At some point in our career, we’ve all worked for a Miranda Preistly (if you haven’t yet, don’t worry, she’s still out there). The high-powered magazine editor from hell played by Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada may have exaggerated what a bitch on wheels (or bitch in heels, in this case) is like to work for, but I’ve been there, and she’s not that far off the mark. As much as your job can make you want to stick needles in the eyeballs of a voodoo doll of your boss at times, according to researchers, if we want a long and healthy life, we have to find a way to make nice with her. And that includes our co-workers too.
A recent 20-year study followed 820 working adults who were on the job an average of 8.8 hours a day. What they found was that people who reported having low social support and negative social relationships at work were 2.4 times more likely to die during that time as those with a healthy environment. In fact, a lack of emotional support at work led to a 140% increased risk of dying in the next 20 years.
Dr. Sharon Toker, who led the study, concluded that while we spend most of our waking hours at work, we don’t always have much time to meet our friends there given emails and other impersonal ways of communicating today. She goes on to provide oh-so-helpful tips like coffee corners where people can congregate and chat, social outings, an internal virtual social network and a peer-assistance program where employees can confidentially discuss stresses and personal problems (um, isn’t that called Happy Hour?).
As motivating as that sounds, we prefer to deal with troublesome bosses and co-workers with a glass of wine and a bit of humor instead as we “gird our loins”:
Photo: The Devil Wears Prada