Friday, 6 December 2013

Is Your Job Affecting Your Physical or Mental Health?

If your job is affecting your health it might be time to move on
When your job begins to impact on your physical or mental health it could be a sign that it’s time to reassess your career. Some people report feeling physically sick at the thought of going into work, feeling unwell the whole time they were at work or suffering from a range of other symptoms of stress, depression or anxiety.

They reasons they attribute it to their jobs is that once away from their work environment, the symptoms either diminish or disappear altogether. Whatever the cause for your decline in physical or mental health, it’s something you shouldn’t ignore. The first step should always be to contact your GP.

Once you have the all clear from your GP, it’s worth taking a look at the reasons why you feel your physical or mental health is being impacted by your work. There are any number of factors that could contribute to a decline in physical or mental health at work including:

Stress: Long hours, excessive workload, unrealistic targets, bullying, volatile work relationships, irate customers, unachievable objectives, lack of knowledge or skills to complete work tasks, insufficient or no supervision (ie. in caring professions)

Work environment: Poor air quality, bad ergonomics, insufficient lighting, temperature intolerance (too hot or too cold), noise/sound pollution, radiation pollution

You need to determine if it is the work environment, the job itself or other factors.

Jenny* came to me with a desire to find a new career that would be less stressful as her current job that she had been in for the past eight years. After some intense career counselling sessions, we made some interesting discoveries.

Prior to the company merger the year before, Jenny had been very happy in her job and had received numerous accolades. She had even won three awards, two promotions and had plans to advance even further in her career before the merger took place.

Although we did explore other career options, time and time again through the work we did together, everything kept pointing back to the job she was already doing. Jenny came to realise that she did still love her current career and became less committed to moving on to something else. 

It turned out that Jenny’s new boss and a number of newly arrived co-workers were the reason behind her feeling miserable at work. Jenny decided it was a new job she needed not a whole new career. Once we identified the key ingredients needed in her next job, Jenny managed to find her ideal role where she gained a renewed sense of vigour for her career and life. 

Have you or someone you know experienced poor physical or mental health as result of work? Tell us in the comments below. You can comment anonymously.

*Not her real name, case study has been used with permission.

Lisa LaRue, MCareerDev, BSocSc(Couns&HumServ), DipCareerGuid,  RCDPMAC is a Career Coach and Career Development Consultant at CareerWorx with more than 18 years' experience helping people plan and manage their careers.

1 comment: