I’ll call her Ms. A:
– “I have been working in my current position at a Twin Cities nonprofit agency for two years. I love the work I do because it helps children and their families in the community, but the work environment is terrible. I’ll call her Ms. A:
– “I have been working in my current position at a Twin Cities nonprofit agency for two years. I love the work I do because it helps children and their families in the community, but the work environment is terrible. It is extremely stressful. I am often yelled at by coworkers, as if I have no feelings or don’t deserve respect. I’m not treated the same as some of the other female staff who are white, and sometimes treated in a way that has made me feel frightened and intimidated. I have told my supervisor on numerous occasions about the situation, but he is not responsive. He treats the white women in the office with value, but he is not the same toward me, an African American, and the Native American women. After being yelled at and intimidated by a white male coworker who is three times my size, I am off from work. I’ve had headaches, an upset stomach, and even trouble sleeping. I’m afraid to go back. I don’t know what this man might do next. This is all very stressful for me and my family.”
Whether dealing with a hostile environment, waiting to hear if a negative judgment is rendered against your employer and you will have no place to work, whether working under hazardous conditions, being over worked, having responsibility without authority, facing racial or other forms of harassment, or being denied promotional opportunities just to name a few, stress related to the job is no joking matter.
Work Related Stress
Thompson Nicola Assessment and Resource Service have identified three major sources of stress on the job: relationships, environment and job expectations.
RELATIONSHIPS: Contact with others at work can be a prime source of job satisfaction, but uncomfortable tension or unresolved conflict in work relationships generate distress. Some studies indicate that interpersonal difficulty (with super- visors, subordinates, peers or clients) is the primary source of work-related stress.
ENVIRONMENT: Many of people work in a stressful physical environment. Noise, smoke, fumes, crowded conditions, poor ventilation, lack of windows and uncomfortable furniture
— all of which causes fatigue and tension. Yet others work in environments that are emotionally and psychologically hostile resulting extreme stress.
JOB EXPECTATIONS: When a person’s skills are not well matched with the responsibilities of the job, stress and a feeling of inadequacy may result.
SOME FACTS ABOUT STRESS: *Stress plays a role in 80% of all illnesses — from depression to cancer and cardio-vascular disease.
*Statistics Canada has calculated the cost of work time lost to stress as $12
billion a year.
*Stress is the single biggest issue many disability programs face.
*Stress claims rose 30% between 1996 and 1998, and most companies spend
wo to three percent of their payroll on short-term disability claims, half of which may be stress related.
*In addition to health issues, direct costs of workplace stress include grievance complaints, litigation, turnover and reduced performance.
*Indirect costs include low motivation, low morale, faulty decision making, poor
work relationships and missed opportunities.
*Between 70 and 80% of absentee days are related to stress as headaches, back
pain, asthma, exhaustion and chronic fatigue.
*25% of white-collar and 40% of blue-collar workers in Canada have had a stress-related absence in the past year.
*The causes of stress include over-work, organizational change, unreasonable
deadlines, office politics and lack of recognition.
Mary B. Blalock, Southeastern Louisiana University Anthony Paul Blalock, University Medical Center have indicated that “Stress is like electricity entering a fuse box. Too many appliances, too much overload, and the fuse blows.” That stress disturbs the functionin