• Gisèle Schembri

Pressure - A Word We Shouldn't Accept

I have yet to be ever searching for a job and not come across the phrase ‘must work well under pressure’.

The very fact that the sentence must be included with the requisites for a job shows that it is something that does not come naturally to all and of course it doesn’t, if it were it wouldn’t be pressure at all!

The word pressure means ‘an exertion of force’ and here are all the adverts asking for people willing to be submitted to forceful (and therefore unnatural) requests in order to be eligible for a job. It’s there in black on white, and the Human Resources manager will willingly remind you of it any time you ‘dare’ complain that the job is stressful. Again, stress seems to have become a ‘must have’ in our First World lifestyle.

Well news is, we don’t all accept this pressure. We don’t all condone stress. Only, as with anything else, the strength is in numbers and in union and there is little of that around when it comes to talking about and fighting for what is right. Instead, most people are unfortunately in a place where they fear speaking up because as a rule, speaking up will emarginate them or even worse, lose them their job. Let’s be logical here. Most of the time leaving a job where you had to speak out against pressure is no loss is it? Not to the human inside at least. However it is also understood that a job is ultimately the most ‘normal’ though not natural way to earn money with which to survive and most people would refuse to jeopardise even a shitty job just because there seems to be no other way out.

The word ‘pressure’ is at times misused. There is no harm in working longer hours at a job if it is your dream come true and you are actually enjoying it. So that is NOT actually pressure on the job. Pressure refers to the point where the body, mind and spirit of a person, as well as the heart (ie emotions) will suffer. Pressure intrudes on well-being, on enough time away from work to regenerate the body, to manage to sleep soundly at night and to have time for all else.

Employers nowadays seem to feel that their employees should feel grateful for having the job. In a perfect world, yes, we would all have our preferred employment which doesn’t feel like work at all. Even if that is not the case, it benefits us to think of the positive sides of it, including that it pays our bills and puts food on the table, seeing as we do live in money communities. However gratitude need not extend to acceptance of bad work conditions, such as I have seen and experienced first hand in all three of my last jobs.

You are not ungrateful for feeling upset any time your boss dangles a promotion in front of you only to find out it does not exist. You are in no way asking for too much should you choose to sit down during your continuous seven hour shift whilst there are no customers in the shop you are serving. And definitely, you are not ungrateful for speaking up about being made to work a fifty hour week with no overtime pay when your contract clearly states that you work thirty-nine.

All in all, don’t feel that you have to accept the unacceptable. ‘Pressure’ is a word no employee should accept.

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay


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