Pessimists may indeed feel more anxious about social acceptance. They may feel more anxious about many things not going well, big and small. Psychologists have a term for such individuals when they suffer from this in the extreme – neurotic. We don’t like that term because it connotes something very bad, when all it’s meant to point out is that some people have a greater tendency to become anxious about small things than others. For example, some people tend spend much more time on their work than they need to in order to ease their fear of being fired because they don’t appear “perfect”.
In the workplace, this tendency can come across as undue attention to details that are clearly irrelevant to bottom-line success. Sometimes it comes across as a control issue, particularly when foisted on underlings. For example, if the boss is a stickler for details that don’t matter in most people’s opinions, then it appears much effort is misplaced and subordinates feel frustrated about wasting their energy when more important things are being ignored. Learn More »