It's teacher hunting season!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Could your observations and performance ratings play havoc with your health?

Tara Parker-Pope, writing last Tuesday, May 17, 2010, in "The New York Times" wrote on "Time to Review Workplace Reviews?."

You think your administrator is tough? And that performance evaluations are petty and arbitrary?
As Parker-Pope wrote, you're not alone. And both health and management experts think that they are both overrated and often detrimental to workers' physical and emotional health.


A number of studies have documented the health toll of workplace stress, showing that unhappy workers are at higher risk for heart problems and depression, among other things. This month, Danish researchers reported on a 15-year study of 12,000 nurses finding that nurses struggling with excessive work pressures had double the risk for a heart attack. And a British study tracking 6,000 workers for 11 years found that those who regularly worked more than 10 hours a day had a 60 percent higher risk for heart disease than those who put in 7 hours.

Samuel A. Culbert, a clinical psychologist who teaches at the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles, says too many people work in a “toxic” environment, and the title of his new book (from Hachette) throws a spotlight on one of the culprits: “Get Rid of the Performance Review!”

Annual reviews not only create a high level of stress for workers, he argues, but end up making everybody — bosses and subordinates — less effective at their jobs. He says reviews are so subjective — so dependent on the worker’s relationship with the boss — as to be meaningless. He says he has heard from countless workers who say their work life was ruined by an unfair review.

“There is a very bad set of values that are embedded in the air because of performance reviews,” he told me.

. . .
Frank Cordaro, 56, of Ontario, N.Y., said years of good performance were undone by one bad review from a new manager. He refused to sign the review and ended up taking medication to cope with the anxiety and stress at work. Eventually he lost his job.

“It played hell with my physical health, my mental health, too,” said Mr. Cordaro, adding that he is much happier since he started his own business. “When you’re always fearing for your job, it’s not a good situation.”

Gary Namie, director of the Workplace Bullying Institute in Bellingham, Wash., says office bullies have been known to use performance reviews to undermine a worker.

“I say, ‘Throw it out,’ because it becomes a very biased, error-prone and abuse-prone system,” said Dr. Namie, the author of “The Bully at Work” (Sourcebooks, 2000). “It should be replaced by daily ongoing contact with managers who know the work and who can become coaches.”

And bad bosses are an enormous source of stress. In one British study of nurses, workers who didn’t like their supervisors had consistently elevated blood pressure throughout the workday.

Although there is little an individual can do about such a boss, the American Psychological Association offers some tips, including finding a mentor within the company to discuss strategies for dealing with a problem supervisor.

1 comment:

  1. People such as bloomberg, klein, duncan (arne), likely your principal, and many people who view themselves as "powerful" are enjoying an orgy of cruelty and abuse of people who work with them.

    It is enjoyable to many people to torment, terrorize, pauperize and sicken other people.

    The so-called "workplace" has long been a species of killing field for the employer, the employer who is a parasite.

    We are living in times that praise and celebrate psychopaths in dark suits, light shirts and ties.

    Many teachers, among others, have died as a result of the hell inflicted upon them by their deranged and inutterably sick "superiors." Many teachers have become broken, physically and mentally, as a result of the behaviors of their supervisors.

    It is not by accident.

    We need to wake up, throw off our fear, denial and lethargy.