Does your job depress you? Recently a study was released that highlighted the top ten job positions that have the highest rate of depression among employees.
#1 on the list was employees who take care of children or the elderly. A close second was people who prepare and serve food. But is it really the job that causes this depression?
I recently had a friend approach me with a list of complaints about her job. She was frustrated that her responsibilities and voice at the company were fading. Though she approached her superiors with this, she was assured the company was on the same path it had always been. After sticking it out for a few more months she felt the stress level and frustration increase to the point where even the thought of going to work the next day depressed her. After hearing the details it was apparent to me that the company was shifting its vision from one that my friend had been comfortable with, to one that was not conducive to her own success. Her loyalty to the company and determination to ‘stick with it’ had almost become a detriment to her at this point because she was, as my father used to say, “beating a dead horse”. My advice to my friend; Change Your Attitude or Change Your Job! “Simple”, I thought. But from the stand point of a consultant it was really a bit more complex than this. One thing that has become clear to me in my HR career is that lack of communication in any situation (professional or personal), is like a cancer. What starts out benign can grow to an overwhelming and devastating scenario where the other parties are forced to feel their way around in the dark and generally end up making the wrong assumptions. In my friend’s case, the company leaders had obviously deviated from, forgotten about or changed the direction of the company and had not shared new information with any of the key players within the organization. Decisions were being made outside the parameters of what had before been a ‘clear vision’. Furthermore, though the key players within a company are loyal even in the face of change, it can be frustrating if they don’t know where these changes are leading them. Unclear objectives, misguided initiatives and a shift from team work to individualism are typically the byproduct of the company leaders not communicating their vision.
As a company leader make sure you share information regularly with your team and keep them informed of the company vision and direction. If you’re on the executive level, work with your team leaders to form and sharpen your vision. It will keep your whole organization heading in the same direction and reduce the stress and anxiety levels. You want to encourage energy and drive and reward ideas and creativity.
If you’re part of the team and have found yourself in the same place as my friend, voice your concerns early on. Don’t wait for things to get so bad that you dread going to work every day. Remember, you chose your current employer partly based on the direction the company was going. Part of the responsibility for keeping the ship going in that same direction lies with you. If, however, you have done all this and still find your company heading in a direction that you are not comfortable with, don’t let it affect you personally. Chances are your employer is going to go where they are going to go with or without your input so your choice is simple; Change Your Attitude, or, Change your Job!