Ambition drives people at work to succeed, receive recognition, and eventually move up the chain of command. And with promotions and increased responsibilities also come dreams of new cars, bigger homes, more exotic vacations, and perhaps an earlier, more fulfilling retirement. Yet new research out of Britain irrefutably showed that promotions at work may actually harm the health of people.
Research indicated that the mental health of people worsened with a promotion. What's more, it wasn't a short-term deterioration but instead continued for the long term. Mental strain increased by an average of 10%. In addition, people were more likely to skip visits to the doctor, citing stress and a general lack of time that unexpectedly came with the new job. The research also showed that a promotion offered no health benefits whatsoever.
Past studies have shown what a silent and deadly killer stress can be, as it affects every part of the body. Stress can lead to heart disease, cancer, depression, and even more bouts with the common cold because it slows or shuts down important bodily functions like digestion, physical growth, and parts of the immune system. Although this is just temporary, frequent and severe stress causes the slow down to occur again and again. The effects are compounded over time.
The findings came from an annual survey which also included information from roughly 1,000 newly promoted people. And although the poor economy and the threat of joblessness loom large enough to cause stress for some, there's now something else to worry about too: recognition and job promotion.
Preview some of the lesson material:
Warm Up: Do you agree or disagree? Why?
- I love my job!
- I am an ambitious person.
- I want to get a promotion at work.
- Managers have the most stress at work.
- Work stresses me out!
True or False?: Guess (before the article) or answer (after the article) whether the sentence is true or false. If false, correct the sentence.
- According to the article, ambition directly causes people to become unhealthy.
- The health problems lasted only a short time.
- Stress causes people to skip visits to the doctor.
- Stress affects every part of the body.
- Job promotion causes more stress than joblessness.
post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!
- What are some areas that generally cause stress at work? How about areas for you at your job?
- Do you agree that the new job responsibilities that come with a promotion are stressful?
- Why are some people so ambitious that they seek promotions again and again? Please explain.
- Have you ever heard the term "work-life balance?" What do you think it means?
- What sort of jobs would cause the most stress? What sort of jobs would cause the least stress?
Google Search: Type "stress" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.