Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses The Almighty Buck Science

Your Boss Is Not More Stressed Out Than You, Science Says (vice.com) 245

An anonymous reader writes: Work under capitalism is a brutal psychological gauntlet -- low pay, long hours, and little to no safety net. But bosses usually expect you to take some solace in the fact that you're not doing their (supposedly more difficult) job, even if they make more money. Some part of you might think that's bullshit, but hey, what do you know? Well, according to new work from researchers from the University of Manchester, University College London, and the University of Essex, it probably is bullshit. According to their study, published on Friday in the Journals of Gerontology, people lower on the corporate ladder are, on average, more stressed than people higher up. Worse, according to the study, the elevated stress continues into retirement for average working people. 'Workers in lower status jobs tend to have more stressful working conditions -- they have lower pay, poorer pension arrangements, less control over their work, and report more unsupportive colleagues and managers,' Tarani Chandola, a professor of medical sociology at the University of Manchester and one of the paper's authors, wrote me in an email.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Your Boss Is Not More Stressed Out Than You, Science Says

Comments Filter:
  • by dmt0 ( 1295725 ) on Monday May 08, 2017 @12:03PM (#54377277)
    Maybe being better at dealing with stress is what allows you to climb higher up the corporate ladder.
    • by king neckbeard ( 1801738 ) on Monday May 08, 2017 @12:05PM (#54377297)
      Or, maybe succeeding in capitalism is easy once you've got enough capital.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      may be being a psychopath means you don't give a fuck about people, so your less stressed.

      (would seem to tie in with the research that indicates most bosses tend to be psychopaths)

    • by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Monday May 08, 2017 @12:14PM (#54377393)

      Responsible Owners of companies and high level executives are burdened with the fact that they are responsible for the livelihoods of their employees. I have worked for several companies where I have personally seen a manager or owner stress to the point of depression when facing the task of laying off an employee.

      Contrary to what people think, most managers are good people and have the back of their employees.

      • Data doesn't seem to support that. Perhaps that is mostly true for small businesses, but not in businesses large enough to have visits from corporate.
      • by lazarus ( 2879 ) on Monday May 08, 2017 @12:42PM (#54377663) Homepage Journal

        You've made the mistake of presenting an argument that puts people with wealth or power in a positive light on Slashdot. Prepare for immolation. You're right of course, and I've met and worked for people like that myself. But being right will not save you from what's coming...

    • All the people I know making $500,000/yr or more are workaholics. They willingly work 12-16 hours/day not because they have to, but because they enjoy it. It's not stressful to them, it's fun, even relaxing. To them, stress comes from not being allowed to work. The wife of one of those friends (who makes approx $2 mil/yr) was telling me about their vacation in Hawaii. She had to constantly pull laptops, tablets, and phones out of her husband's hands because he kept trying to work, instead of enjoying t
      • Being a workaholic doesn't mean they are useful or productive.
  • Very, very old news. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by queazocotal ( 915608 ) on Monday May 08, 2017 @12:07PM (#54377311)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] (began in 1967)
    "The studies, named after the Whitehall area of London and led by Michael Marmot, found a strong association between grade levels of civil servant employment and mortality rates from a range of causes: the lower the grade, the higher the mortality rate. Men in the lowest grade (messengers, doorkeepers, etc.) had a mortality rate three times higher than that of men in the highest grade (administrators). This effect has since been observed in other studies and named the "status syndrome".[3]"

  • Troll much? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nova Express ( 100383 ) <[lawrenceperson] [at] [gmail.com]> on Monday May 08, 2017 @12:09PM (#54377327) Homepage Journal

    Getting a start on the clickbait lying right with the first sentence, I see:

    "Work under capitalism is a brutal psychological gauntlet -- low pay, long hours, and little to no safety net."

    Compared to what? And when? Lord knows no one under feudalism, mercantilism, socialism or communism ever worked "long hours for low pay."

    Life in a state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. Capitalism, and the technological progress it helped engender, is the system that helped lift those out of the poverty that previously plagued all but a tiny hereditary elite since time immemorial until a period just two centuries ago.

    If you want to see what life is like without capitalism, trying looking at Venezuela [battleswarmblog.com], where they're rioting because socialism can't provide enough food for them to eat.

    But enough. This is just another example of Slashdot leftwing clickbait, because evidently covering actual News For Nerds is evidently too boring compared to launching yet another left vs. right flamewar.

