I remember when I was a teen, people were promised a three-day work week. Well, that didn’t happen.
An employee in the mining and logging industry worked about 44.6 hours a week in February 2015, while employees in education and health services only worked for an average of 32.8 hours per week. An additional burden for many employees is overtime. In manufacturing, every employee worked 3.5 hours of overtime per week in January 2015.*
I would question the above just on the basis of my experience as a teacher. If you ask the average high school teacher, they would tell they spend many more than 32.8. If you research hours of registered nurses, according to NurseTheory.com 40 hours in 5 days is the average. I apologize to all other career people for not mentioning you.
But, in teaching at least, it is not the hours that are spending involved with teaching, the involvement with the students, or the preparation. Notice the concerns below:
I am sure other careers have similar concerns plus more. The question of real concern is how do you survive them? Seven percent of our workers have experienced PTSD, the same as soldiers who have been in battle areas of the world.#
I know that many of my colleagues lose sleep over kids, parents, or even an evaluation. I have seen individuals in tears and frustrated over being bullied by parents. I am sure some educators are on antidepressants or seeing counselors. There are so many more duties that many of us in our positions have been asked to do. Some are beyond our expertise. The question is how so we do it all without losing our positive mental health?
There is a study now in the field of mental health called Positive Psychology. It’s not self-help or mumbo jumbo; how people remain content and peaceful is being researched as well as, of course, the mental challenges that exist. From all I have read, the results are also scientific.
In 2008, Dr. Christopher Peterson listed the following:
• Happiness is a cause of good things in life and not simply along for the happy ride. People who are satisfied with life eventually have even more reason to be satisfied, because happiness leads to desirable outcomes at school and work, to fulfilling social relationships, and even to good health and long life.
• Most people are resilient.
• Happiness, strengths of character, and good social relationships are buffers against the damaging effects of disappointments and setbacks.
• Crisis reveals character.
• Religion matters.
• And work matters as well if it engages the worker and provides meaning and purpose.
• Money makes an ever-diminishing contribution to well-being, but money can buy happiness if it is spent on other people.
• The “heart” matters more than the “head.”
• Good days have common features: feeling autonomous, competent, and connected to others.
• The good life can be taught.**
Without expecting managers or administrators to add Positive Psychology sessions to their budgets, here are some suggestions.
* Average U.S. working week: April 2017 | Statistic. Retrieved June 30, 2017, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/215643/average-weekly-working-hours-of-all-employees-in-the-us-by-month/
#Survey shows need for national focus on workplace stress. (2015, June & July). Retrieved June 30, 2017, from https://www.aft.org/news/survey-shows-need-national-focus-workplace-stress