never married, over forty, a little bitter

the epidemic

Tiina • 3 years ago
This goes beyond the debate between public, private or otherwise. Research is repeatedly showing alarming statistics about stress and burnout across ALL sectors. The research is almost becoming redundant. We already know that stress, depression, anxiety, etc. have come to epidemic proportions–the funding now needs to be directed toward increasing access to mental health resources, not more research that keeps giving us the same information over and over again while the numbers continue to climb.

While sweeping organizational change may make for a healthier workplace–which should be a focus–there needs to also be a focus on resources available to individuals. We are living in a brave new world, dealing with a pace of constant change greater than perhaps any generation before us. Perhaps coping mechanisms have not kept stride. Whatever the cause, we cannot continue to stigmatize these mental health issues, we need to make them a focus.

I began teaching stress-reduction workshops in an effort to reach more people and meet the obviously increasing need for such work (I have been an RMT for over 12 years). I have recently teamed up with my colleague, an MD-Psychotherapist, to facilitate a one-day retreat based on a model of attainable self-care, received exceptionally well this year among Family Physicians around Ontario, another group with alarming statistics with regard to stress and burnout.

Workshops and programs like this and others need to be funded, there needs to be more access to OHIP-covered individual therapy and counseling, companies with EAP programs may wish to review them for their efficacy in dealing with the growing epidemic of workplace stress. Such proactive measures will certainly make a dent in curbing the otherwise inevitable increase in mental-health-related disability claims.

female penalties

So perhaps men should spring for dinner (at least until 2014):

I don’t know about you, but I’m not comfortable being considered an “exception” to a “standard” that means I’m paying more for insurance because my biologically-based healthcare needs are considered a “pre-existing condition.” Women pay more for insurance for no other reason than because they are not men.

bygone eras

I was in the midst of reading this memoir when I felt a stab of envy at the author’s description of the eight weeks of summer vacation, half paid, that she received each year at The New Yorker. What do you want to bet clerical staff at the magazine no longer get that?

As we know from Mad Men, workplaces back in the fifties and sixties could be sexist and degrading for women. It was difficult to get out of the secretarial pool (still is, actually). My mother, however, claims that back then working was “fun” in a way it no longer is. At every institution I’ve worked, it does seem like decades ago, the place was a lot more fun.

Also, I believe that back then 9 to 5 meant 9 to 5, not 9 to 6, as it does now.

Finally, the glamour seems gone. I know from my past that working in places that involve author readings means that the author comes in, promotes a book, and is gone. It does not mean that the place is an intellectual hangout for writers, or that you will be socializing with them, as you might have been in times gone by.

Perhaps more envy-inducing than the literary friendships and book parties were the summer vacations she writes about: eight trips to Europe during her years at the magazine, each one lasting a month or more, often with pay (a princely $80 a week). “The New Yorker believed in long summer vacations for their receptionists,” Ms. Groth deadpanned.


In the passage, Ms. Groth addresses her years at the receptionist desk and grapples with whether The New Yorker somehow mistreated her. But after considering the vacations, flexible work schedule and the many “intangibles” like party invites and a front-row seat to New York literary life, she concluded, “It is not clear to me who was exploiting whom.”

talk to me

I’m realizing lately that if all of us here in America came out from behind our Facebook facades and turned off our TVs, we would realize just how much common ground we have, and there might be a revolution.

Now that my plans to uproot myself have materialized, I’ve started having real conversations with people and discovering just how stressed out everyone is at their jobs. I’m amazed at the number of people who have taken up meditation as a response.

In terms of health insurance, I was out with three women this past week, none of whom have it. Over the weekend I met up with another group of women of whom two don’t have it and one does (a professor).

On another note, a married woman with a fabulous career, lovely home, a couple of cute kids, and a nice-looking, friendly husband, told me how difficult a long-term marriage can be. She explained how you aren’t the same person in your forties as you are in your mid-twenties, and that the sexual spark is very easy to lose amongst the business of raising children and the overfamiliarity of a long-term union. I told her about the frustrations with dating here (confirmed by the other lovely single women who was with us) and intimated that, if she were single, the sex would most likely be infrequent and brief, if at all.

Hopefully the conversation helped her as much as it did me.