According to a new survey, almost seven in ten workers aged between 18 and 24 have called in sick due to stress in the last year and the majority of them were young. Experts said that young workers may feel more stressed than the older generation because they have more expectation on their shoulders or it could be because young people may also be more aware of the signs of stress than older people. But are just better at identifying symptoms of stress or are we cry babies?
The survey from Friends Life found that while 67% of 18 to 24 year olds called in sick over the last year, this figure fell to 54% among 25 to 34 year olds and to 47%among 35 to 44 year olds. Only 43% of people aged between 45 and 55 called in sick. This figure rose slightly, to 49%, to workers over the age of 55. Maybe older people are less stressed because they have already established themselves in their careers or maybe they have learned to suck up pressure better than millenials.
Dr. Ian Drever, consultant psychiatrist at The Priory Group, which helps people with stress-related and other issues, said younger people may certainly be more stressed “due to their job roles being more time pressured, having greater expectations upon them to climb the career ladder and cope with numerous demands in more challenging economic times.” But he noted that younger people are also more comfortable with admitting they were stressed and telling their employers about it.
I do think younger people are better at identifying stress because stress has been something, at least for me, I have been aware of since I was in high school and I don’t think that is true for my mother’s generation and most definitely my grandmother’s. We are a generation that puts a lot of pressure on ourselves and works very hard, but we also complain and expect a lot.
Plus, stress is the world’s greatest excuse for any sort of mess-up. I am tired and didn’t send that email because I am stressed. I look bad because I am stressed. I ate the entire contents of the vending machine because I am stressed, etc., And now, I can’t go to work because I am so stressed.
Older generations were taught early on that kind of behavior wouldn’t fly. Hell, women didn’t get equal rights in the workplace until the 1970s. Do you think when they were stressed they were going to ask for a day off? I don’t think so.
I don’t want to say that young people shouldn’t be stressed. Your career in your 20′s is notoriously rough because all you are really trying to do is climb the ladder while at the same time build a personal life. Just today a new study found that women aged between 25 and 34 are more stressed than anyone else in Britain. At that age, women are typically climbing the career ladder at work, caring for demanding young children at home and paying a mortgage. All these pressures mount up as they struggle to overcome the strains of busy work, family and social lives, experts say.
It is also healthy that we can identify when stress starts to really take a toll on us physically and emotionally but sometimes being hyper-aware can be bad. Sometimes just working through your stress and going to work is the way to get through it and clearly that is what a lot people have done.