Unhealthy at the top?
PROMOTION: You’ve worked hard and now you’re being rewarded: your company is offering you a promotion. This is good news, of course. Career advancement means more recognition and usually more money. But there is a negative side as well. According to a British study, your health may suffer from the stress of job promotion.
“Getting a promotion at work is not as great as many people think,” says Chris Boyce of the University of Warwick . Boyce and a team of researchers interviewed over 10,000 British workers annually between 1991 and 2005. They found that people went to the doctor less often after promotions. Although this seems at first like a sign of improved health, the researchers say “this may be something to worry about rather than celebrate”. They suggest that such workers have less time for regular check-ups.
Psychological strain is higher among people who are promoted in private industry, according to the study. “It could be that the public sector has special features that make it possible to gain health protection from improved work status,” the researchers say.
People in the private sector suffer more from stress than those in the public sector.
Dr Douglas Saunders, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, told CBC News that the stability and benefits offered to workers in the public sector could explain their sense of well-being. “These people feel a sense of security and comfort,” Saunders said.
Some public institutions offer workers employee assistance programmes (EAPs) to help staff deal with stress. The University of Saskatchewan, for example, gives faculty, staff and their immediate families counselling and consultation services.
Such programmes are not exclusive to the public sector, however. Air Canada and its trade unions provide an EAP for employees and their families.
For more on the ups and downs of dealing with promotions, see “Getting Ahead” in Business Spotlight 4/2009.