Is any job is better than no job at all? Not any more.
For years we’ve been hearing of the benefits of getting back to work. Building a career. From increasing your ‘economic value’ & ‘contributing to society’ through to your own mental health, the underlying assumption is “any job is better than no job”. I’m not a fan of this attitude, having seen through my clients the negative effects of being in the wrong career.
The economic value argument is simple. If you can work and do work, then you reduce your burden on the state and become a positive contributor through your output at work and the taxes you pay.
Less obvious is the effect this has on the individual. There was a much-trumpeted report by Lord Layard in 2002 which appeared to demonstrate that getting a job lead to an improvement in self-worth and mental health.
It didn’t a seem to matter what you did. Getting a job was the trigger.
However latest research strongly indicates that whilst having a job is generally better for you than being unemployed, ‘any job is better than no job’ just isn’t true anymore.
Any job is better than no job: the study
As Tarani Chandola, author of the study & Professor of Medical Sociology says,
‘Unsurprisingly, those who found work in good quality jobs had a big improvement in their mental health. Moreover, those with any job, whether it is a good or bad job, had a bigger increase in their household incomes than those who remained unemployed.
However, contrary to the “any job is better than no job” assumption, we found that the improvements in the mental health of formerly unemployed adults who became reemployed in poor quality work were not any different from their peers who remained unemployed. More significantly, as shown in the figure below, those who were working in poor quality work actually had higher levels of chronic stress-related biomarkers than their peers who remained unemployed.’
This relates much more closely to my own experiences dealing with work-related stress. The wrong job can be severely debilitating. It’s compounded by the fear which often accompanies work-related stress: what if you change your job/career and it’s even worse? ‘Better the devil you know’ usually wins out.
Transforming negative stress
Even the toughest jobs don’t have to bring negative stress. As long as you can find meaning and control within your environment, negative stress can be successfully transformed into motivating ‘pressure’. The fight or flight response associated with negative stress morphs into a ‘challenge response’. It’s still hard work – but at least it has meaning and you’re there because you’ve decided to stay.
Often the change from negative stress to positive stress needs a change in outlook. A paradigm shift if you will. This can be a difficult trick to pull off on your won. After all, how you perceive your environment is driven unconsciously so you’re likely to need some help.
If you’d like to explore how to transform negative stress into something far more worthwhile, get in touch here. It’ll be great to hear from you.
This Hypnotherapy mp3 will help too: Stress Relief