Chronic job stress shows itself in patterns of worries, behavior, and emotional experiences that drag a person down slowly, cumulatively, and inevitably.
It’s time to go when you feel continuously worried about one or more of the following factors: peer expectations, workload, social networking, work-concentration, work-complexity, work-criticism, pay and benefits, co-workers, clients or customers, personal safety, accomplishments, chances of promotion, job security, and self-esteem.
It’s time to go when you frequently engage in one or more of the following behaviors: fearing specific events or tasks, avoiding certain people, using too much sarcasm, needing to cool down after work-sessions, replaying work incidents in your mind over and over, having frequent disagreements with co-workers, having trouble with workplace attendance, regretting things you have said, working too long or too much, having difficulty taking your mind off work, and experiencing inconsistency in work performance.
It’s time to go when you repeatedly feel: rushed, angry, fatigued, ignored, insulted, taken advantage of, rejected, manipulated, or worthless.
Job Stress and Success
Chronic job stress, like all significant pain, is a signal that change is needed. Determining whether the change should be in your situation, vocation, work habits, training goals, or outlook is the task of a careful assessment. Your life is a sculpture in progress, the most important feature of which is your career identity. Your career identity needs genuine achievement and success as much as your body needs food, exercise, and rest. Continuing in a job against your career objectives means betraying yourself. When workplace job stress starts putting stress on your career identity, it is a threat to both your physical and mental well-being. Career suffering should never be accepted long enough to allow the stress to become chronic.
When our work speaks of our success, we have accomplished much more than simply earning an income. We are defining ourselves, at least in part, as successful people. Successful people tend to develop a clearer sense of their identity and enjoy greater intimacy with other human beings. They become able to bring positive change, not just to their careers, but also to their life experience in totality. The path to gaining career success involves continual tuning and servicing of your career and the resilience to withstand or avoid chronic workplace and career stress.