Workplace Stress: Where It Comes From/Where It’s Going

Cartoonist Matt Groening’s book Work Is Hell dates from 1985; but his list of what makes a job really really bad resonates today, nearly 30 years later. His sources of stress include work overload or underload, time pressures, insecurity about the job, malicious or unfriendly co-workers, boredom, unpleasant bosses, hopelessness, cynicism and physical problems (like back ache). The Work Is Hell philosophy is that we keep in these situations either because misery loves company or because companies love misery.

Companies are trying to prove they don’t love misery. Many of them are emphasizing employee engagement, sending managers to leadership training, investigating flex-time, trying to address work/life balance and watching out for bullying, as well as providing employees with more information about health and more access to gyms and healthy snacks.

Is any of that helping? Is the problem even capable of solution? Does the amount of stress you feel on the job depend on where your job falls in the corporate pyramid, on outside factors like the overall economy or on your own day-by-day state of mind?

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Disclosure: I’ve partnered with Harvard Pilgrim on this sponsored post. However, the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. You can find more ways to be well at and Let’s Talk Health Care.