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Stress at work?

(54 Posts)
Nonnie Wed 25-Mar-15 09:40:58

Were/are you stressed at work? In the last week I have read about all the teachers and all the health workers who are very stressed at work. I didn't belong to a union so no one did any research on how stressed I might be.

I am not suggesting they are not, more that an awful lot of people are. It is possible that when you work with a lot of people doing the same job day after day you all talk about how hard the job is and wind each other up to become stressed. It must be easier to take time off with stress when you work with people who understand than it was where I worked. It would have been the end of career progression.

I sometimes think that those who have never done anything different have a somewhat blinkered idea of what other people's jobs are like. I never had a 9-5 job and was never paid for any of my overtime. I had an arrangement with the friend who looked after DS after school that she would feed him when necessary and keep him until one of us got home.

When on an IT project I had to keep my laptop on 24 hours a day and be prepared to take a call at any time as the IT problems would be solved in whichever country was working using a system called 'Follow the Sun'. That was stressful. DH's job was stressful, 2 DS's have stressful (but rewarding) jobs.

Should I now go and hide from all the teachers and medics? I only used them as the latest example.

tanith Wed 25-Mar-15 10:57:02

I was stressed at my job in the NHS, the work was hard manually as well as being time-constrained , I did long hours and often stayed on long after my shift . Many of my colleagues were in similar situations but carried on anyway.

Eventually I had to take early-retirement from physically being unable to carry on.

I do think people are put under the most enormous pressures to perform nowadays even in lowly paid and less skilled jobs its no wonder stress is a factor in many lost days.

gillybob Wed 25-Mar-15 11:12:01

Without trying to compete in "stress levels" I look at my sister who works in the NHS. Fairly well paid for what she does. Good holidays, excellent working conditions, pension, paid sick leave, uniform provided, assistance in travel costs, 9-5 job Monday to Friday, Discounts in various shops etc. and I wonder why anyone would choose not to work in the public sector. Blimey.

Nonnie Wed 25-Mar-15 12:07:11

gilly I think those final salary, index linked pensions would be a great incentive to stay in the job. Wish I had one of those.

gillybob Wed 25-Mar-15 12:43:55

Yes me too Nonnie envy

harrigran Wed 25-Mar-15 13:05:16

DS works in IT and the stress he and his colleagues have to reach deadlines is quite extraordinary. He has health problems and when the pressure is on I can see the effect it has on him.

gillybob Wed 25-Mar-15 13:06:40

I can understand that Harrigran Deadlines (often unreasonable) are indeed very stressful.

ninathenana Wed 25-Mar-15 15:53:30

Having worked in schools hearing of teachers with stress related illnesses is common. One reception teacher from a school I worked in was of sick for 2 yrs with stress ! I will probably be shot down for saying it but I would have far more sympathy for a senior school teacher.
I would imagine any job that was paid on commission only would be pretty stressful.

Nonnie Wed 25-Mar-15 16:03:46

nina was she paid for that 2 years?

kittylester Wed 25-Mar-15 16:49:44

I have conflicting views on this. When Mum was in hospital a while ago, I asked a group of 3 nurses, who were chatting at the nurses' station, if one of them could help her to the toilet only to be told that mum wasn't one of their patients! They didn't strike me as too stressed.

Having said that, DH's colleague (and the only other person in the county doing the same work) retired about a year ago and has not been replaced. DH's contract has been slightlyvincreased and he is under a lot of pressure to see more and more patients. Try as I may to persuade him, he won't cut down his hours because there are people needing him but I think the NHS is relying on his sense of professionalism to not leave people in the lurch!

And, DD's school has had Ofsted in this week - that's stress!

ninathenana Wed 25-Mar-15 18:17:59

Nonnie I believe she was.

JessM Wed 25-Mar-15 18:38:39

I've been a science teacher and it is pretty stressful being shut in a room with thirty 15 year olds - who are required to do practical work and who just don't get the importance of health and safety. Specially if you are not good at classroom management (I wasn't) If you' re given he worst groups (i was) and if you are not given much help and support (I wasn't) it can be quite unpleasant at times. If you are feeling a bit weary or under the weather the kids don't sympathise, they sense weakness and play up more.
You do have to do marking and prep in the evening or at the weekend. However... most teachers learn to be good at classroom management once they are established in a schoo, you do get an awful lot of holidays and most teachers are out of the door by 4pm. You have relatively little childcare stress (your kids teacher is on strike - ok you just bring your kid to school with you). You also have fantastic terms and conditions including pension, sick pay etc. Far better than equivalent jobs in the private sector. And working with kids can be fun and rewarding - teachers get to laugh more than other professions. Oh and if your colleague is off you don't have to cover their work (like you do in many jobs).
They don't do dinner duty, yard duty etc and get approx 1 free period a day.
The teaching unions compete with each other to convince teachers they are terribly hard done by. When I was a teacher the staff room used to be full of moaners, and staff rooms are still full of moans. No wonder there is a problem with recruitment - the teaching profession is its own marketing nightmare.
Time off sick is much higher in the public sector than private. I don't think this is because it is more stressful in the public sector - I think it is because sickness is managed much better in the private sector, there is often more sense of being part of a team and the sick benefits are often much worse.

Mishap Wed 25-Mar-15 18:42:35

I saw a great deal of stress from colleagues during my social work career, and I cannot say that I felt too great a large amount of the time!

I think that the common factor in the stress that public sector workers suffer is not the job per se, but the micro-management and bureaucratic crap that dogs their every move.

