Bad Job Is Worse For Mental Health Than No Job At All

You think you've got a bad job...: image via 2.bp.blogspot.comYou think you've got a bad job...: image via Could a bad job be as bad as having no job at all.  Australian National University (ANU) researchers have unveiled a truth that many of us try to overlook, while we accept underemployment as a matter of necessity.

A poor work environment, unnecessary pressure from one's supervisor, inadequate pay, lack of benefits, and just plain boredom are some of the factors that weigh heavily on the well-being of employees. In analyzing seven years worth of data from more than 7,155 respondents of an Australian labor survey, the ANU researchers found that workers getting little reward for demanding jobs, little or no decision making authority, and experiencing high job insecurity scored very low on the Mental Health Inventory used to measure positive and negative well-being.

Specifically, employed persons had an average score of 75.1 on the index.  Unemployed persons averaged 68.5 on the scale.  But among those who had been unemployed and had found employment, those who found satisfying jobs boosted their scores by 3.3 points, while those who found unsatisfying jobs sunk 5.6 on the scale, down to 62.9 points on the index, even lower than the unemployed respondents.

"Work-first policies are based on the notion that any job is better than none as work promotes economic as well as personal wellbeing," wrote the authors. "Psychosocial job quality is a pivotal factor that needs to be considered in the design and delivery of employment and welfare policy."


sources: Time, Businessweek.  The full study is available in the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine