This article discusses how stress outside of the workplace can affect the amount of workplace stress that employees can endure and vice versa. Also discussed in this article is the employee option of limiting some stresses both inside or outside of the workplace.
This article will refer to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale that lists 43 stresses, that are either work or non-work related. There is a rating number that the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale gives to each of its 43 stresses. The higher that number is, the more powerful the stress is judged to be. The higher that the stress ratings are, and the more stress ratings that an individual recognizes that he or she has, the higher the total stress rating number will add up to be for that individual. The stresses listed can overwhelm people who experience too many of them. This overwhelming stress is indicated by the high stress scale number that is found by adding the individual stress rating numbers.
These number ratings give only an approximate rating. Different individuals might have different number ratings, especially if these different individuals are from dissimilar cultural groups.
Nevertheless, the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale can help employees to make approximations of how much stress they can tolerate now and in the future. Ambitious employees, for example, might want to compete for a promotion. If promoted, however, these employees will experience a change in their line of work (36), a change in their work responsibilities (29), and maybe a change in their residence (20), for a total of as many as 85 additional stress points.
Those employees who want to compete for a promotion should consider how much stress there is in their life outside of the workplace. If, for example, they are soon to go through a divorce (63), their future stress points then could be 85 plus 63 for a total of 148 additional stress points.
One option would be to wait until life outside of work is not too stressful, and then to apply for a promotion. Trying to handle the promotion and divorce at the same time possibly could lead to an unsatisfactory job performance and maybe even to being fired (47). Being fired could lead to 47 stress points plus the 63 stress points from the divorce for a total of 110 stress points.
Another option would be to reduce stress outside of the workplace. In this example, let’s consider candidates for promotion who are not going through divorces. Instead, their main stress outside of the workplace is college attendance. Those who are successful in attaining a promotion, for example, could decide temporarily to stop taking college classes (26). This would deduct 26 points from their total stress point score.
The examples given above are just samples to demonstrate how employees can use the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale to estimate how stressful their career moves might be. This information also can help those employees to decide whether or not they can make changes to their lifestyle to accommodate stressful changes over which they will have little or no control, such as the death of a close family member (63).
How do you determine how much stress you can accommodate? Please comment below.