This morning I heard a conversation between a blue-haired old lady and a young punk getting on the subway. The young guy with spiked hair and a Clash-era leather jacket whipped his head around and caught the old woman, who almost tripped on a Pepsi bottle on the platform. Minutes later she was yammering nearly incoherently to the punk kid about some Subway mishaps from years past, "Yes, you know every two or three months someone just goes nuts and tries to push a stranger onto the tracks. It happens."
She was calm as a cucumber, and the punk kid just stared at her, in disbelief.
It really was a peculiar site.
It got me thinking though. How could you bring yourself to push a stranger off the subway platform...arguably with the intention of killing them?
Pressure is a real thing in our society. Working people often come up against great barriers in their lives, and are almost pushed to the edge by their schedules and responsibilities.
Think about how many hours you work in a week:
Approximately 8:40A.M. to 5:40P.M. (Monday--Friday) = 45 Hours / Week
Then factor in how much time you spend on work at home or when you're off company time:
Eh, like two hours a day. 3 or 4 on the weekends = 16 Extra Hours
So all together I'm spending around 56 hours a week thinking and doing work. I enjoy what I do, and am getting to a point where I have a routine and a game plan. But I also can balance it with my hobbies, and other de-stressors.
Actually, the pressure gives me motivation...but what happens when the motivations stops and you're just stressed?
Upon average, American workers have longer work weeks than France, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain and the U.K. take less time off.
The pressure of this much work can easily send people into a tailspin.
Not only are you not sleeping as much, probably eating poorly because you don't have time, drinking and consuming lots of coffee to keep you going, you're probably exhausted, unhappy and more-or-less disappointed that you're not enjoying yourself.
Have you ever fallen asleep at your desk? Drank so much coffee that you're jittery and wired until you crash into bed? Can't sleep?
You may be under too much pressure.
To put some other things into perspective, take the honor and labor driven society of Japan:
They blew us out of the water as far as annual hours worked at a whopping 2,200 hours per year. Then, in 2004 when they were remeasured...they dropped down below the U.S., probably because there was too much pressure.
Lots of countries around the world are giving more vacation time and allowing workers less strenuous hours, why? Because it's good for moral, and people generally do better work when they're happy.
If you take a look at your workday and evaluate the stress involved, I bet you could say, "man I could use a vacation!"
I'm sure some of this anxiety and hatred for life is directly associated with too much stress at work.
Stress causes an alteration in MOOD, APPETITE and BEHAVIOR.
It may even cause you to randomly lash out at a stranger and push them off the subway platform, just like the old lady said.
So, how do you know if you're under too much pressure?
--Light-headed or Dizziness
These things can all accumulate into a general frustration. If you feel like the walls are closing in and you have nowhere to turn, you must TAKE A BREAK.
Take some time for yourself and evaluate what you truly want out of life. If it isn't a bunch of meetings and craziness then you may want to evaluate other career paths or create an exit plan.
You shouldn't feel trapped in your job or your life.
If you generally enjoy what you're doing, and some days get hard...that's natural.