    Is msmash the designated leftwing agitprop admin now?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Capitalism today is broken. Capitalism has lead us down a path of unbridled consumption that rather than fix or upgrade things, we throw them out and buy new things. The attitude towards capitalism is predictable. It's broken, so let's just get rid of it for something new and shiny.

      The people who are pro-capitalism though, regard the bugs in capitalism as features. And until that changes, capitalism will just get worse, and the people calling for its replacement will become more justified in their point of

      • An absolutely critical aspect of capitalism is that companies should be allowed to fail, and it should be accepted as part of a healthy economy. When one company fails, a few more spring up in place. This puts a natural cap on the amount of profit any company can siphon out of the economy and hand to shareholders. Capitalism is failing because governments are protecting companies and now many have gotten too big to fail.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Gravis Zero ( 934156 )

      "Work under capitalism is a brutal psychological gauntlet -- low pay, long hours, and little to no safety net."

      Compared to what?

      Why does it need comparison? Is it not a brutal psychological gauntlet with increasingly lower pay, long hours and little to no safety net? The minimum wage isn't increasing as the value of money decreases or as productivity increases. Office working hours were previously a total of 8 hours where now it's 9 hours. Our social safety nets are really lacking.

      Just because brutality is par for course doesn't make it any less brutal.

      This is just another example of Slashdot leftwing clickbait, because evidently covering actual News For Nerds is evidently too boring compared to launching yet another left vs. right flamewar.

      How is this a partisan issue? Are people on one side of the political spectr

      • Re:Troll much? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Monday May 08, 2017 @12:38PM (#54377639) Journal
        "Long" and "lower" are always only meaningfull when compared to something. That's their definition.
      • Actually, no .... Capitalism doesn't encourage laziness or "slacking off". That's for sure. But "increasingly lower pay"? That's B.S. There's absolutely a pretty standard concept of receiving regular raises throughout the American workforce. And especially in times like we've seen in the recent past where there's really no inflation happening? Even those "cost of living adjustments" amount to raises that slightly increase your buying power.

        You can't use the "minimum wage" as the sole metric for whether peo

    • If you want to see what life is like without capitalism, trying looking at Venezuela, where they're rioting because socialism can't provide enough food for them to eat.

      Socialism is the least of their problems [wikipedia.org]. And capitalism without regulation and elements of socialism is doomed.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DogDude ( 805747 )
      If you want to see what life is like without capitalism, trying looking at Venezuela [battleswarmblog.com], where they're rioting because socialism can't provide enough food for them to eat.

      Such incredible bullshit. There are plenty of countries (such as in northern Europe and Scandinavia) where people work less, have have a better quality of life because capitalism is tempered. Fuck you and your lying Fox News bullshit.
      • Newsflash: Northern Europe is still capitalist. "Capitalism" isn't tempered - most things are still privately owned and individuals own capital; "laissez-faire" policies are. Social safety nets exist. All of that is still compatible with capitalism. Take your bullshit elsewhere.
    • If you want to see what life is like without capitalism, trying looking at Venezuela [battleswarmblog.com], where they're rioting because socialism can't provide enough food for them to eat.

      One of the biggest and most overlooked problems with capitalism is that first you need the capitals, then you can get it. You know, Somalia has free market, zero taxation, so you may think it is some kind of capitalist heaven. It is not. Like India, or most of the world for that matter, where you have all the bases of the capitalist system, but there's a lack of capitals and so widespread poverty, precarious health, starvation.

      It doesn't matter if Venezuela is socialist or not, because now Venezuela is lik

    • Unions helped lift those out of the poverty that previously plagued all but a tiny hereditary elite since time immemorial until a period just two centuries ago.

      Not only is my version correct, it's shorter.

  • by Artem Tashkinov ( 764309 ) on Monday May 08, 2017 @12:22PM (#54377449)

    Of course it's all BS and it's always been. You get fired - you usually get nothing and then break your neck trying to find a new job. Oh, and your wife may divorce you in a process 'cause you've become insolvent.

    Guys who are upper in the corporate hierarchy enjoy golden parachutes and resumes which say that they've got experience in managing other people, so they move to other management positions in other companies where they continue to manage while those at the lowest rank get all the flak for the company's failures or misfortunes and get fired whenever the quarterly goals are not met.

    And don't get me started on their salaries and benefits.

  • Seriously. I've worked INCREDIBLY hard, and voluntarily submitted myself to WAY more stress than my peers through my earlier years. My friends thought I was nuts. But where are they now compared to where I am? You can likely figure that out on your own. The stress should be your driving force to move up. You're constantly presented with challenges that you need to accept in order to get to where want to be. What's that old saying? Ain't nothing in life free. I continue to work very hard, although n
    • ... but enough about your Amway franchise!

