Feb 4, 2010

Work harder? You must be mad

The Rudd Government needs to accept that productivity and mental health are long term problems that need strategies that extend beyond their next term in office, writes Kevin Jones.

On January 24, 2010, the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, encouraged all Australians to increase their “productivity growth”. But what if increased productivity could result in developing a mental disorder?

The February 2010 edition of the Harvard Mental Health Letter includes a report that lists the following key points:

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2 thoughts on “Work harder? You must be mad

  1. Stevo the Working Twistie

    Kevin, lovely words, but it will never happen. I am one of those exhibiting “physical problems such as irritability and sleep disturbances” – I am also working on average 12 hours a day just to stay in one place in my job, weekends included. My employer is one of the “good ones”, but all that means is that they publish “policies” and force staff to do regular on-line OH&S training (which has to be done out-of-ours as we’re all too busy during the day). I see the trajectory I am on, but “in this economic climate” and with a mortgage and responsibilities I am powerless to change my circumstances.

    You have lovely sentiments, but come back to the real world for a moment and realise that most corporations these days are just like the raw industries of old, except that now we grind up people, rather than coal and ore, to feed the furnaces of commerce.

  2. Kevin Jones


    I think there is a window of opportunity for change and the new OHS laws and the regulators’ response to them could be the way to go.

    I think there is also the chance that safety professional associations have a lot to gain from a proper strategy, if they could stop listening to the OHS lawyers for a while and listen to their clients more.

    I sympathise with your plight. I have two jobs, one that runs from 4am to 7.30 am during the week. Professional development and training is only allowed outside of the normal shift. In my mind this indicates that a company is not serious about the training. If they were work time would be allowed.

    Currently the Australian government is thinking short term and this creates industrial instability because a change of government can then wind back any of the workplace initiatives they don’t like. The element of continuity in any business or society is the people. A government that governs for the long-term benefit of the people will get my vote. Do you know of any?

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