CHAPTER 10Stress and Careers

Yehuda Baruch

Norwich Business School, University of East Anglia, UK


Stress is sometimes the price many people are happy to pay for a successful career. It is also a factor that sends successful careers to their downfall.

Stress is a major factor in human life, and can influence people in many ways, either positively or negatively. The management of stress is crucial for both individual and organizational processes. Within the work realm, stress can come in the form of occupational stress, job stress, organizational stress and other types of stress-related issues. A number of studies have examined the impact of stress on work attitudes and outcomes, but there is less knowledge and understanding about the specific impact of work-related stress on people’s careers (Clarke & Cooper, 2004, p. 23). In this chapter I will investigate the association in terms of career choice, commitment and success at the individual level, and explore the relevance of organizational interventions like career planning and management for work stress.

Much of the literature on stress and its impact focuses on the negative aspects of high-stress environments. There are two principal reasons for this tendency. First, the phenomenon of people suffering from high levels of stress and its negative outcomes (e.g. anxiety, burnout) reflects a reality in many contemporary workplaces. The second reason is concerned with political correctness. It is easier for academic scholars ...

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