    • #survivorshipbias

      • And losers usually blame others for their problems.

        Tell me, how many people with nasty personalities, who refuse to work, start from poverty and become rich? By what mechanism would that work?

        • I know a few people with nasty personalities who have started from poverty and become rich, but none who refuse to work. Refusal to work would make it impossible to gain wealth through work, so that's just a red herring, suggesting that those who have not become rich have failed to do so because they refuse to work.

          I know many more people without nasty personalities who work hard and have remained poor. Doing everything right is not even close to a guarantee of success - it only gets you a slim chance of su

    • by LunaticTippy ( 872397 ) on Monday May 08, 2017 @07:51PM (#54381249)
      You seem pretty delusional. I'm in the same situation as you, and I worked very hard too, but I have the insight that without a great deal of luck and timing that are completely outside my control I would have nothing.

      I am not sure why certain people are eager to blame individuals for societal problems. It is really obvious to me that things are very tough if you are born in the wrong place, or to the wrong parents, or in the wrong time. I have a lot of sympathy and understanding to those who struggle on this beautiful planet. You seem really condescending and smug in your good fortune. In fiction you'd be on the verge of catastrophe.
  • I know mine is... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Monday May 08, 2017 @12:31PM (#54377561)

    But she deals with a bunch of garbage that I don't have to care about because she insolates me from it so I can get my work done. I see some of the E-mails about the issues she's keeping off my plate and I shudder to think what my life would be like if she didn't do what she does. She takes the stress so I don't have to and I owe her both my loyalty and thanks.

    But I can assure you, my current manager isn't typical.... No sir. In my 25 years of having all sorts of managers, she's in the top 5% and I will be sad when she retires. My previous manager was totally opposite, visited his scorn for failure to meet real and imagined (by him) requirements when he demanded (regardless of if they'd been communicated or not). I'm sure he was stressed too, given all his direct and indirect reports generally didn't care one bit about keeping him out of trouble given the likelihood of getting your head handed to you when you raised an issue. He was a moron of a manager and I am lucky I escaped with my self respect from that place. I find this kind of manager much more common....

    So, Yes, my managers ARE more stressed than I am.... I'm guessing the good managers are LESS stressed though than the ones who should have never taken the job in the first place.

    • Ditto here. I have been a manager, and I was one of those who took on the task of shielding my team from the bullshit, and managing the politics.

      I hated it, and it nearly killed me (I have the heart attack and the stent + brutal daily medications to remind me of how shitty that life was.) Now, I am an individual contributor (a contractor actually), and my current boss does an AMAZING job of insulating me from the bullshit. I am very grateful.

      • by g01d4 ( 888748 )
        Bottom tier managers are going to face more stress and its consequences than those above them. Competence, both your own and that of your manager is going to contribute to stress no matter what position you're in. Finally, there's stress regarding job performance and stress centered on reliance on a job in general. Failing or incompetent managers are let go less often than their reports. I suspect the stress a CEO of a large company might face over poor company performance and negative publicity, while grea
  • by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Monday May 08, 2017 @01:01PM (#54377861)

    That's strange, because times have changed for anyone outside the very senior executive levels of a company. Previously, promotion into middle or upper management was like being admitted into an exclusive club, where everything was basically taken care of for you and you were just the public face of your organization. You had a high salary, a whole staff to manage every aspect of your life, etc. Now, flatter organizations push a lot of things onto lower numbers of managers that they wouldn't have to deal with in the past.

    I think it's the flatter organizations that cause more stress...the managers are responsible for more than they used to be, and the speed/pace of business has wound up to levels that are beyond healthy.

  • Straw man argument (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday May 08, 2017 @01:02PM (#54377871)

    Work under capitalism is a brutal psychological gauntlet -- low pay, long hours, and little to no safety net.

    Average wages in the US are among the highest in the world. "Brutal psychological gauntlet"? As opposed to what? The rainbows and daisies that come from living under a dictator?

    Capitalism does not imply the lack of a safety net either. There is nothing about capitalism that prevents a safety net from being put in place.

    But bosses usually expect you to take some solace in the fact that you're not doing their (supposedly more difficult) job, even if they make more money.

    Which bosses? "Usually"? This is a straw man argument. Some managers are more stressed than those who report to them. Sometimes it's the other way around. Furthermore stress is not an easily quantifiable state so comparisons of any sort are fraught.

