Work Stress: You’re Not Fine. Stop Saying You Are

By Jacob Shriar | Small Business

I’m honestly scared of what’s going on in the world today.

Far too many people are unhappy, and there is a real sense of anger boiling up, that is set to explode at any moment.

Stress levels are at all time highs, and employee engagement is at an all time low.

There are also many factors outside the work environment that leads to this increase in stress and unhappiness. Poverty is on the rise, Unemployment all over the world is at an all time high, and the global economy is still in a lot of trouble, regardless of what you hear on the news.

Inflation is another major problem, because it makes things more expensive, so the money you earn from working is worth less, so it makes you feel even worse about your job. All that hard work, and you’re still struggling.

I can go on and on about inflation and the problems that it causes, but maybe we’ll save that for another post.

It’s a bit of a vicious cycle, because even though we might not like our work, we need the money, so we keep going back, but is this really healthy? Is it sustainable?

Too Many People Are Unhappy At Work

If you look at the data around employee engagement and stress levels, you’ll understand what I’m so scared of.

People hate their jobs, it’s really that simple.

According to Gallup 87% of employees worldwide are disengaged. Think about that for a second.

That’s an insane number. How did we allow ourselves as a society to get to this place? Yet most of the time when you ask someone how their day is going, they usually have a positive answer.

Are they lying to us, or are they lying to themselves?

The world is a different place now, and the way that work gets done is different.

Obviously not enough companies have picked up on this, and they’re not adjusting to meet this new demand. More companies need to learn to embrace change, instead of fighting it.

What I find interesting is whenever I talk to someone about their work, they get very passionate. It’s either a good passionate, or a bad passionate.

If it’s a good passionate, it’s likely because they love what they do, they work for an incredible company (or themselves), and are truly successful, happy, and relatively stress free.

On the other hand, I have so many friends that talk passionately about how bad their job is. How much they hate their boss, or how much they wish they could find another job.

What worries me the most is how this gets repressed and bottled up.

People seem to ignore the fact that they’re disengaged, and they tell themselves that everything is fine. That’s a recipe for disaster.

This has a very serious effect on your health. In a study of 120 managers and engineers at an aerospace company, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine found that the repressors had higher blood pressure and reacted with an even greater rise in blood pressure to a simple stress test than did non-repressors.

Another thing that’s worrying is that this trend doesn’t seem to be going away. In fact, it seems to be increasing over time, and Millennials are the ones that are the most stressed. This is terrible news, as Millennials will make up about 40% of the workforce by the end of this year.

A Work Stress survey shows that 83% of Americans are stressed out by at least one thing about their jobs.Poor pay and increasing workloads were top sources of concern reported by American workers.

What To Do If You’re Unhappy At Work

So what can we do about it? There’s a part of me that wants to say “just quit your job!” but sometimes that’s much easier said than done.

It might not be possible, especially for workers that have to support a family, to just up and leave. It’s too risky.

The one thing I will say though is that sometimes it’s easier than you might think, and you might not be unemployed for very long if you’re good at what you do.

They say “no risk, no reward”, so you should think long and hard about how realistic quitting your job really is.

If quitting your job is not possible, there are 2 things that I would recommend doing:

1. Keep your Linkedin profile up to date, and take advantage of all of their great features and ask friends for recommendations and endorsements. You’d be surprised at how many recruiters use Linkedin to screen candidates, and you can easily hunt for jobs privately.

2. Find something (or things) that make you happier and do more of them. Spend more time with your family, exercise more often, learn a new skill, whatever. It really doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you’re getting some enjoyment out of it.

Another tip is to remember that your life isn’t so bad.

I know it sounds weird to think about all the hardship and suffering of the developing world, but it might make you feel better about yourself.

I use this technique all the time, and it works for me.

The message that I’m really trying to get across is that you can’t go on like this forever. If you’re unhappy, you need to make a change. For your mental health, physical health, and overall well-being.

Do you think too many of us are stressed at work?

Let me know in the comments.

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