Working in finance has been a hugely rewarding part of my life. It provides a ‘passport’ to travel, meet people and generally is a great platform to launch a full and busy life. To date, my 18 years working in the world of finance has reaped all those benefits and more. However, it is also important to recognise that it can be a hugely demanding career that sometimes can come at a cost. With my friends I allude to the idea that there is a ‘premium on pay to help offset the tax on health’. Though this is said ‘tongue-in-cheek’, I believe that career development can also be highly attritional and must be managed so that you can extract as many of the benefits as possible, without being hit with a whopper of the aforementioned ‘health tax bill’.
If managed well, our mental health can allow us to realise our potential in the workplace but also live happily outside of it. These days it may be more common for you to hear these types of messages from people with media careers, or medical backgrounds, or even ‘influencers’. Well I am none of those things. I am not on Instagram; I have 5 followers on twitter and I am just about to move on from Bebo to Facebook! But hopefully some of this will resonate with some of you, and if so then that is enough for me.
It is an uncomfortable truth that a lot of jobs can be stressful. This is evident by the number of workdays being lost to poor mental health which continue to rise in business. While this is obviously a huge burden on employers and on the economy, it pales in comparison to the pain and distress that the individuals themselves are enduring. Recent studies in the UK have found that over 60% of managers have observed a deterioration in their team’s mental wellbeing in the interests of the organisation. This is troubling stuff given the fact that people are always contactable which makes the idea of ‘work life balance’ more difficult to achieve.
The good news is that I believe we are reaching a turning point. Business leaders are thinking about how to address this growing problem. Organisations are evolving to become more rounded in their support of people navigating challenges in their lives. To my mind this is far more progressive than simply offering an Employee Assistance Program phone number. EAP schemes of course are of great value, but something deeper and more engrained can at times be required. At The DMC Clinic we work with clients who are struggling in their jobs and careers, because the relationship between mental health and our careers is complex.
Investment in mental health is desperately needed to future-proof careers and businesses because the evidence suggests that the next generation of employees are going to need it even more than before. 69% of UK job-seeking graduates reported having mental health problems at some point. 69% is staggering when you bring it back to your nieces, nephews, friends, and family members. Providing a foundation upon which these people, and existing employees, can thrive has to be high on company priority lists going forward.
Clients who seek help in the area of career and personal development are generally experiencing bumps in the road that can be overcome in therapy. From the grind of the exam process, to the demanding work culture exposing the double-edged sword of ‘high achievers’, and to the long work hours that can impinge on life outside of work. We also speak about the trap of Burnout, and other mental health difficulties such as Depression, Anxiety, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). All of these can bite particularly hard during busy periods at work making our careers sometimes more difficult than they ought to be. Why not do the work in advance in order to make personal development as smooth as possible.
Make mental wellbeing a key part of your career journey and avoid the pitfalls along the way.
The article is written by Noel, Pre-Accredited Counsellor at The DMC Clinic. If you would like to discuss how any of the topics mentioned above are impacting your mental health, please contact the DMC Clinic to arrange an appointment.