Two weeks ago, a 32 years old woman has jumped from the window of her France Telecom office. Only two days later, her colleague has tried to kill himself in a meeting. Twenty-three employees of France Telecom have killed themselves since the beginning of 2008. Many of them left suicide notes blaming the work conditions. 42,4% of early pensioned people in Austria are pensioned due to work-related psychological problems such as burnout. Now Austrian pension fond is considering opening special support and rehabilitation centres to heal burnouts and help people go back to work instead of entering early pension.
It is interesting to notice that the percentage of blue-collar workers going to early pension due to work-related psychological problems is at 29,6% much lower then with white-collar workers, where it makes 42,4%.
This is a very interesting issue which could help preventing burnout. I am discussing this topic in my new book. It is because the blue-collar workers are detached from their work and expect reachable things: to work for certain hours a day and get a certain payment? While white-collar workers expect much more from their job – they expect their job to give them fulfilment, affirmation, and a feeling of success. Too much identification with a job? Is it because of the ungrateful middle positions where the results (and therefore success) are not easy to measure and where one does not have the authority but does have the responsibility?
Or are we just spoiled?