Dr. Linda Duxbury, a researcher and professor at the Sprott School of Business has conducted research on what causes the most stress in policing and found that it’s not much different from the private sector. The majority of stress doesn’t come from the operational aspects of the job, but the organizational aspects. Sure there is traumatic stress and vicarious trauma, but the day-in-day-out stress from office politics and other administrative demands is much more common and has a more detrimental effect on the most people.
Multiple competing complex demands is a good description of the work environment that we all live in now. I believe it is one of the most demanding times in human history because of the barrage of information and the expectation to be ever available. Many people complain of stress caused by the sheer volume of work, the multiple demands, too many responsibilities, unrealistic deadlines, pressure not to say no, increasing complexity of tasks, understaffing, constant sense of urgency, and on and on.
“Doing more with less” is a bad cliché these days, and it’s not sustainable over the long term, unless employees learn how to manage work-life balance and build their personal resilience.
Great organizations realize that they need to support and take an active role in helping their employees achieve balance and resilience. Unfortunately there are many organizations that don’t understand the cost, and continue to burn-out their people.
I suggest that you don’t leave it up to your organization though, and that you take personal responsibility to learn the factors that build resilience and implement these factors in your daily life. For example: have a trusted friend to confide in who can support you, try to see the humor in difficult situations and don’t take yourself too seriously, find meaning in suffering, quiet your mind and body through breathing exercises, and don’t neglect your fitness.
One of my quotes is “In today’s world resiliency is power”. What I’m referring to is the personal power it will give you. I believe that in the current relentless and demanding environment, resiliency is the most important trait you can develop to help you achieve long term success in any field. Multiple competing complex demands aren’t going away, so by working on your resilience and work-life balance, you will have the advantage at work, and will create a rich and meaningful life!