GrannyTwice Wed 25-Mar-15 19:15:58

Not to mention the constant moaning about them all

GrannyTwice Wed 25-Mar-15 19:18:19

This really is a very unpleasant goady thread. Off for a free wine

petra Wed 25-Mar-15 19:18:37

I had a nervous breakdown caused through stress at work. I never dreamed it could happen to me. Me, who could juggle all the balls in the air at the same time. But you don't see it coming until the s..t hits the fan, and in my case, it sure did. Fortunately I can laugh at it now.
Funny enough, when I went back to work, my boss had found several people to do the jobs that had been dumped on me.

Mishap Wed 25-Mar-15 19:24:42

Oh - social workers are immune to the goading!

amarmai Wed 25-Mar-15 19:48:47

If you think teachers and SW have it so easy, get the qualifications and switch, then get back to us if you find it stressful etc!

Iam64 Thu 26-Mar-15 09:11:19

Thanks GrannyTwice - this thread deteriorated into a public bad, private good debate instantly. I don't know any teacher ( or other public servant) who'd be paid for 2 years when off with stress. The maximum would be 6 months on full pay, 6 months on half and then it stops. Yes, it's a good package and anyone is free to leave the private sector, spend in excess of £40,000 training to be a sw or teacher before working in what is a rewarding if stressful post at the same time as being subjected to nastiness because you chose the job you did.

J52 Thu 26-Mar-15 09:18:33

Hear, hear Iam64. x

Nonnie Thu 26-Mar-15 09:43:27

I think there is a lot in what Jess says and the thing that struck me because I had never thought about it before is the staff room. Unless one was a smoker there was never anywhere to go and have a good moan with the colleagues so not the same opportunity for a group moan. Quite the opposite, we were always careful not to moan in case it got back to the boss. Careers have been ruined by such things.

Like Petra I was replaced by three people so know that life is not easy in the private sector.

It is a shame that some seem to think this is another private v public sector thread, that was never my intention. What a shame that (often) those in the public sector are so defensive. I just wanted to make the point that life is stressful in the private sector too.

My only experience of public sector working was when we moved and I did some temping for the Probation Service prior to getting a permanent job. I was flabbergasted to see them working set hours, having study leave, proper lunch breaks and simply chatting a lot of the time. They made so many generalisations about their 'clients' and seemed to have a very blinkered attitude to life. They made assumptions about me and when I told them we had bought a house and where, they didn't believe someone as lowly as me could live there. I was temping, so assumptions were made. Of course that is only one experience of a couple of months so I cannot generalise.

Nelliemoser Thu 26-Mar-15 09:59:47

Working in teaching, Social work the health service has all the difficulties of facing the public who make many demands and often getting stroppy and abusive when they cannot get what they want.

Parents verbally abusing staff when the school have tried to discipline their child.

I have been verbally abused many times on the phone. Had a police woman
drag a large teenage girl off my shoulders.
l have interviewed office callers with a collegague because you don't feel you can trust that person. You keep the desk and panic button between your self and the visitor and your back to an open door.

Many of the people you encounter in the public sector do not want to be "there"!
In school and not wanting to get down to work so they playing "wind up the teacher".

Having a social worker visiting because of concerns about the poor care their children are getting.

The health service paramedics, a/e staff, regularly deal with abusive drunks as well as seriously ill accident victims and people who die on the wards despite all the care given which can leave staff feeling they have failed however hard they tried.

NHS clinical staff do long shift work hours, some times twelve hour shifts and night shifts which mess up body clocks.

If anyone thinks the "private sector" is cushy they are very very wrong.
No pay rises for about four or five years now as far as I know.

Funding is cut to the bone. My former colleagues are despairing at how bad things have got now trying to run children's and Mental health services with inadequate services. It's stressful being asked to do a job when they have removed all your rescources.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 26-Mar-15 10:06:15

I have just read jess's post about teachers and their lot! So many untruths! (The is respectfully meant - but needs saying)

"most teachers are out of the door by 4 pm". Make that 6 please! And even then there is marking to be done at weekends.

The government is moving the goalposts re their pensions as much as any others'.

I have never heard my DD mention a teacher bringing a sick child to work with them! The parent stays home with the child and the remaining teachers have to provide cover. (Yes! They do have to do cover!)

They do do playground duty. Hanging around in freezing weather is the norm.

I can't remember when my DD had a day off sick.

"They get to laugh more. "Oh yes, most of the kids are great. The latest classroom incident my DD had to deal with was when a couple of kids decided to fill a pencil case with gas and set fire to it! She didn't laugh at the time - she dealt with it calmly and sensibly. But we have laughed about it, and other incidents, since. grin

Oh, and did I mention holiday revision classes - which they are expected to do?

Get your facts right please.

Nonnie Thu 26-Mar-15 10:07:12

Nellie so many of the things you say also happen in the private sector. My son didn't get a pay rise for 7 years and then this year got 1%. I seem to remember something about some of the public sector getting increments instead of rises but not sure.

At least in the public sector when you work long hours you are paid for them and get a commensurate amount of time off. I usually worked long hours in my last job and never got time off in lieu or extra pay.

I'm not saying it is harder in the private sector or easier, I am saying that lots of people have stressful jobs but the public sector has a louder 'voice' so we all get to hear about it.

It often seems on Gn as if those who come from the public sector think the rest of us have it easy.

Iam64 Thu 26-Mar-15 10:14:58

Nonnie I agree that all employees are having a tough time, whether they're in the public or the private sector. I don't know anyone who isn't working over their contracted hours, struggling with bills etc because of lack of pay rises (despite the stuff being said about zero inflation, it doesn't feel like that out here in the RL does it)

I don't pick up on public sector gransnetter's believing those in the private sector have it easy. I suspect the reason the public sector has a 'louder voice' is because historically, most joined their union with a view to collective bargaining. That opportunity was not open in the private sector, certainly not in any of the areas I worked in.

Jingle- agreement from me with your post about the reality of teaching.