    'Workers in lower status jobs tend to have more stressful working conditions -- they have lower pay, poorer pension arrangements, less control over their work, and report more unsupportive colleagues and managers

    In other news water is wet.

  • Details (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jon3k ( 691256 ) on Monday May 08, 2017 @01:04PM (#54377895)
    People lower on the ladder make less money. Less money means more stress.
  • There could be some personality filtering going on: those who can accept heavier pressure are more likely to move up into management.

    It's more or less the Peter Principle: you raise up until you hit your pressure limit.

    My wife rejected a management position that paid more than her current position because it was more stressful. She used to do that kind of work so she knows what's involved. She prefers to save some energy for family and friends. Because we have 2 white-collar incomes, we don't have significa

  • . . . .I'm a manager, and I'm stressed as all hell. We've got 2 of 5 slots open, no decrease in workload, and I haven't even seen a candidate resume in months. Our contract is up for re-compete, and we're getting continuous 30-day extensions. Several of my reports are "problem children", who have been foisted off on me for my demonstrated ability to not throttle the lazy bastards and take all the arguments out of customer earshot, as well as being the overall team troubleshooter.

    I'm not getting paid enou

  • "Work under capitalism is a brutal psychological gauntlet -- low pay, long hours, and little to no safety net."

    Why don't you ask Cold War era Eastern European citizens how work was under Communism?

    Low pay? Check.
    Long hours? Check.
    Safety net? Well maybe a plastic tarp to catch the body when quotas were not met.
    • You pick out an example where people obviously had it harder. On the other hand, if we had just stayed with farming communities we would have had it much easier.
  • After all, the American voters are all the boss of the POTUS. I can tell you he really stresses the hell out of me.
  • How many lower-level workers are willing to spend the up-front costs and take the risks associated with moving up? I'll tell you how many -- all the ones that moved up, and none of the ones that didn't.

    I've got many friends with the skills and abilities to easily either start they own business in their trade or move up in their existing industry, but don't.

    Usually, they don't start their own business because they aren't willing to risk being unsuccessful. They won't take the initial pay-cut during the tra

    • The thing is, if a person is technical it doesn't really make sense to take a manager job. Being a manager is an entirely different skillset. Some people who are technical also have the skills to be a manager but it is not necessarily a natural fit. Same goes for starting a company. You need all kinds of different skills for that. If a person wants to be a manager, they should just skip technical training and get an MBA already.
      • ...and that would be a reason to get stuck: not willing to learn a new skillset. So sorry that advancement requires something more/new.

        and bullshit. I'm a technical person, I started my own company the moment I hated the way other companies did things. I dropped out of school, I worked hard, I experimented a lot, I failed my fair share, and now, 25 years later, I'm still going strong. I've chosen my lifestyle, and made it suit my personality and my goals. And because of that, no one in history has ever

        • I have my own company as well, but read my words carefully: "not everyone is capable of doing that".
          • Very true. Not everyone is capable of advancing. Not everyone is capable of learning something new. Not everyone is capable of being any more successful than they already are. But it's never (typically) about them being held back, it's about the risks that they aren't willing to take.

            And if you own your own company, then you're likely very familiar with one of my philosophies: if a million people do it every day, then I'm able to learn it too. There are plenty of reasons to avoid learning something new

            • Yes I had to learn a lot to start my own company, probably around 20 different technologies and the management stuff on top, and I had to sacrifice many personal hours working. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. If what I did is what it takes for an average person to get one small advance in life then I believe in welfare and UBI more than ever. What I won't do is sit all smug and expect that others make the same sacrifices I did or be screwed over. I am always on the edge of burnout. One shouldn't have to
        • It's not that they aren't willing to learn a new skillset. It's that there is ONE skillset that is involved with advancement, and no matter the breadth or depth of other skillsets, you hit a bit of a career plateau if you don't have that one skillset.
          • Bullshit. There are SIX skillsets, any one of which can advance you. You need to refuse all six of them to hit that career plateau.

            I was an awkward, highly technical, coludn't-talk-to-adults teenager. I got clients with one sentence and one sentence alone: "you won't pay until you're happy with it."

            I built business solutions for small and mid-sized companies, for, at that time, anywhere between $100 and $10'000, and I'd often get $0 for months at a time as I developed, learned, tested, presented, adjuste

    • Why should skilled people waste their efforts on management? Because of business structures dating back to the industrial revolution?

