Know the signs to combat workplace stress

 

stress level conceptual meter indicating maximum

So, you’ve been out of college for a year now, going on countless interviews looking for your dream job and now you’ve got it!

You’re on your path to changing the world and want to prove that you’re a hard worker. So, you figure that right out of the gate, you’re going to give it everything you’ve got.

Stay late every night for a week? Sure! Work weekends? Sign me up!

These are all admirable qualities in a new hire but if you’re not careful, you may find yourself biting off more than you can chew and quickly becoming burnt out.

A study published in May by the nonprofit organization, Families and Work Institute, found that out of over 1,000 respondents, 28% often or very often felt overworked while 28% reported feeling overwhelmed.

While occasionally staying at work late or working through the weekend is acceptable, and sometimes even mandatory, making this a habit can have adverse health effects.

A study published in 2014 by The Lancet, a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal, found that those who worked more than 55 hours per week–both men and women–had a 13% greater risk of a heart attack.

The same study found that those who worked 55 hours per week were 33% percent more likely to suffer a stroke than those who worked 35-40 hours per week.

But considering that it’s common to have periods of stress at work, how do you notice the red flags that the effort may not be worth it anymore?

Dr. John Ballard, a psychologist at The American Psychological Association, says these signs may suggest that you’re burnt out at work and need a change.

  • Exhaustion
  • Lack of Motivation
  • Slip in Job Performance/In Hygiene
  • Being Preoccupied With Work Outside of Work

Other side effects, according to Business Insider, include:  

  • Irritability towards coworkers/customers
  • Responding to questions about your job with one-word answers
  • Feeling liberated after a Friday at work
  • Dreading every Monday morning

stress level conceptual meter indicating maximumSo, what can you do to reduce or eliminate burn out?

  • Figure out what’s causing the burn out: Has your workload increased while your resources to handle the increase haven’t?
  • Talk with your boss to reassess your responsibilities and resources: If more responsibility has been handed to you but the resources haven’t then talk to your supervisor to see if any resources e.g. people; can be spared.
  • Take breaks: According to fastcompany.com, taking a break every 50-90 minutes rejuvenates your mind, helping you to continue focusing on a task once you’ve come back to it.
  • Get a solid 8 hours of sleep: The quickest way to burn yourself out is to frequently come into work already exhausted.
  • Plan ahead: If you have a big project coming up, split it up into smaller tasks so that it’s easier to manage and can be completed on time or a few days early.

References:

Baer, D. (19 June 2013). Why you need to unplug every 90 minutes. Retrieved from https://www.fastcompany.com/3013188/why-you-need-to-unplug-every-90-minutes

Dr. John Ballard qtd. in Lisa M. Gerry. (1 April, 2013). 10 signs you’re burning out — and what to do about it. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/04/01/10-signs-youre-burning-out-and-what-to-do-about-it/#15dbefc2625b

Families and Work Institute qtd. by ABC News. (16 May, 2017). Study: U.S. workers burned out. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=93295&page=1

Gillett, R. (23 June 2016). 25 signs you’re burned out at work. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/signs-youre-burned-out-at-work-2016-6/#-1

Kivimaki, M., Jokela, M. & Nyberg, T. Solja et. al as qtd. in John Ross. (14 December 2015). Only the overworked die young. Retrieved from http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/only-the-overworked-die-young-201512148815stress level conceptual meter indicating maximum

The eight questions you should ask an employer before accepting a job-offer

This is the start of great things

If you’re strapped for cash, then you may have no choice but to take a job simply for the paycheck. In the long run, however, it’s important that you find a job that’s the right fit for you and will give you long-term satisfaction.

To make sure the job that you’ve been offered is the right one for you, make sure to ask these ten questions:

  1. What are the company hours?: We all have responsibilities outside of work. If your job requires that you put in more hours than the typical 9-5 but you’re unable to fulfill that requirement because of external factors—e.g. family commitments, medical reasons etc.—then, you may need to consider other job opportunities.

2. What is the company policy on time off?: Occasionally, life happens and you may need to take time off to accommodate a doctor’s appointment or a sick family member.

According to Liz Ryan of Human Workplace, a publishing and consulting firm, if an employer is not willing to accommodate days off for situations like family emergencies or doctor’s appointments, then, they may not have your best interest in mind.

However, employers should still use their discretion when approving employee days off.

3. Does the job require any travel? This may only apply if you’re working a sales job. Nevertheless, it may be important to know if you’ll be required to travel; even if it’s a short distance.

If you are required to travel, Ashley Deibert, Vice President of Marketing at iQ Media, suggests that you ask whether or not the company will reimburse your mileage or provide you with a pre-tax commuter card.

4. Are there opportunities for advancement? Are you looking for a long-term job? If so, will this company provide you the opportunity to advance your career?

5. What are your health/dental/ and vision plans? According to Deibert, some employers will wait to add new hires to company insurance plans. This allows them to make sure their employees are sticking around for the long haul.

At the very least, still familiarize yourself with the company plans insurance plans to ensure there are no conflicts with your own doctors, dentist and optometrist coverage.

6. How did this position become available? According to Jillian Kramer, a contributor to Business Insider, the answer to this question will speak volumes about the previous job holder’s relationship with the company.

Were they fired, did they leave the company or were they given a promotion? These are important questions to ask because the answers may reveal something about the company culture.

7. What departments will I be working closely with? Although you may be working alone at a cubicle chances are that you’ll have to report to someone.

According to Ryan, the answer to this question may reveal something about how connected the other employees/departments within the company are.

8. Where is the company headed? According to Kramer, if you are aware of the path the company has taken in the past, you’ll want to know what path they’re headed on. Like the rest of these questions, this will ensure you’re on the same one.

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References:

Deibert, A. (28 May 2014). Twenty questions: Ask before you accept the job offer. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140528183101-8724727-twenty-questions-ask-before-you-accept-the-job-offer

Kramer, J. (30 May 2017). 6 questions you should ask before accepting a job offer. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/6-questions-you-should-ask-before-accepting-a-job-offer-2017-5

Ryan, L. (5 January 2016). Five questions to ask before you accept A job offer. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2016/01/05/five-questions-to-ask-before-you-accept-a-job-offer/#33a1911b4702