing and ask them to let you know if you slip up. Put a sign on your desk that says Complaints Free Zone if you like. It’s bound to generate some conversation and you can say you’re tired of complaining about things that don’t really matter; then get busy with your day. The complainer will no doubt join in to point out your shortcomings when you slip up, but take it with a sense of humour. There will be a few laughs and some self realization for you – and others. I have a feeling just by putting yourself on the line, you’ll add to the overall quality of the office atmosphere, others will follow and the complaint count will go down. Let me know how it goes.

– Allan

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