So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
Follow by Email
Friday, October 20, 2017
Bad jobs worse than no job
A University of Manchester study shows that having a bad job is worse than not having a job. Unemployment is stressful, but the stress of having a bad job negatively impacts your health even more. The lowest stress factors were for those with good jobs.
Not that long ago it was expected that everyone would have a crappy job at some point in their life. Most people expected that it would be temporary until they were promoted to something better. It was looked at as paying your dues. Now people get bad jobs and stay there. My father-in-law started working for a company cleaning glassware in the lab. He only had a high school education. By the time he retired he ran his own chemistry department and had multiple patents. That type of upward mobility is rare these days.
So how do you avoid the pitfalls of a bad job, yet still survive? In some countries it's easy to stay on the dole for a very long time. That can be a trap too. Remember, the best health outcome is generally for people who have good jobs. The longer you are out of the work, the less likely it is you'll be able to land a good job.
If you have a crappy job, focus all your efforts on getting a better job. Be prepared to change companies. You might have to move. Whatever you do, don't get settled into that bad job. Avoid decisions that may require you to hold onto that bad job, like taking on too much debt. People can put up with a lot of they feel they are making progress towards something better.
However, be prepared to quit. There are a lot of unhealthy jobs out there. Either the job itself is dangerous and unhealthy, or the work environment is psychologically toxic. If you hate your boss and co-workers so much that you want to shoot them all, leave.
I know a lot of people who have either been forced into early retirement, or discovered their pension is inadequate for their lifestyle. A lot of people end up working crappy jobs later in life. That just plain sucks. There are strategies around that.
Savings are great, if you've got them. Unfortunately, often times any savings are wiped out in the months leading up to retirement. Medical disability retirement is notorious for that, especially in the US. A person has a medical condition, so in the months and years leading up to their forced retirement, they work less. Less money ends up in the pension fund. Then they get sicker or injured and out of pocket medical expenses drain what savings they have. They may even have to pay for a lawyer to get their benefits.
Companies often find ways to get rid of people before they reach retirement age. A good friend of mine in his late 50s just got let go. There's one business in the area that is so bad that when someone actually makes it to retirement it's a surprise.
So what do you do when you find yourself in that situation? My friend who was let go has savings and few debts. His wife still has a good job. He's got time to find a new job he likes and would be more than happy to make half what he was making in his old job. His lifestyle won't change much.
The other option is to downsize aggressively. Reduce your living expenses to the point where you don't have to stress about the bills. One guy I know lived pretty hard and fast after a divorce and blew through his savings in two years. Now all he has is his small pension. These days he works out in the gym, plays his guitar with friends, and takes his dog for long walks in the woods. It's cheap, he's in good condition, and his mental state is better than it's been in years. He'd rather live that way than work a crappy job for more money.
There's a certain stigma to being unemployed, but it's healthier than a crappy job. A lot of so called unemployed people are still very busy. They may barter their time and skills for things they need. Many work odd jobs off the books. Are they gaming the system? Maybe, but nothing like the millions of dollars big business gets in tax breaks and subsidies from the government.
Your health is at stake here. Don't get trapped in a crappy job until it kills you.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.