Posts tagged with: stress

Economic woes causing us to lose our minds

There are certain studies that seem really unnecessary. A recent Gallup-Healthways poll showing that U.S. residents have become more stressed as the economy worsens fits into this category.

I mean, of course we’re more stressed now. Of course our mental health is on the fritz. We’re all worried about losing our stupid jobs!

The USA Today, the paper that you read when it shows up outside your hotel room door, ran a story on the survey, saying that stress levels shot up throughout 2008. According to the story, the 10 saddest days of the year all came in the final quarter, as the economic news worsened.

It doesn’t say which days actually were the least-happiest. For me, though, it was the three when I trudged outside my Chicago home in below-zero weather to find that my car wouldn’t start. Twice this happened after I’d already scraped a coat of ice off my car’s windows. Those days, I suppose, would rank as extra-sad.

I don’t doubt the health survey’s results. But I’m not sure we need a survey to tell us that U.S. residents are worried about the economy and their emlpoyment options. Unemployment levels are soaring. Salaries are not. And 401(k) totals are disappearing.

What’s not to be stressed about?

Tempers flare as economy worsens

It’s not pleasant out in the workplace these days. I got a firsthand reminder of that yesterday.

One of my main freelance jobs is to serve as the editor of a trade magazine for commercial real estate professionals. Of course, the real estate industry is in a freefall right now. To say it’s crashing is an understatement. It’s more like it’s already exploded and everyone’s scrambling to pick up the pieces.

For the magazine, this is bad news. As real estate companies struggle, few want to spend money on advertising. Really, you can’t blame them. That has led to tense salespeople at my office, especially since most of them work on a commission basis.

Our latest issue came out yesterday. We were tight on space, and I had, at the last minute, held a column. There wasn’t room for it, so I slated it to run in our next issue, which it will.

The column was written by an advertiser. From the reaction from the sales staff, you would have thougth I set our office on fire in the middle of the night. Everyone was livid. Thing is, no one took the time to even call the advertiser to see if they were upset. My hunch? The advertiser would understand the space issues and would not have been at all upset that the column would run one issue later than originally planned.

Turns out, I was right. All that whining and moaning was misplaced. The advertiser didn’t care. The advertiser understood.

This is a good lesson: Everyone’s tense right now. These are incredibly difficult times in the working world. No one’s job is secure. But letting your temper get the best of you never helps. Cool off before you make that accusatory phone call. Take a few minutes before typing that howling e-mail. You might be — just maybe — overreacting a bit.