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Career & Stress

Balancing Act: Navigating Career & Stress

Career & StressCareer & Stress – Recently there was news that a young guy of 30 years died of a heart attack. “Heart attack at the age of 30?” Unheard of, but it is the truth of today’s generation. High blood pressure, backache, acidity – these have become a reality for many working adults.

Every generation goes through a cycle of positives and negatives and the nature of issues and concerns differs from generation to generation. Today’s generation has its own set of issues and concerns.

Every individual faces issues that, if not tackled well, become the stressors of life. Career, growth opportunity, failure, competition, relationship, money, unfulfilled personal aspirations, and many more, the list of stressors could be unending. Though we all know that some amount of stress is good in life to keep us going and motivated in life to achieve, most of the time, these stressors start overshadowing our lives, thus affecting us negatively.

Today, we see a lot of young adults facing a lot of stress, especially in terms of careers. The stress begins with obtaining the right degree and getting the right employment break. Everything seems to be stressful. Then slowly this stress starts mounting up and without realizing it, it becomes a part of our lives. Subconsciously and indirectly it starts affecting and becomes a part of our behavior and thinking pattern that we fail to identify the stressors. Very few get overcome /tackle what troubles them.

In the following paragraphs, let’s identify and have to look at some of the important stressors on an average most of us face, but fail to identify. A career, is one of the most important aspects of an individual’s life, affecting the entire life cycle, social status, self-esteem, and the reason to keep going in life.

There are some career-related stresses that take the front seat – the biggies like Boss, salary, job profile, non-co-operative colleague, or the smallest concern like a malfunctioning printer, a misplaced stapler, a demanding client, all these aspects take the form of stressors start affecting our performance and our life as a whole. A few broad categories would be:

Time – “I don’t have time” this has become an anthem – whether it’s a new recruit who is struggling to prove or an established individual. Work is taking up all the time one has or one has given all the time s/he has to work. The time of employment, overtime, and odd time shifts, all lead to a condition that makes one feel that s/he does not do anything but work.

Since there is hardly any concept of ‘personal time’ or ‘quality time’ for most of us, the frustration becomes visible at work. Finding the right balance is the key. Though there is no one right way of finding the golden balance – it depends on the individual – as per the priorities and goals set.

Relationship – with colleagues /sub-ordinates /officials. Most of the time, there is a line drawn between people at work. Not getting along with a peer or not being able to adjust to the attitude and demands of the higher official, all add to the fuel. Though most of the time is spent at work, the time invested in people’s relationships at work is disproportionate to the time spent at work.

Under the pretext of ‘professional relationship’ this area is overlooked, thus causing issues that start affecting work life. Along with work, if one starts approaching people with more openness, a lot of problems will be solved, not only professionally but also personally. Boss – the perpetual devil, but one needs to understand that s/he is also as much worked up and under deadlines as any down-line person is. A little perspective might be of help. Acceptance, respect, and understanding of people working together will mean nothing else but a better place to look forward to being, even on a holiday.

Monetary aspect – Vitamin M, as it is addressed, is the motivating factor. The concept of salary has blown out of proportion so much [though many would not agree], that it seems impossible to identify the maximum. The fact that everyone gets paid for the individual effort, skills, and responsibilities, is most of the time overlooked. Comparison and this is industry norms are the two aspects that make the individual ask for more than the current earnings.

Job-hopping has become a result of this attitude. How about some introspection? But till one does not know how much more is more…s/he will never be able to be content with what they have.

Growth opportunities – growth is a natural phenomenon. For some it would be in terms of designation or for some it would just mean added responsibilities. If a promotion or an increase in salary isn’t given, then the alternative is either to join the crib gang or to leave the organization. The concept of lifelong employment has become redundant, which has been taken over by the concept of continuous improvement. This new concept is often misinterpreted as finding a new job every two years, if not then one gets stagnated.

This employment shift is also adding to the stress like teething problems, adjusting to new people & organization, proving oneself, or exceeding past performance. But many do not realize this consequence. Not only has to prove to fit the bill but also study the structure of the organization make the required moves and reach conclusions. Low patience levels and defining personal goals and wants are a few of the reasons that are creating the stress to increase, thus increasing the need to consider this aspect too.

Personal v/s Professional goals – many times, there is a difference between the personal and organizational goals set. This makes life difficult at work. Personal plans may not work the way we want them to. If any changes or obstacles are faced during this implementation, then it seems like the entire world is conspiring against you. It is therefore very crucial to choose the right organization and put in the required efforts.

