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Shuey, Spiegel; The Structure of IT work and it's effect on health.docx

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Sociology 3308F/G
Kim Shuey

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Shuey, Spiegel; "The structure of IT work and it's effect on worker health: job stress and burnout across the life course" Sunday, February 02, 2014 8:33 PM • Emerging network society within today's new economy, IT industry key palyer o Economy with rapid growth in service and technology sectors • Accelerated pace of science and technology development and obsolescence • Great pressure to increase productivity and reduce costs • Demand for flexibility has to do with departure of life long career • More temporary contractual careers, less job security, less benefits, pension, etc. • How do these changes affect individuals with their work environments, • Work's effect on health and well-being • Increasing number of workers experiencing job related stress, stress-related health problems • More research required in order to understand the ways in which industry and workplace practices affect worker well-being • Findings situated within a life course framework Stress and Burnout as a normal part of the job • Burnout and stress acknowledged by at least 50% of workers surveyed as a normal part of the job • So many people mention burnout it seems to be present • Over one third of respondents said their work had a negative aspect on their health • Some workers attribute physical health concerns to their work, such as weight gain, headaches, pain, and disability, lack of sleep, exhaustion, even dreaming about work • Some people have a hard time getting to sleep, others wake up in the night and shoot off a few emails • Some talk about crashing on weekends and sleeping for 12 hours at a time • Nearly one quarter of respondents stated their job led to anxiety • One office had an attempted suicide, an actual suicide, and one person removed from the office in a straight jacket The structure of IT work and the creation of stress and burnout • Understanding how individual lives are affected by broader labor market forces and organizational practices • This section considers structural factors contributing to high levels of stress and burnout for IT workers The pace of work and work overload • Employees spend more time at the office and more likely to take home work than in the past • Pressures to work longer and harder, reduction in timeframe for work to be completed • Working at high speeds to meet deadlines • Negative mental and physical health consequences • Individuals who work more hours have more ill health than those who work less • Higher levels of anxiety, depression, difficulties intiating and maintaining sleep • High job demands and pressure associated with psychological strain and job dissatisfaction, increase in cardiovascular disease • Some workers even pulled all nighters • 24 hour access companies have to workers is obviously stressful • 24 hour work day blurs the boundaries of work and home life, inability to relax or make plans Structural Factors promoting work overload • Individual and organization pressures explain why many workers conform to long hours • Attachment to work, pressure to conform • Culture of devotion to work Individual Pressures • Career advancement in IT is about willingness to work long hours • Self imposed pressure, desire to finish a particular task • Individuals internalize cultural ideal of the industry • "get it done no matter what attitude" • Prevent falling behind The role of companies • All workers pressured to work longer, all workers exhausted, negative effect on workplace morale • Some workers said their pace of work determined by promises company mande to client • Companies accepting deadlines without know whether workers could meet them Macro-level Industry Changes • Technology boom and bust in 2000s • Following industry collapse, jobs became more scarce, empowering employers • Workers perceive burnout resulting from the "industry pressure cooker" • Workers perceive the pace of work is the most negative aspect • Workers report pressure from co workers • Work intensive company culture • Management desire to please customers despite workers ability Work Demands and Stress in Life Course Context • Job related stress is not uniform across workers • Multiple influences Life Course Transitions and Job Stress • Life course transition represents discrete change in status and roles embedded within a broader trajectory • Transition to parent hood for example, has a shift on other life spheres such as work • These new transitions have new pressures for workers in a high demand work environment • Familky affects ability and desire to work long hours • Inability to reconcile transition to parent hood and work hours often lead workers to leave the industry • A lot of stress on older workers is demand to keep up and perform the same as younger workers • Life course transitions involving greater responsibilities outside the sphere of work increase the level of job stress for IT workers • Transition to parenthood highlights inherent incompatibility between family responsibilies and working long hours • Transition forces workers to make
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