Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Germans and Stress

I sat and was reading a curious article this morning out of Der Western (a newspaper here in Germany).  They reported that a health insurance company (GfK) had gone out and done a survey on stress.  What they found was.....roughly three out of ten Germans report that they are under constant pressure at work.  Four out of ten report that the work-load continues to escalate.

German work environments, as a whole....are a bit different than American environments.  There aren't that many office chatter moments, or loose conversation.  Germans tend to keep the office environment fairly professional and are focused on the work given.  Expanding out an office to handle additional work-loads?  In an American office.....if you are making more profit and having more'd just immediately happen, and you'd let these folks go if business dropped.  German businesses aren't made in that way.....they will only add personnel when absolutely necessary....trying to avoid cuts later if the business declines slightly.

Why do a report on stress?  Because it's all going to lead later to some type of wellness situation or stress rehab the Kur.  The Kur is the concept of sending a guy with stress or depression or anxiety off for a month of forced relaxation.  For an American, it'd be like your doctor finally saying your work is hurting your here's a four-week hotel deal in the Rockies, without the family, and you are supposed to attend daily classes, walk or swim every day, and talk to a mental health guy at least once or twice a day.  It's been going on for decades here in Germany, and most people say it works.

The odd thing about this report that GfK produced?  They found that one out of four folks thought that exceptional stress was a positive on their lives.  I sat there and pondered over this.  There's no written explanation for what they said, or forty-line detail over why people would think that way.

Maybe there is 'good' stress and 'bad' stress.  Maybe people live such routine lives at home....that this brief eight hours of stressful work is a blessing to some people.  I might even agree that stress makes people more creative....finding ways to shorten a process or lessening paperwork.

What will happen to the report?  It'll likely get filed, and never be brought up again.....sadly.

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