More Autonomy or You Die!

by | 2 minute read

Seri­ous­ly, though. Research says it's so.

A recent study con­duct­ed by Indi­ana University’s Kel­ley School of Busi­ness found that those who work in high-stress jobs with lit­tle con­trol are more like­ly to die soon­er than those who have more con­trol over and bal­ance in their work.

See? I told you. There's nev­er been bet­ter evi­dence to moti­vate you to get your work-life bal­ance in order. Oh, wait. That's right. You don't have any con­trol over it.

The study’s lead author, Erik Gon­za­lez-Mulé, said in a state­ment: “These find­ings sug­gest that stress­ful jobs have clear neg­a­tive con­se­quences for employ­ee health when paired with low free­dom in deci­sion mak­ing, while stress­ful jobs can actu­al­ly be ben­e­fi­cial to employ­ee health if also paired with free­dom in deci­sion mak­ing.”

"The study sug­gests there are a num­ber of health com­pli­ca­tions that result from being micro­man­aged, many of which have a direct impact on the employee’s longevi­ty," Jared Lind­zon writes in Fast Com­pa­ny.

I know, I know. Your boss dic­tates your sched­ule. Your man­ag­er sets your work time frame. Com­pa­ny hours are com­pa­ny hours. All right, all right. Then let's focus on what you CAN con­trol.

"For exam­ple, those in high-stress posi­tions with lit­tle con­trol are more like­ly to be over­weight, the authors sug­gest. When you don’t have the nec­es­sary resources to deal with a demand­ing job, you do this oth­er stuff,” Gon­za­lez-Mulé says. “You might eat more, you might smoke, you might engage in some of these things to cope with it.”

No. 1: stop doing those things. Instead, find healthy alter­na­tives for deal­ing with stress and releas­ing ten­sion. Try run­ning, bowl­ing, yoga, desk med­i­ta­tion, read­ing. You can con­trol these activ­i­ties.

No. 2: take your vaca­tion days. They're writ­ten into com­pa­ny pol­i­cy, so use them. Even if you don't go any­where, use some days for "you time."

No. 3: ask for more auton­o­my. It's dif­fi­cult. I get it. But your oth­er option is, you know, DYING. Death.

You can avoid the neg­a­tive health con­se­quences if [man­agers] allow [employ­ees] to set their own goals, set their own sched­ules, pri­or­i­tize their deci­sion mak­ing, and the like,” Gon­za­lez-Mulé says. He believes that busi­ness­es should allow “employ­ees to have a voice in the goal-set­ting process.”

Sched­ule a time to talk with your manager(s) about deserv­ing more auton­o­my. Bring exam­ples of the goals you plan to set for your­self. Write up your sched­ule and bring it to the meet­ing. Demon­strate – through real exam­ples – how you have suc­cess­ful­ly pri­or­i­tized tasks and made sol­id deci­sions on your own. And maybe print out this study for a leave-behind.

Courtney Huckabay
Court­ney is the Edi­tor for Sales­Fu­el Today. She ana­lyzes sec­ondary cus­tomer research and our pri­ma­ry Audi­enceS­CAN research. Court­ney is a grad­u­ate of Mid­dle Ten­nessee State Uni­ver­si­ty.