Dying for a paycheck…
Ranti Esprit has come again I hear you say!
In a recent survey in the US, it was noted that around 120,000 deaths occurred each year due to job stress and about 13,000 in the UK annually. These are staggering figures in the modern age, with all the technology gadgets we have today.
Of course, there are some hazardous jobs out there of which accidents does occur on rare occasions when health and safety breaches lead to death, and then there are even more dangerous jobs such as the ‘wild crocodile eggs collectors’ in Australia outback where the animals are reared and used for designer items. Imagine distracting a 20-feet long saltwater crocodile with sticks in order to steal her eggs. Insane right!
Our generation were raised with high education standards with the expectation of attaining good grades and enter the labour market, let us blame the parents. I can confirm that attitude is changing where lesson have been learnt as my niece and nephews were now been raised to be innovators with entrepreneurial flair and understanding to determine their own future.
The question now belies for those of us in the field – how to debunk the ‘dream job’ myth that may eventually kill you. Jeffrey Pfeffer (Stanford University) offer a clarion call for a social movement focused on human sustainability in his latest book ‘Dying for a Paycheck’ asserting that the environment we work in is just as important as the one we live in; thus, our workplaces must become healthier and better. In Mckinsey Quarterly, it was noted that to increase employees’ health and wellbeing, we must focus on job control and social support.
My emphasis illustrate that lack of job control lead to stress, employees have gone through all kinds of rigorous training and educational achievements, thereby we must trust them to make informed (or contributory) decision about the business they work in.
One of the most notable research efforts in this area was the Whitehall Studies, conducted by British epidemiologist Michael Marmot and his team, which examined employees within the British Civil Service. Marmot’s team discovered that the higher someone’s rank, the lower the incidence of and mortality from cardiovascular disease. Controlling for other factors, it turned out that differences in job control, which were correlated with job rank, most accounted for this phenomenon. Higher-ranked British employees, like higher-ranked employees in most organizations, enjoyed more control over their jobs and had more discretion over what they did, how they did it, and when—even though they often faced greater job demands.
Additional Whitehall data related work stress, measured as the co-occurrence of high job demands and low job control, to the presence of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors that predict the likelihood of getting heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Employees who faced chronic stress at work were more than twice as likely to have metabolic syndrome compared with those without work stress.
Work – related ill health 2016/17
Lost working days 2016/17
Other research has also found a relationship between measures of job control and health. A study of 8,500 white-collar workers in Sweden who had gone through reorganizations found that the people who had a higher level of influence and task control in the reorganization process had lower levels of illness symptoms for 11 out of 12 health indicators, were absent less frequently, and experienced less depression.
In summation, please note that jobs that provide individuals more autonomy and control serve to increase their motivation, job satisfaction and performance – this make employees healthier and live longer. In addition, being socially integrated and having your own social support (family and friends) to count on is equally important.
Let me know what you think. Thanks for reading my piece. Peace be with you.