Is the job you hate making you unhealthy? New research says yes

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – That job you hate — could it be affecting your health?

New research says yes, and it starts early. In a study presented this weekend at the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting, the researchers focused on job satisfaction starting in the participants’ 20s.

By the time they reached their 40s, the study’s authors found, if their careers were unsatisfying, it showed.

“Being here,” Greg Guenther said Monday, “it’s like a second family.”

That’s a big change from his last job.

“I had feelings of stress and anxiety going to work every day,” he said, “and coming here it’s the complete opposite.”

It’s a good thing he got a job at Harrisburg’s WebpageFX. The research performed by two professors at Ohio State University shows if you’re not satisfied with your job early on, you may be more prone to mental health issues when you hit your 40s.

“As we get older, we often accumulate more stressors in our life that are oftentimes good stressors, but yet that can have an impact on our overall well-being,” said Dr. Melissa Brown, a psychologist with PinnacleHealth.

The researchers tracked participants through surveys over a period of several years and had them evaluate their satisfaction.

Those who said they were consistently unsatisfied or getting more unsatisfied through their 20s and 30s were significantly more likely to be depressed, worry excessively, and have trouble sleeping.

Around the Midstate, Derek Whitesel said there are options, especially for young people, if you’re not happy where you are.

“If you aren’t really liking what you’re doing, there’s probably an opportunity out there at least not too far away,” said Whitesel, executive director of Harrisburg Young Professionals.

Back at WebpageFX, Heather Thomas, the happiness manager — which is a thing — showed off the company kegerator after passing by a folded ping-pong table. She said the company offers bikes and kayaks, weekly yoga classes, the barista who makes everyone free coffee on Mondays, sushi-rolling and wine-tasting events — you get the picture.

The business was named the best place to work in Pennsylvania last year.

“It’s kind of like whatever we can dream up or whatever we think, like, wouldn’t this be crazy if we did, we do,” Thomas said.

It’s that kind of environment that keeps employees like Guenther employed.

“It’s just a joy to wake up Monday morning and actually want to come to work,” he said.

The researchers identified some minor physical health affects as well, but said it’s possible more will emerge as those participants continue to age.

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