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Work Place Climate, Depression and Job Searching

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states ...Read More

Recent studies show that a poor workplace climate is linked to depression for many of those working in that environment.

Some of the conditions that make for a poor workplace environment are: Tension, Backbiting, Poor Team Spirit, Quarreling, Prejudice and many other factors.

A study was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Researchers questioned a randomly selected sample of 3,347 Finnish workers aged 30-64 in 2000 and 2001.

Employees who felt that team spirit was poor were 61% more likely to have a depressive disorder than workers with a good team spirit, says the study,  And, they were 53% more likely to have used antidepressants during the first few years after they were interviewed.

What doe this mean for you?

It is my observation that many people who are searching for jobs think of themselves as being interviewed by a prospective employer. The idea that escapes many people looking for jobs is that they should be interviewing the employer and the work place as much as they are being interviewed. People spend many hours per day at work and the work atmosphere is extremely important to one’s sense of comfort, self esteem and well being. The study above supports this idea.

Naturally, at a time when the economy is in recession and many have lost their jobs it may sound rather empty or preposterous to suggest that the employed carefully pick where they work. Under many circumstances, any job is better than no job at all. Nevertheless, I want to suggest that, after this recession passes and more job opportunities become available, people carefully choose their work place in order to avoid feeling miserable. To accomplish this they have to ask about workplace atmosphere and have the chance to speak to other employees. I point this out under the theory that it is always better to feel some sense of control over life situations than no control at all.

Naturally, employers who want to have productive and efficient workers should do all they can to promote a positive environment at work.

This information is especially important for young people who are graduating from colleges and universities and looking to start careers. They must keep in mind that, in addition to salaries and benefits are the working conditions and atmosphere in the place they intend to begin their careers.

Your comments are encouraged.

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

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