Organizational Concerns – A certain background, having a set of values and belief systems,s and there is a professional requirement to set aside these beliefs and values, also lead to a very stressful situation. To move up the ladder, at times some compromises are inevitable, but the consequence it has on an individual can be harmful. So one has to be conscious of the profession and the organization one is into and take measures accordingly.

At times, the job profile itself is not too motivating which makes life more stressful. Some factors such as poor infrastructural facilities, the difference in the organizational culture, lack of amenities, and lack of respect, also lead to stress.

Competition – The one word that’s driving everyone crazy and on their toes. The need to be in the race and win it is ever-increasing. This factor is like the root cause of all the stressors. Ever-increasing Targets and deadlines are making a person work harder and even face more problems thus worsening the situation.

It’s important to be a part of this, but one has to ask “At what cost?”. Though the answer is simple, it is quite difficult to find.

These stressors not only affect a person, mentally but also physically and emotionally. The increasing health problems are due to these and many more stressors that one faces daily. The best way to beat the stressors is first to identify them, set personal goals, and work accordingly. To succeed in any field, the least one can do is enjoy and this summer let’s “beat the stress heat.”

  • Inability to meet High expectations,
  • Lack of Relaxation,
  • Negative Thoughts about the Task at Hand,
  • Lack of Support from peers /officials,
  • Lack of amenities,
  • Lack of Confidence,
  • Peer Pressure,
  • Lack of freedom

all these are some of the reasons why a person is burdened with thoughts that lead to stress.

Frequently Asked Questions for Careerc & Stress:

1. How does a career impact stress levels?

Careers can contribute to stress due to workload, responsibilities, deadlines, and workplace dynamics. It’s important to find a balance to manage stress effectively.

2. What is work-related stress?

Work-related stress refers to the physical and emotional strain caused by excessive job demands, poor work-life balance, and challenging workplace conditions.

3. How can I identify if I’m experiencing stress due to my career?

Signs of career-related stress include fatigue, irritability, decreased job satisfaction, difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbances, and physical ailments like headaches or muscle tension.

4. What strategies can help manage stress in the workplace?

Effective stress management strategies include time management, setting boundaries, practicing relaxation techniques, seeking social support, and prioritizing self-care.

5. Can a demanding job lead to burnout?

Yes, prolonged exposure to high levels of stress can lead to burnout, characterized by emotional exhaustion, reduced performance, and a sense of detachment from work.

6. How can I communicate my stress to my employer without negative consequences?

Open communication is key. Schedule a private meeting with your supervisor, express your concerns, and discuss potential solutions or adjustments to your workload.

7. Is changing careers a solution to reduce stress?

Changing careers can help if the source of stress is inherent to the field or workplace. However, careful consideration, research, and planning are essential before making such a significant decision.

8. Can stress impact my performance and productivity at work?

Yes, high levels of stress can negatively affect your focus, creativity, decision-making, and overall job performance.

9. How can I achieve a work-life balance to manage stress?

Prioritize time for personal activities, hobbies, exercise, and spending quality time with loved ones. Setting boundaries between work and personal life is crucial.

10. Are there stress management techniques specifically for remote workers?

Yes, remote workers can benefit from techniques such as creating a dedicated workspace, establishing a routine, taking regular breaks, and disconnecting from work after hours.

11. Can seeking professional help be beneficial for career-related stress?

Yes, seeking support from a therapist, counselor, or career coach can provide valuable insights, coping strategies, and guidance on managing stress and making informed career decisions.

12. How can mindfulness and meditation help with career-related stress?

Mindfulness and meditation techniques promote relaxation, self-awareness, and stress reduction. They can enhance your ability to manage workplace challenges more calmly.

13. What role does physical health play in managing career stress?

Physical health directly affects mental well-being. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep contribute to better stress management and overall resilience.

14. Are there industries or job roles known for high-stress levels?

Certain industries, like healthcare, emergency services, and finance, are often associated with higher stress levels due to the nature of the work. However, stress management strategies are applicable across various fields.

15. How can employers contribute to reducing stress for their employees?

Employers can offer flexible work arrangements, provide opportunities for skill development, encourage breaks, promote a supportive work culture, and address concerns about workload and job expectations.

Remember, managing career-related stress is a personal journey. If stress becomes overwhelming, seeking professional help is a valuable step towards improving your well-being and maintaining a successful career.

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