Many people in corporate life have the same question; why are corporate jobs so stressful? So I took it upon myself to do extensive research and answer this question for you in this article.
According to research, there are six main areas that can lead to work-related stress if they are not managed properly. These are demands, control, support, relationships, role, and change. But there are many more reasons why corporate jobs are stressful, which I address in this article thoroughly. Plus, I share tips on how to handle stress better in a corporate job. So continue reading.
1) Tight Deadlines
The corporate world is run on deadlines. Every project has a deadline either set by the client or the company itself. And because we live in a face-paced world, these deadlines are often very tight. The project has to run most efficiently and productively to be able to meet the deadline. And that puts a lot of pressure on the employees who do their best to make the deadline. All things are pushed to the side, such as employees’ (health) needs, as the deadline date is approaching, which is accompanied by stress building up.
Team members start to worry about reprisals from management when they cannot complete their tasks on time. They need to work overtime and experience vast amounts of stress because they think their life is on the line when they can’t deliver on time. People who are not good at setting clear boundaries and defining their work area can experience the highest amounts of stress in companies with constant tight deadlines.
And there is a trend in the corporate world where every manager pushes every new task as “urgent.” But what if every task is urgent? Then nothing is urgent anymore. Right?! This new way of assigning tasks also disrupts already busy schedules and puts unnecessary pressure on individuals. It can be overwhelming when this pressure is frequent or long-lasting.
It is no wonder that more and more people experience burnout or burnout symptoms, which include physical and emotional exhaustion because they are dealing with immense stress trying to meet expectations and rising demands. According to a recent online study: 76% of U.S. employees are currently experiencing worker burnout.
People must experience relaxation times to calm their bodies and minds and stay balanced and healthy. And that is not only needed during off-hours. This balance needs to be present in the corporate world as well. Or else it isn’t easy to survive in the corporate world.
2) Poor Relationships
According to research about the causes of stress at work, poor relationships with the boss, manager, or coworkers can lead to stress. When there isn’t social support at work, people feel alone and unheard. This causes stress because humans are social creatures. We thrive on positive social interactions.
Some environments are extremely toxic, where people have no empathy for others, and work becomes a competition where it is the survival of the fittest game. In this environment, people do not mind stabbing others in the back to become in a better position for themselves because everyone is trying to survive. People feel like their life depends on their job. They do everything to keep their job so that they can pay their bills, feed their children, etc. And when people are in survival mode, they often do not show their prettiest side.
Also, many companies have their own politics going on. And as people climb the corporate ladder, the politics and backstabbing can even get worse, so they almost feel forced to play along with these games to keep their job, pride, and image.
Favoritism and sucking up to the boss are very common. And in many companies, this behavior is rewarded. So when you want to have a promotion or want to be assigned a fun project, you almost feel forced to go along with these political games as well, even to make a chance. And that is when people experience stress within their corporate job because they don’t want to show this behavior but feel forced to do so. Or they see it in others, and it causes stress because it goes against everything they believe and value.
3) It Is All About The Money
Corporate companies are only interested in making more money. And when the bottom line is money, the value of everything else drops to zero, such as people, services, values, environmental footprints, etc. It is all about making as much money as possible, which means having the costs as low as possible. Anything the company thinks is too expensive will be cut away even though it can be of enormous value to its employees or society.
So when money is most important, everything else doesn’t matter. This means the interest, dreams, and needs of the company’s employees don’t matter. Knowing this, experiencing, and feeling this on a daily basis makes corporate jobs stressful because you have to conform to the company’s needs instead of your own. You’re in an internal struggle because your needs aren’t met. Your body, mind, and soul aren’t aligned, and this causes stress in the body.
Also, many bosses promise their clients high-quality results but expect their employees to do it with the tightest budgets. Imagine the stress it gives people when you always have to deliver the highest results with the lowest amount of money. It is like making impossible dreams possible constantly.
4) Unrealistic Goals
Many managers and bosses are out of touch with the actual working environment where projects are run, and work is produced. They don’t know how much time or work it takes to accomplish a specific job task. And as they (or sales agents) try to pull in future clients, they promise dream scenarios that pressure the people who need to do the work and deliver. The unrealistic goals companies set gives their employees a lot of stress.
Also, when bosses assign aggressive targets to their employees, they neglect everything important. In turn, the employees get frustrated, affecting their productivity and self-esteem, and then they are even more unable to achieve unrealistic goals. A downward spiral is created.
5) Insufficient Information
Another big stress factor in corporate jobs is having to do the job without all the sufficient information you need. There is a gap between the result that is demanded from you and the tools to be able to accomplish these results. People have to pull the information from elsewhere to be able to do their job, which is very time-consuming in a busy schedule world. And when people are not proactive by nature or are afraid to ask questions for clarification about their tasks and expectations, they experience stress and anxiety within their job.
6) No Recognition And Appreciation
What motivates people is being seen, honored, and respected for who they are and what they do. And what many people experience nowadays is that the work they put in is not being appreciated. They feel they are a little piece in a big chess game where everyone is replaceable. This lack of job security causes stress.
Many companies expect employees to be cooperative and flexible 24/7, but when there is a request from an employee for the company to be a little bit more flexible due to an emergency or other important human need, the company often doesn’t cooperate. And this causes stress because balancing work and personal life becomes more difficult.
According to Therapy Group NYC, “many United States workers feel overworked, underappreciated, and increasingly burned out. Nearly 40 percent of workers report that their job causes them stress, and 25 percent of workers say their job is the prime stressor in their lives. According to the American Institute of Stress, 75 percent of employees believe that their workforce generation has more job-related stress than previous ones.”
