Whether you’re earning $50,000 or $10 million, this is a crazy-stressful job

The push toward quit: Possibly people are stepping away to get away from the stress and chaos of employment.

“I think people are feeling [the stress] more acutely,” said John Rowan, director of the Monitor Mental Health Institute at the University of Minnesota. “It may be that the normal drudgery is becoming really intolerable for them, even if they’re not quite clearly describing it that way. And so they’re saying, ‘Enough. I really need a break.’”

Step away from the grind: Several studies have found that people are at a higher risk of stress or burnout after years of working in a stressful job. “It does seem at the individual level that somebody with chronic stress or having long-term job-related stress that they are at risk,” Rowan said. “With respect to health … it’s a different story. It’s not as simple. For most people, it’s ‘Oh, this is like normal, we’re going to have a few more heart attacks or something like that.’”

In general, Rowan said, you’re not going to become physically ill from long-term stress because your body does “the thing it does best, which is maintain a steady blood pressure, and as long as you don’t have a dramatic change in that, it doesn’t really hurt you.”

The elusive resignation: He said “that your resignation as a worker is almost like the ultimate sort of abstract diagnosis. If I was a doctor, I’m not going to say, ‘Well, let’s label you as feeling as a result of stress.’ Well, what does that mean? What’s the measurable effect on you? Who’s going to really know for sure that you’ve had a stress-related death?”

But those suffering from chronic stress should know that stress can contribute to other disorders. “If you have chronic stress, your risk of heart disease rises” by as much as 7 percent each month of stress, Rowan said.

The best way to quit: Quit if you can manage to do so without hurting your health. “You do have to have something in place to enjoy that time,” Rowan said.

This piece was sponsored by Calico.

Leave a Comment