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Organizational sleepwalkers: emotional distress at midlife

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In this paper, attention is paid to a dysfunctional emotional behavior pattern whereby individuals experience very little (or a total absence of) pleasure. Instead, there is a feeling of emotional numbness. Although this phenomenon touches all parts of life, this paper focuses on the organizational context. For someexecutives, the stresses and strains of midlife (including stresse involving career issues) become the catalyst for this dysfunctional emotional behavior. Their reactions are of a quasi-alexithymic and anhedonic nature. Some of the characteristics of this dysfunctional emotional pattern are delineated in these pages. In addition, the related experience of depersonalization is highlighted. Some of the factors that contribute to these kinds of phenomena are explored. At the end of the paper, a number of recommendations for dealing with these difficulties are given.

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