7) High Demands
For the last couple of years, the pressure has been building up. The corporate world asks much more from its employees than ever before. This accelerated with the arrival of smartphones, where all humans are reachable 24/7, and companies to this to their advantage.
For employees, it has become more difficult to set boundaries and maintain their mental and physical health. The same job now causes more stress than 10 or 20 years ago due to the increasing responsibilities and higher demand, plus all the constant stimuli from phones, tablets, etc. Email is a fast communication technique, but everyone receives hundreds of emails a day and expects to get an answer quickly. And working hours are stretched. The line between working hours and off-hours has become very blurry.
This situation causes more stress for all people in general, but also on a personal level when you can’t meet the high requirements. You go into survival mode to combat dangers, which releases stress hormones and has negative impacts on the body.
As I mentioned earlier, an online study revealed that more and more people experience burnout or burnout symptoms (physical and emotional exhaustion) because they are dealing with immense stress trying to meet expectations and rising demands.
“Numerous studies show that job stress is far and away the major source of stress for American adults and that it has escalated progressively over the past few decades. Increased levels of job stress as assessed by the perception of having little control but lots of demands have been demonstrated to be associated with increased rates of heart attack, hypertension, and other disorders.”
8) No Control
Restrictions on behavior and little or no participation in the decision-making process are also what make corporate jobs stressful. By nature, humans are autonomous beings. We need the freedom to control our own lives to feel happy, powerful, and healthy.
Within corporate jobs, people have little or no control over their job tasks, role, projects, or future. It is demanded to conform to the company’s needs. Not having control is not natural. You’re being pushed away from your authentic self, and this causes stress in the body.
According to this article on The Conversation.com, “control acts as a buffer against the otherwise adverse effects of high-level demands on work-related stress. Intervention strategies aiming to increase control over how and when to undertake certain tasks and increase participation in decision-making are likely to reduce stress among workers.”
Taking back control over my own life is one of the biggest reasons for me to retire from the rat race and start this website to help others.
9) Corporate Job Is Unnatural
Having a corporate job is a very unnatural way of life. We think we can survive in the concrete jungle, but that is not who we innately are. We are human beings that thrive in nature and not in concrete buildings. We need nature to survive. We are nature. We are not on earth. We are earth.
And we’ve lost that connection in general, but people with corporate jobs lost that connection even more. And they get a feeling at their job, “I don’t belong here,” which is so absolutely true. Corporate life is the opposite of how life is supposed to be and how it is designed for human beings. This causes stress. Everything that is not aligned with who you innately are causes stress.
“A man is part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.” – Unknown
The corporate world is a fast-paced world where things are constantly changing. And there are a lot of people who cannot handle change as well as others. The uncertainty and being pushed out of the comfort zone lead to negative thoughts and feelings, which can lead to greater stress. Even when the change is positive, this can be upsetting for some people.
A survey from the American Psychological Association revealed that change at work is linked to employee stress. “Workers experiencing recent or current change were more than twice as likely to report chronic work stress compared with employees who reported no recent, current or anticipated change (55 percent vs. 22 percent), and more than four times as likely to report experiencing physical health symptoms at work (34 percent vs. 8 percent).”
Tips To Handle Stress In A Corporate Job
Now that we’ve addressed thoroughly why corporate jobs are so stressful. Let’s share some tips on what you can do to make your corporate job less stressful.
1) Create A Positive Morning Routine
“Win the morning, win your day”
The start of the day sets the tone for the rest of the day. You’ll likely experience a less stressful day if you create a stressless morning routine. Wake up earlier to get ready for the day at a slower pace. And do something for yourself (me-time) to fuel your tank, such as enjoying a good cup of coffee, listening to positive or relaxing music, etc.
2) Know What Is Expected From You
A big factor in job burnout is not knowing the job requirements. When it’s unclear what is expected from you or if your role keeps changing, you get stressed by constantly trying to meet changing expectations.
Know the job requirements or request what is expected from you. And that is a good basis for setting clear boundaries for yourself and others.
3) Stay Away From Conflict
One of the biggest stress factors at work is interpersonal conflict. If you want to keep your stress low, turn on your radar for conflict and stay away from it as much as you can.
4) Clean Your Desk
Clean your desk before you start work. A clean desk is a clean mind. And try to be organized the rest of the day to avoid stress caused by clutter or chaotic work methods.
5) Make Yourself Comfortable
It might be surprising, but an uncomfortable chair or a low/ high desk can cause stress. Also, an unhealthy sitting position can tighten your neck and back muscles which gives you physical stress. Therefore, make yourself as comfortable as you can by getting the right chair, desk, and location within the office.
6) Focus On One Task At A Time
Multitasking is when your brain gets overloaded with too many things at the same time. It is not as efficient as working on one task at a time. It might look that way, but it isn’t. You make mistakes much more often, and you’ll feel stressed when it is not even necessary.
Try to avoid multitasking as much as possible by chunking: set aside chunks of time to focus on one specific task while minimizing interruptions and grouping similar tasks together.
Meditation can help you slow down your thoughts and train your mind to be an observer instead of going along with every thought that pops up in your mind. this way, you’ll create a healthy space between your thoughts; within this space, you can make conscious decisions on what is a priority and what is not.
8) Get Moving
Exercising or simply walking at lunchtime and during coffee breaks helps you to get out of your head and into your body. Moving your body is a powerful way to manage stress because it boosts your feel-good endorphins and distracts you from daily worries. Getting physical relieves stress, according to Mayo Clinic.