Posts Tagged 'Grievances'

Work related stress

There are people in this world who are always stressed about their job. They moan about it and (genuinely, I believe) get really upset and harassed by the problems and conflict that the role brings about.

Now I’m not unsympathetic to work related stress, and there are some jobs where it pretty much goes without saying: For paramedics, firefighters, social workers, and so on, stress is pretty much a daily occurrence in their lives. But on the whole (and I know this is a sweeping statement), office workers don’t really have much to grumble about. We don’t look death in the eye every day and people’s lives don’t really depend on us (though I concede their livelihoods often do!)

I understand totally that stress in the workplace can be caused by more than the obvious though. I’m not that obtuse – honest! There’s a whole host of things that can have an impact – from trying to do a role you are not trained for, to not receiving support from colleagues and, not least of all, from bullying and harassment. But honestly; this is where I fall down a little…

Annabel Kaye recently posed a question on Twitter about grievances. We exchanged a couple of tweets on the topic and she asked what, if anything, would make me more likely to raise a grievance. I tell you – my mind went blank! Now I’ve worked in jobs I’ve hated and for people who’ve been bullies and I’ve never raised a grievance. I genuinely can not imagine a situation where I would! Maybe (maybe!) if I had a problem with one person or aspect of a role, and it was something I felt was worth trying to resolve, then I would consider it. But only if the good really outweighed the bad overall, and only if resolving it wasn’t going to be like stirring up a hornets nest! Even then though, I sincerely doubt I’d ever make it to grievance level. If I have a problem with someone or something, then I talk about it. I’d like to think that my colleagues and managers are mature enough to do likewise and for me not to have to make matters formal just to have my basic working environment and rights maintained.

I’m a great believer in second chances and I like to think I’d never quit on a role without trying to resolve any problems first, but I would want to do it informally, and if it wasn’t resolved reasonably speedily then I wouldn’t waste my time bringing up the issue again. In my experience, it’s often those at the top of the food chain who are the biggest culprits too and, if this is the case, then who are you meant to turn to?! To me (and this is only my personal opinion) if the problem is major and not likely to be easily resolved, then I won’t stick around. I don’t want to work for a company where the owner is a bully – that kind of behavior seeps down through the management chain and often becomes seen as “acceptable”. Likewise, I don’t want to work for a company that allows whole groups of people to bully and intimidate other members of staff. And, for me at least, this applies on so many levels: Don’t want to train me to do my job properly? Then I don’t want to work for you. Don’t want to support your staff? Then I don’t want to work for you either! I know it’s a very black and white view, but I’m a black and white kinda girl! I either love you or I hate you – there’s not generally many grey areas in my life!

Everyone likes to gripe about work sometimes and I’m all for venting because we all need to do it and it’s part of what makes life bearable! But if your job really has such a negative an impact on your life that it’s causing you to be stressed and is affecting your health and life, then you have to ask yourself: Is it worth it? We work 7, 8, 9 hours a day – that’s the bulk of our waking day. Yes, not many of us can afford to be out of work and I’m not for a moment suggest that you hastily hand your notice in, but do be honest with yourself! Ask yourself what it really is that makes you so stressed at work and try and formulate a plan of action to remedy it. Maybe that involves an informal chat with a manager or colleague; maybe it involves raising an official grievance; or maybe it means recognising that the role just isn’t for you and that it’s time to look at moving on. Whichever: Don’t let work related stress rule your life – it’s just not worth it!


If you’re an employer and want to find out more then you should check out the
ACAS Stress at Work PDF Advisory Booklet.

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Over ten years’ recruitment, employability, HR and sales experience in both the private and public sectors. I've worked in construction recruitment, FMCG headhunting, and in higher education on the employability agenda.

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