      If people 'moved up' by being good at their job, instead of having to fit into a management role, then the calculus on making such a decision becomes much simpler. Entrepreneurs are useful. But we've OVERWHELMINGLY overvalued them, and give them far more money than they deserve, even though it's tough to accurately evaluate their contributions, and the data we do have sug

      • ...because younger people are cheaper at any task that can be taught, tutorialized, trained, or proceduralized; they can also be automated.

        If you want to make more money, your idea of "better" means nothing. You need to be your employer's idea of better. These days, and for most industries it's always been true, that means you need to make decisions out of experience, not work harder.

        Making decisions out of experience is called management. Whether you're "managing" yourself, others, or the company as a w

        • If you want to make more money, your idea of "better" means nothing. You need to be your employer's idea of better. These days, and for most industries it's always been true, that means you need to make decisions out of experience, not work harder.

          Who said anything about "working harder"? The value is in being smart, and MBAs aren't the smart ones.

          When it comes to just "doing the work", almost every business would rather it take six times as long, and cost half as much, than cost more and be done faster

  • I also suspect being a CEO is worth nowhere near 800x the amount I make.
  • by epine ( 68316 ) on Monday May 08, 2017 @02:35PM (#54378711)

    The highest work-stress job, from the Wharton–Harvard perspective, is the star performer (software developer, sales person) promoted into their first management position, often without any prior psychological preparation for the change (how hard can it be to manage people doing what I so clearly excelled at doing? larvae in ointment: without actually doing their work for them?)

    In a high-pressure setting, first year is hell, usually devolves into an unrelenting fire fight, with a high ultimate attrition rate. (Who new that hardball sales tactics don't translate well to daily proximity?)

    Once the junior manager recovers from Boot Camp, the job remains difficult, but the compensation is pretty good, if you "manage" to hang around long enough to get promoted off the management front line.

    Year one: learning how to delegate down

    Year two: paying more attention to what lies above (and not just the marching orders)

    Year three: fully investing in peer relationships with other managers at the same level, elsewhere in the organization

    Someone who entered the work force intending to become a manager likely accomplishes this in less time. But these people have always been a small minority in the studies I've read.

    A year into the job, there is nearly a 100% response rate that the new managers had failed to appreciate the importance of investing in peer relationships (not that they would have found the time during Management Boot Camp 101 in any case). Lateral politics. It's a thing.

    Back to the article, at the bottom of the heap, how does one carve a reasonable line between general life stress and work stress?

    I can't even imagine.

    Dunderheads. Imagine having to manage the people who wrote this study. One can only imagine.

    Look on my workers, troubled sea of mighty dunderheads, and despair!

  • So of course my boss it less stressed, he makes more. I'm guessing this started out as another narrative along the lines of "job creators" and the like meant to stop the working class from questioning their declining standard of living...
  • Seriously? Leninist babies. How about you go live in North Korea. Capitalism is the best option out there until robot overlords take over and provide for cattle-like Utopian existence for all humans you so dearly desire.
  • by DMJC ( 682799 ) on Monday May 08, 2017 @05:36PM (#54380253)
    Money is like gravity, the more you have, the easier it is to attract more of it. The less you have, the more likely it is your money will be sucked into the gravity well of a larger amount of money belonging to someone else. Example: My cousin was given a $100,000 4% interest loan at the age of 21 from his multi millionaire father. He also was given a job after dropping out of university (his university debt was wiped by his parents), as a forklift driver (aroun $55k) in his dad's company. Within 2 years he was making commission as a salesman in same company (around $65k BUT with commission around $85k). after 10 years he has bought 3 investment properties. This is due to his starting conditions. Now my situation: I went to university and dropped out after 2 years. This left a student loan debt of $10,000. I have been working entry level jobs for the past 4 years (averaging $50k and am finally breaking into an 80k role). My dad is not as successful as his brother so I was never offered a 4% interest loan at the age of 21 like my cousin. In Australia there has been a property boom/bubble and the average price of an apartment is $350,000, and a house is pushing $750,000 nationally. As a result I own 0 property and am still struggling to save for a deposit, those who got in earlier such as my cousin have had a massive leg up. I am currently being head hunted for a well paying job, but I still don't have that extra boost of a loan no bank would issue a 21 year old with. Capital matters. The sooner you start with a sum of money the further ahead you'll get. Start with 100,000 at 21, and it's easy to get a million dollars by 35.

"If you can, help others. If you can't, at least don't hurt others." -- the Dalai Lama

Working...