Working under pressure

Updated: 2014-05-01 07:29

By Zhang Lei (China Daily)

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"Now, many parents have their own educational philosophy, and teaching methods that teachers don't approve of. Some parents complain there is too little homework for their kids, and some think it is too much. There is no pleasing them. When their kids quarrel with the other students, they always think their own child did nothing wrong."

The teacher recruitment system is another cause of stress, as teachers worry about being dismissed. In recent years, the vast majority of schools have implemented the appointment system, and teaching no longer means an "iron rice bowl".

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Meanwhile, 38.5 percent of teachers said they were not satisfied with their school's management and leadership style. But out of obedience to their superiors and leadership, they make compromises. If a teacher has an independent personality, it is likely to be eroded by the system, which also adds to the psychological pressure on them.

Likewise, most journalists say they feel work pressure, according to a survey by the China Journalists Association. Almost all of them experience ailments such as headaches, migraines, body aches, frequent constipation or diarrhea, and more than half of the journalists are in a unhealthy state. Many said they suffer from fatigue, poor sleep, loss of appetite, and poor eyesight. The survey found that the average life expectancy for a journalist is 45.7 years, and the average age before they are hospitalized is 44.2.

This is not only due to the heavy pressure they put on themselves because the job requires a sense of responsibility, but also because on occasions reporters put their own lives at risk in hazardous situations. The demographic of China's journalists is young, and female journalists account for 41 percent.

Besides, the increasing popularity of new media, especially the Internet and smartphone apps has forced news providers of traditional content into a period of painful restructuring that has already resulted in some newspapers, such as the Shanghai Evening Post last year. The closure fresh challenges to journalists, as they now need to be writers, photographers and web adepts at the same time, which has added to their stress.

The survey also found that TV and radio journalists feel greater pressure than those working for print media.

IT jobs are popular with young people, as they offer high incomes. But the industry is very competitive and the short product life cycles mean IT workers have to overcome technical problems within short periods of time. They have to figure out new solutions as quickly as possible, so that long hours become a daily routine.

In addition to working long hours, the rapid technological upgrading in the high-tech industry means employees have to keep constantly learning specialized knowledge that can overload the brain at times. Even in the busiest times of many projects, IT programmers also have to be prepared to pass skill tests set by their companies every now and then. If not, it will affect their promotion and future development.

The Third China Urban Health Status survey found that work pressure is the primary cause of the health problems of 33 percent of office workers. The survey also showed that work pressure led to 36.3 percent of employees feeling a sense of irritability and fatigue, 31.8 percent felt dull and lifeless, 9 percent lacked any interest in things, and 9 percent said they experienced loneliness and inferiority issues. Only 13.9 percent felt good about their work.

Yet less than 5 percent of employers offered psychological counseling and annual health checkups are only done in a perfunctory manner.

One might count himself lucky if his job is not on the stress list.

But, as Feng Lijuan pointed out, "With fiercer competition, product life cycles continue to shorten. Meanwhile, the Internet, IT and other high-tech industries penetrate into all walks of life, and turnover in employees is increasing in most sectors. With Chinese economy undergoing transformation, virtually no profession is spared growing pressure."

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