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Your Job Might Literally Be Making You Sick


Are you sick and tired of your job, or is your job making you sick?

Increasingly, scientists are finding that stress can make us ill (lowering our immune systems, shortening those pesky telomeres, etc.) So it’s no surprise that work, often one of the most stressful parts of our lives, can affect our health. And it’s only gotten worse since the economy went south.

“What I’ve noticed is that the recession gave managers an excuse for being bad and going back to old ways, telling employees, ‘You have to be here from this time to this time,’ but that’s crazy,” says Marcia Reynolds in a Daily Beast interview with Paula Froelich. Reynolds is the author of Wander Woman: How High-Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction. “There are all these books about new leadership, but I don’t see that many leaders practicing that. They mostly think in back of their head, well, you’re lucky to have their job, and that’s how companies lose their best and brightest and end up with mediocrity.”

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The combination of job insecurity, low control over day-to-day life, and high expenditure of energy leading to low rewards causes stress and anxiety. In fact, Froelich quotes a recent study by the Centre for Mental Health Research at Australian National University which found that people who work under these conditions are actually less happy than unemployed people.

So what’s a person in this situation to do? Well, one of the people Froelich spoke with threw her Blackberry off the Brooklyn Bridge and then quit. But if you’d like a slightly more constructive approach, there’s always stress-management techniques — and finding a new job.

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(Photo Credit: William Brawley/Flickr)

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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