In his new book, Dying for a Paycheck, Jeffrey Pfeffer, PhD, a specialist in organizational behavior at Stanford Business, makes a bold statement: insufficient health insurance, long hours and work-life conflicts are more than a source of stress — they're killing people.
Pfeffer discusses his book and why he hopes it will serve as a wake-up call for employers and employees in a recent interview for Insights by Stanford Business. In the piece, Pfeffer explains that a growing pool of research suggests that chronic diseases are caused by stress, and biggest source of stress is the workplace. Pfeffer says:
I look out at the workplace and I see stress, layoffs, longer hours, work-family conflict, enormous amounts of economic insecurity. I see a workplace that has become shockingly inhumane.
The work hours that companies are demanding of their employees are causing the breakup of marriages, burdens on raising children, and general disruption to family life.
Pfeffer says he commonly hears others suggest that stressed employees should just find another job. The problem with this line of thinking is that it oversimplifies a complex issue, Pfeffer argues.
Exhaustion is serious problem that cannot be cured simply by getting a new job, Pfeffer explains. Also, finding a job is no small task. "If you are physically or psychologically drained by workplace stress, then you’re not going to have the capacity to go out and look for another job," he says.
Another issue is that many companies subtly persuade employees to tough it out by conveying the idea that they're an elite organization and only a select group of outstanding employees will be able to meet the challenge of working there. "Who wants to admit they’re not good enough?" Pfeffer asks.
The entire interview is well worth a read.
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