I’m happy enough to stay living here into the fall as far as my personal life but the job may force me out of here sooner:
Why Companies Should Pay Attention
Data about the latter has been growing. Over 10 years ago the World Health Organization elevated the status of “workplace stress” (a broad term including the impact of unhealthy management) to that of a “worldwide epidemic.” Today, the impact of an unhealthy workplace environment on the employee is estimated to cost American companies $300 billion a year in poor performance, absenteeism and health costs.
Similarly, a report by the International Labor Organization back in 2000 found that work-related emotional conflicts were already costing the U.S. about 200 million lost workdays each year. Such conflicts are also one of the most common health problems in EU countries. A European survey found that 28% of workers reported emotional conflicts caused by work. Similar data have been reported by Canadian businesses. And in Japan, a survey found the percentage shot up from 53% in 1982 to 63% in 1997. All of these numbers are likely to have grown in the years since they surveys were conducted.
And, they may be just the tip of the iceberg. Workers often cite the physical symptoms, such as headaches, chronic pain or digestive disorders as their reason for taking leave, when untreated mental health problems are the underlying cause. In fact, research shows that emotional conflict can weaken the immune system and make people more vulnerable to a host of illnesses.
So companies have a clear stake in defining emotionally harmful management practices as a human rights issue. By not taking steps to create more positive, healthier environments they undermine the performance and commitment of workers through the lost workdays, diminished productivity and less innovation.
Such things are one of the main reasons I’m my own boss.
I don’t get holiday pay or sick pay… I work basically all the time, and I miss having supportive colleagues. But the advantages outweigh the disadvantages massively.
But then, I live in a country with a free health care system…
Recently, a young friend (33), seeing how hard I work, asked me,
“Wouldn’t it just be easier to get a job?”
“Of course it would!” I replied.
“So why don’t you then?”
“Because that’s not how you change the world”
“Good point” he replied.
I’m curious – in the US, is healthcare insurance so unaffordable as a private individual that it makes it almost impossible for individuals to work freelance or start their own small businesses? I always think of the US as the most entrepreneurial culture in the world, so I’m wondering how these two factors influence each other?
I have a friend who works as a freelancer and despite all the disadvantages you list above (as well as having to keep up with all the paperwork around filing her taxes), still finds it preferable to a regular forty-hour job, especially as salaries have stagnated here. Once she hit forty, her health insurance went up to $700 a month. I believe that is around what Cobra would cost me, meaning it would be my single biggest expense if I left my job and returned to my former city. A head of family probably would pay around $1200 a month.
There are some cheap plans– like around $100 a month– that have extremely high deductibles and only cover emergency hospital care, but the fine print is so confusing that it seems to me they don’t cover much at all.
To make things even more complicated, my autoimmune disorder would prevent me from being able to purchase any private health insurance at all, at least until the reforms that passed through Obama kick in.
It’s a total mess. The system is truly broken here.