What is Job Stress?According to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, stress, in general, is a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation. One type of stress is job stress which may involve the type of work you do, your boss or co-workers or your hours.
Causes of Job StressIf you can figure out the cause of your job stress, then you can find a cure. Here are some possible causes:
- Overwork: working late, taking work home, not taking vacation
- Impending layoffs
- Being in the wrong career
- Conflict with boss or co-workers
Early Warning Signs*If you catch symptoms early, you have a better chance of fixing the problem so you don't end up with more chronic and serious problems. Here's what to look out for:
- Job dissatisfaction
- Sleep disturbances
- Short temper
- Upset stomach
- Disturbed relationships with family and friends
- Low morale
- Teeth grinding
- Increased use of drugs or alcohol
Long-Term ProblemsIf left untreated, job stress can lead to some serious problems. They are:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Psychological disorders
CuresYou'll need to be proactive if you want to cure your job stress. Here are some fixes that address the causes listed above:
- If overwork is your problem, take a vacation, leave work on time as often as possible, and avoid taking work home.
- If you're worried about layoffs, all you can do is make sure you're prepared should that happen.
- If you find that you made the wrong career choice, or your career is no longer fulfilling, it may be time for a change. Make your choices carefully.
- If you are having conflicts with your boss or co-workers, try to work them out. Although it may be difficult to resolve personality differences, you can try to figure out a way to get along better.
- If your stress is having a profound effect on your life, don't be afraid to get professional help.
*Stress at Work. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. 1999.