I first noticed our art director’s performance start to slip a few months after she came back from maternity leave. At first, she had been her usual self: sharp, dedicated, punctual, funny. She seemed to be handling the transition back to the office well. Then she began coming in late and walking straight to her office instead of chatting with the rest of us over coffee in the kitchen. When we started working on a major ad campaign with a sneaker retailer, our small firm’s biggest client, she was consistently late with the layouts and her ideas just didn’t seem as inspired as usual. Then, she missed an important internal review meeting and I really started getting annoyed. One quarter of our annual revenue was riding on this campaign. I decided I needed to talk with her about her performance and started steeling myself for the discussion.
Increasingly demanding conditions in the American workplace have resulted in an increase in work-related stress. Left unchecked, chronic job stress can lead to illnesses including anxiety or depression. For state workers already prone to depressive episodes, or those managing major depression, the pressure of the workplace can induce episodes or worsen existing symptoms. Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options, including a revolutionary, non-invasive therapy called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), which has proven incredibly effective, especially for patients who don’t respond to other remedies.
Over the past 20 years, the U.S. workplace has changed dramatically, resulting in a sharp uptick in work-related stress. American employees have found themselves dealing with longer hours, heavier workloads, expectations of 24/7 connectivity, job insecurity, poor organizational support, stagnating wages, and a higher cost of living. It’s no wonder that 29 percent of workers in a recent Yale survey reported that they were "quite a bit or extremely stressed" at work. California state employees, in addition, also face a unique set of workplace challenges.
For the California government worker, the 2008 recession brought massive budget cuts, reorganization, and uncertainty. While the economy has stabilized, workers are experiencing a reduction in benefits, such as requirement to pay ahead for retiree health care. California's first-ever survey of California state workers, completed in August 2015, indicated that while employees generally feel that they do important work, they are underappreciated by management.
When Alex Tillich started coming home from work with headaches, his wife Monica chalked it up to allergies, which often flared up in early spring. They got so bad that Alex would often wake up in the middle of the night. While waiting for the pain relievers to kick in, he got into the habit of responding to work emails on his phone. Then Alex began to come home later and later, and just pick at his meals. Monica began to wonder if he ever slept. Could it actually be his job that was making him ill?