Date
13 December 2017
Workplace pressure does not occur in a vacuum. Domestic issues, health condition or even a night of fitful sleep can aggravate stress. Photo: Internet
Workplace pressure does not occur in a vacuum. Domestic issues, health condition or even a night of fitful sleep can aggravate stress. Photo: Internet

Work stress may not come from work at all

It is well understood that various environmental factors or threats from family, workplace or one’s own physical health might contribute to mood disorders. Regardless of the sources, the essence of stress is more or less the same: it arises mostly from interpersonal relationships.

When a supervisor is upset by the performance of a junior, he or she might express their discontent in terms of choice of words, manner of speaking and facial expression.

Under such circumstances, the junior, needless to say, would be worried and terrified if they are leaving a bad record at work.

From the perspective of the supervisor, due to the inner fear of a compromised result by some poor performance of someone, he or she would be likely to target those less competent and consciously, or subconsciously, give away a series of unpleasant moves, like growing hostile, giving harsh criticism and treating people and assigning job duties unfairly.

It is easy for the boss to put the blame on some juniors when they justify their unfriendly behavior.

On the other hand, it could also be said to be a result of stress at work experienced by the supervisor from higher management.

In short, stress at work could be described as conflicts of individual personal attributes between the supervisor and the junior. Thanks to discrepancies in terms of expectations, this gives rise to much grief to both parties in collaborative assignments.

Many other environmental factors share the same pain, which is a combination of disrespect, lacking mutual understanding and deliberately giving verbal attacks.

Excessive criticism from the boss, unnecessary humiliation by parents or teachers, and talking back by youngsters — these moves are something no more than giving vent to their frustrations and completely useless for solving problems.

By taking this point of view, the stress of modern city life is not unresolvable. When we face anything that goes against our wishes, the simplest way of solving is to be compassionate and show more understanding to others.

No one is perfect and each comes with their own strengths and weaknesses. Unleashing your negative emotions on others in excess would do nothing productive but hurt others.

Try putting yourselves in other people’s shoes. It would help you better understand other people’s difficulties. That said, when everyone is more empathetic to others, urban life would be less intense.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 25

Translation by John Chui

[Chinese version 中文版]

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FHKAM (Psychiatry)

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