Jared Sandberg considers ways in which we react to the sarcasm and put-downs of colleagues. An excerpt:
The process of chewing over old conversations is referred in psychology circles as rumination. It's prevalent enough in the office that various leadership-training programs administer personality tests asking how often you "replay an incident over and over" in your mind.
The idea is to probe whether someone is predisposed to festering in a cycle of anger that produces more bad thoughts that then create more anger, says Craig Runde, director of new program development at Eckerd College Leadership Development Institute, St. Petersburg, Fla. Ruminating too much, he says, "keeps you stuck."
That explains, says Mr. Runde, why some festerers can't concentrate on the task at hand, drip sarcasm and fly off the handle at the first mention of something that only to them sounds like the umpteenth time.