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Saturday, February 17, 2020

News and Views: February 17th 2007

More about stress and disease

Link to studies showing that workplace stress can lead to an increase in rates of heart disease, flu virus, metabolic syndrome, and can negate the heart-healthy aspects of a physically active job. There’s so much scientific evidence about the negative impact of job stress, I cannot quite see why the authorities haven’t stepped in with preventative legislation as they have with, say, seat belts in cars. [link]

Even government watchdogs can be caught out spoiling their own patch

Great Britain’s Health and Safety Executive (the government body charged with monitoring how employers deal with work-related stress) has been strongly criticized after one of its senior employees claimed he was forced into early retirement by work-related stress. [link]

Regular napping may reduce risk of heart disease

Researchers from the University of Athens Medical School in Greece found that those who took regular, mid-day naps lowered their chances of heart disease by more than a third. I think I’ll look into that as soon as I’ve had my next nap. [link]

When you feel that surge of blood to the head . . .

How to curb your primitive instincts and save yourself from wrecking your environment, your possessions, and your relationships. [link]

Accountants still don't get it

A study by Arizona State University suggests bosses at large public accounting firms don't like people who try to achieve work/life balance. Employees who worked part-time or flextime hours were less likely to get plum assignments going forward, and their career prospects took a hit, and (surprise) the negative impact of part-time and flextime work schedules packed more wallop against men than women. Seems the top bean-counters can't count the benefits of a happier workforce. [link]

A vigorous attack on “the market and its workaholic ways”

Oliver James, writing in The Times (London, UK), is unhappy that Britain came bottom of Unicef’s league table of the happiness and welfare of children in industrialized nations (one place below the USA. Holland was top). He blames Margaret Thatcher, who he claims began a trend towards what he calls “affluenza virus” values—placing too high a value on money, possessions, appearances (physical and social) and fame, plus what he calls a “men in skirts” version of feminism that is, he believes, vigorously hostile to parents being at home when their children are small. Worth a look, whatever side of the argument you’re on. [link]

Aussie professor also targets “affluenza”

Professor Niki Ellis says that highly skilled workers are putting in 50 hours per week, not because they love their jobs but because they’re trapped by their lifestyles. She also claims there’s an “attitude of denial” towards workplace stress in Australia. 50 hours a week is mild, compared with what is sometimes the norm in the USA, but I applaud her point. [link]

Transatlantic comparisons

Brian Lee compares Americans and Europeans and notes that what Americans lack in leisure time, we tend to make up for in work ethic. In his view, Europeans tend to place a much greater emphasis on the arts, spending time with family, and relaxation. I know which I prefer . . . but I’m a European, even if I now live in the USA. [link]

Motivation run amok?

Is ambition is a good trait to hold? Here’s a carefully argued view that says that it isn’t. The anonymous writer also has an interesting turn of phrase: “You don’t have to murder to be ambitious though. You can also tweak your accounting. The leaders of Enron and MCI didn’t kill anyone, but their ambition devastated thousands. I’d call them gentleman despots.” Worth a look for the passion alone. [link]



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