Everyone knows that working in the service industry is a bloody tough job. Long hours, ungrateful customers named Sharon and generally being treated like shit aren’t exactly premium working conditions.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of working in the service industry then you probably know someone who has, you’ll also have no doubt heard a fair few stories about just how stressful it can actually be.
Well, those claims just got a lot more reputable, as a recent study has found that demanding jobs offering employees little control—hello Saturday brunch shift workers—are among the most detrimental to mental and physical health.
Conducted by scientists at the Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, the research saw scientists analyse the data of over 138,700 participants from six previous studies on job-related health.
From this information, they were able to classify jobs into four groups based on control and how psychologically demanding the role is. Low demand and low control jobs like manual labour were noted as “Passive,” jobs with high control like architects and scientists were “Low Stress,” and jobs with both high demand and high control (think teachers or doctors) were “Active.”
The category labelled “High Stress” included jobs that were demanding but with low levels of control. So, essentially any job where the employee is subject to a demanding work environment with very little they could do to change it.
Scientists found that those serving have a 22 percent higher risk of stroke on average than those with a low-stress job.
The research explained that while those who have high-flying jobs like architects or scientists may seem like they’d have a higher risk of feeling stressed, work-related stress is actually largely dependent on whether you have a job that allows you to feel in control and respected.
For example, a neurosurgeon might be feeling pretty damn drained after a day of picking people’s brains, but they probably feel more valued than the waitress who just got thrown up on by a snotty kid while the family sat there and laughed. For this reason, people in low demand/high control jobs were found to have no increased risk of stroke or heart problems.
Lots of stress means that people are forced to turn to other things to chill out and scientists noted that servers may also be pushed to drink and smoke. Which, aren’t exactly great activities for those wishing to avoid a whole host of health and mental issues.
Dingli Xu at the Southern Medical University said: “Having a lot of job stress has been linked to heart disease but studies on job stress and stroke have shown inconsistent results. It’s possible that high-stress jobs lead to more unhealthy behaviours, such as poor eating habits, smoking, and a lack of exercise.”
So there you go, think about that before you berate your waiter for bringing the wrong sauce to the table.