Feature Archive

Coping with Workplace Stress

Male-specific problems when dealing with workplace stress.

WebMD Feature

As a magazine editor, Chris Charla is faced every day with multiple deadlines, meetings, and all the other demands of putting out a quality product -- demands which in his case led to some destructive coping mechanisms.

"I used to take my wrist rest and slam it against the keyboard, or take my phone and slam it down on the receiver a few times," recalls Charla, a 28-year-old San Franciscan. "But I've tried to calm down since then. I still want to smash things, but what I do now is tell myself not to slam anything and instead to take a walk."

Charla can talk himself through times when emotions run high. What he can't do, though, is talk with others. "If I go to my supervisor," he says, "not only is it an admission that I screwed up my time management, but it's an admission that I can't do my job."

Though he's made progress, Charla's mindset is typical of men in the workplace -- one that makes handling a href="/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=488">stress difficult, and admitting to it taboo.

The High Cost of Workplace Stress

Workplace stress has extreme consequences in Japan, where the suicide rate among men has risen over the last 15 years. According to the Japanese government's Statistics Bureau, the highest suicide rate occurs in men from 35 to 44 years old, making it the 13th most common cause of death for men. (It's 21st for women). Take the triple suicide in March 1998, when three Japanese men -- all heads of car part companies -- took their lives on the same night. They reason they gave? Poor company finances.