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“Bad bosses will make anybody unhappy…

…” said Robert Hogan, Ph.D., an expert in personality in the workplace and former chair of the department of psychology at the University of Tulsa. “Stress comes from bad managers.”

But YOU knew that…. :-) (IMAGINE their HOME lives, if they have any!)

What you MIGHT not know (but might SUSPECT) is that SOME jobs are so demoralizing that they are worse for mental health than having NO job at ALL!

(Some of those jobs might be working for a manager who is a “little short” in the mental health department, herself/himself!)

I have joked about some of my bad bosses (without giving a clue as to their real identities), but, actually, as many as possibly 1/2 :-) of my managers have been GOOD bosses! (Heads? … or Tails? :-) )

A study published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that “Moving from unemployment to a poor-quality job offered no mental health benefit, and in fact was more detrimental to mental health than remaining unemployed,” according to the lead author, Peter Butterworth, Ph.D. a senior research fellow at the Centre for Mental Health Research at the Australian National University, in Canberra. According to Butterworth, as cited by CNN:

“Although certain types of jobs — such as working in a customer-service call center — are more likely to be downers, the working environment tends to have a greater impact on mental health than the job description itself.”

IMAGINE combining a customer-service call center job with a bad manager! Shudder! :-) (Note added March 20, 2011: Wait! I had BEEN in that situation… a LOT! 😉 ) According to Robert Hogan, managers are especially important to employee well-being. (Not that some of them care! :-) )

The researchers focused on four job characteristics linked closely with mental health: 1) complexity and demands of the work, 2) job security, 3) compensation, and 4) job control. (In high tech, you can expect high complexity and demands, NO job security, low compensation, and an amount of job control that will vary INVERSELY with your BOSS’s need for control! 😉 We have seen how personality types that have an almost pathological NEED for control are cloned in the management structures of many corporate environments.)

The study found that unemployed people who found a job that rated well in the four areas reported a substantial improvement in their mental health, but those who found a job in which they felt overwhelmed, insecure, underpaid, and micromanaged reported a sharp decline in their mental health, including increased depression and anxiety!

Even those who could not FIND a job felt better!

So, if you find yourself unemployed, buy a copy of The Joy of NOT Working, by Ernie Zelinski, and remember:

Things can ALWAYS be WORSE! :-)

(I might even be able to SUGGEST some places to you! 😉 I have found that a little Johnny Paycheck HELPS in such places!)

-Bill at

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