If This Is How You’re Thinking About Your Job, You’re Probably Hurting Your Health

Author: David McMillin       

Time is money — it’s the rule that millions of Americans use at least five days of the week. At your first job in high school, you were most likely trained to think about how much you were paid each hour. As you’ve progressed through your career, that same mentality may still define your approach to business. If you put in 40 hours each week, you’re probably on par with the majority of the working world in terms of breaking down your salary by hours worked. Unfortunately, new research findings reveal that this belief is linked to big problems.

Jeffrey Pfeffer, professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Dana R. Carney, an assistant professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, evaluated the time-is-money equation by dividing more than 100 participants into two groups. Each group spent two hours working for a fake company. One group calculated their pay-per-minute rate prior to working, and the other simply completed the work without bothering to determine their compensation per minute. The participants who calculated their by-the-minute pay had cortisol levels that were nearly 25 percent higher than the second group. The study only lasted for two hours, but that mindset can last throughout every minute of the workday. And that’s not good. According to the Mayo Clinic, long-term increased cortisol levels put people at risk for anxiety, depression, digestive problems, and a range of other health issues. Translation: You’ll need to use your paycheck for all those hours of work to cover the costs of medicine and treatment.

“People are continually calculating the economic value of their time,” Pfeffer said upon the release of the findings. “And all the research shows that when people are thinking about time and money, they’re not enjoying their lives. They become impatient. They don’t enjoy music, or sunsets. This calculation of what it costs to coach your kid’s soccer game is not a path to happiness.”

“Every minute thinking about the value of your time is not very good,” Pfeffer added. “We live in a completely over-scheduled world, and that’s just not very healthy.”

SEE ALSO: A New Way to Think About Stress

Planning Events Is Already Stressful Enough

The study’s findings are troubling for anyone who subscribes to the time-is-money principle, but they may be even more worrisome for those involved in meetings and events. In 2016, event coordinators clocked in at number five on CareerCast’s most-recent ranking of the most stressful jobs in the world, putting event professionals in company with some dangerous occupations. Enlisted military personnel, firefighters, airline pilots, and police officers were the only jobs associated with more stress than events industry organizers. So the next time you’re worried about accommodating food allergies, managing travel logistics for a keynote speaker whose flight was cancelled, or waiting for the AV team to solve a connectivity issue, don’t think about how much time it’s taking. It will only make you feel worse.

Looking for advice on how to feel better? Check out “5 Tips for On-Site Wellness” from Convene.

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