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Job Stress

If You Have Job Stress, Here's What to Do


Senior man working late
Peter Dazeley/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

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 Stress

If 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


  • Headache


  • Disturbed relationships with family and friends


  • Low morale


  • Teeth grinding


  • Increased use of drugs or alcohol

Long-Term Problems

If left untreated, job stress can lead to some serious problems. They are:


  • Cardiovascular disease


  • Musculoskeletal disorders


  • Psychological disorders


You'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.

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