Job Dissatisfaction Affects Health, Productivity

October 2, 2017

Job dissatisfaction is a reliable indicator that a person is at high risk for high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. Studies indicate that heart rate and blood pressure shoot up on Monday mornings. This may explain why there are more heart attacks on Mondays than any other day of the week. Dissatisfied workers also tend to have greater risk of accidents and injuries than satisfied employees.

Occupational stress has been defined as a “global epidemic” by the United Nations’ International Labor Organization. As for business, The World Health Organization estimates that stress costs American businesses $300 billion dollars a year in absenteeism, low productivity, staff turnover, workers’ compensation, medical insurance, and other stress-related expenses. More than one-third of American workers experience chronic work stress, according to a 2013 national survey by the American Psychological Association’s Center for Organizational Excellence.

Low salaries, lack of opportunity for advancement, and heavy workloads top the list of contributing factors. Of course, stress is a factor in every one’s life, particularly during major events such as marriage, divorce, or buying a home. But according to the Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory, which rates the levels of stress caused by such events, many of the most stressful events are related to the workplace: firings, business readjustments, changes in financial status, altered responsibilities, a switch to a different line of work, trouble with the boss, variations in work hours or conditions, retirement, and vacations.

Stress is not always a bad thing, though. It can stimulate creativity and productivity. No one reaches peak performance without being stressed, whether an athlete or an office worker. A moderate amount of stress keeps people on their toes, enables them to juggle multiple tasks, and puts them on high alert for potential problems. A bit of tension can also help employees face challenges and discover new ways to tackle obstacles.

But too much stress tends to diminish performance. Researchers say that employees need a moderate amount of stress to provide challenge and success, but not enough to quash performance.

Is it too much to go to work?

Responding “yes” or “no” to the following, may help you clarify your job dissatisfaction and whether you should consider a job shift or stay put.

1. Is your body sending you messages?  Do you have lingering colds?  Trouble getting out of bed on work days?
2. Are you constantly thinking, “I can hardly wait till Friday?” Do you often watch the clock?
3. Do you frequently daydream on the job?
4. Do you call in sick even when you’re not?
5. Do you arrive late for work often?
6. Have your performance and productivity slipped?
7. Do you have many disagreements with colleagues or superiors?
8. Do you feel withdrawn at work?
9. Does the prospect of spending a whole day at work get you down?
10. Will leaving the organization enable you to achieve your career dreams more quickly?
11. Is your work damaging your self confidence? Health? Personal and family life? Other?

To nurture your career, act. 

If you’re convinced you suffer from job dissatisfaction and a job move is in order, go for it! Here’s some advice:

Define and overcome barriers.

Describe any blocks that are preventing you from making a move. Examples could be fear of losing a secure income, pension or other benefits; fear that you will lose power, prestige; fear of having to live up to an image, making a mistake, or being embarrassed; not knowing where to begin a new job search; or guilt that change may interfere with relationships.

Know you have many options.

These include changing departments in the same organization, shifting employers, changing occupational fields, becoming self employed, taking a sabbatical or returning to school for upgrading or retraining.

Investigate career options. 

Research and planning will reduce risk. For example, if you want to return to school or start your own business, and fear reduced income, you can learn to live on less, work part-time while pursing your goal and borrow money from family or the bank.

Avoid guilt. 

Don’t worry about letting everyone down, or what your colleagues may think. Don’t idealize your former position. Don’t mourn a job that is no longer meeting your needs.

Don’t stay in a job you dislike because of security. 

Security is wishful thinking. But developing positive attitudes, believing in yourself, working hard, and developing the will to risk will enable you to prevail.

Realize change involves tradeoffs.

Change may involve some temporary personal or financial sacrifices. But most Questers agree that in the long term, their gains far outweigh their losses. Greater satisfaction, independence, flexibility and control over personal and work lives are some benefits acquired.

Listen to yourself. 

Don’t base your self-respect on what other’s think. Listening to your feelings will help you identify what you really want. If you make the move that’s right for you, you will succeed. Better relationships with family and friends are often added benefits.

Don’t make excuses. 

If you feel stagnant, deciding to stay can be as traumatic as moving. Staying in a job with no hope of advancement or satisfaction is self defeating and risky. Stress, illness, and loss of enthusiasm, self-confidence and employability may result.

Don’t fear failure.

Setbacks are learning experiences. Successful changers eliminate much failure by planning and persisting. If they do fail, and they do, they say, “I’ve done my best. … I’m only human.” Then they figure out what went wrong, modify their plans and try again.

For additional tips, refer to Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life.