Many people see a high-paying job as a symbol of success. However, despite their numerous benefits, high-paying jobs can also be highly stressful. So why are high-paying jobs so stressful?
High paying jobs are stressful due to a number of reasons like increased responsibilities and manager oversight, need for leadership skills and a reduced work-life balance. Additionally, these jobs often lead to increased financial commitments and higher chances of contracting lifestyle diseases.
This article considers everything you need to know about stressors linked to high-paying jobs. It also explores ways to reduce job-related stress so that you can navigate and alleviate stress effectively even if you have a high-income job.
Reasons Why High paying jobs are More Successful
Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons why high paying jobs are stressful.
When you have a higher income, you typically have more responsibilities. Depending on your role, you may be given more tasks, more people to manage, or expected to deliver more than lower-ranking personnel.
Here are some more details of the responsibilities of high-income earners:
- More tasks. As a higher earner, you will be accountable and answerable for more things. So, you may have to perform more tasks or collate more reports to be successful.
- More people to manage. You will most likely have a team reporting to you. As well as completing your tasks, you will have to oversee others’ tasks.
- Deliver more outcomes. When you are given a promotion, the number of deliverables you have to produce automatically increases. This may include increasing the company’s overall income, producing more reports, or overseeing a targeted increase in production.
This increased workload can cause significant stress, especially if you don’t have the tools to manage it or lack the experience to manage such expectations.
Closer Oversight by Senior Managers
In addition, as a high-income earner in your company, you may be expected to report to a more senior manager. This will bring a level of scrutiny and analysis to your work that you may not have had to navigate before.
Being answerable to a senior manager can cause added levels of stress, especially if you’ve never been in such a position before. Failure to adjust to the new role early enough can leave you stressed out.
Need for Leadership Skills
Many promotions that promise high incomes usually require management skills. A management role means you have to act not only as a manager but also as a leader who is capable of supervising and motivating a team to ensure positive outcomes.
As well as increasing your overall workload, managing a team of personnel can have a heavy emotional toll on you.
This is because, as a leader, you may have to help support employees’ emotional and mental well-being to ensure they thrive at work. Research by Campbell, Baltes, Martin and Meddings identifies some of the primary sources of stress for leaders:
- Establishing and maintaining relationships. As a leader, you may find that you spend a lot of time ensuring you are engaging with your team and deepening your relationships with them.
- Developing others. You may have to spend more time encouraging others and helping them build on their work skills.
While these efforts are rewarding, they are also stressful because your team will rely heavily on you emotionally. You may feel increasingly drained or stressed because you are asked to support your team both professionally and emotionally.
Less Work-Life Balance
As your responsibilities and roles at work increase, you may find that you cannot complete all your tasks at the end of the day.
Instead, you may need to take work home, impacting your work-life balance. You may also need to work longer hours and during weekends, which effectively reduces the amount of time you can spend with family and friends. This is a significant reason behind work-related stress build-up.
More Work to Home Conflict
Perhaps as a result of an individual having reduced work-life balance, they may have more conflicts at home.
A study by Schieman, Whitestone, and Gundy found that men and women who had high status and higher-paying occupations reported more conflicts at home than lower-paid counterparts.
The study further explains that high-paying jobs bring more demands, longer hours, and increased involvement, leading to a lack of involvement in the home environment.
The increased work demands can cause conflicts with parents, spouses, and children. Conflicts with close family and friends can cause dissatisfaction and loneliness, which increases the chances of stress, and to a larger extent, depression.
Increased Incidents of Illness
Several studies have found that heightened stress levels increase the chances of illnesses. Kinman and Jones, for instance, found that high levels of work stress caused high blood pressure, migraines, ulcers, and virus infections.
Continuously falling ill can impact your performance and even work availability. When you fall ill, you would have to take time off work or else not be able to perform optimally. This would impact the quality of your work, leading to more stress.
More Financial Commitments
It may seem ironic, but when you’re promoted to a higher paying role, your financial commitments are also likely to rise as well.
As you earn more income, you may find yourself moving into a more expensive neighborhood or upgrading to a more expensive car. This added financial commitment can lead to stress build-up and make you feel like you’re not progressing.
Chance of Income Volatility
Many individuals who earn a high salary can be impacted by income volatility. This means that their income can change from month to month, depending on their performance and the amount of work they do.
The inconsistency can lead to stress as the income might not be reliable despite increasing. Some high-paying professions where income volatility is common include:
- Business owner. Business owners’ income depends on their business performing well. While they can enjoy a high income when the business hits sales targets, they get little to no income when the business is struggling.
- Real estate agents. While real estate agents earn a fair amount of commissions on properties they sell, rent, and find buyers for, their income depends on the number of deals they close.
- Stock advisors and investors. Similarly, stock advisors and investors will only receive enough income if the stocks they invest in rise.
Income volatility can lead to stress and force individuals to put in more work, which affects their work-life balance and increases the chances of depression.
Wealth Can Be Isolating
Some studies have found that an increase in income can make people less interested in socializing.
For instance, Bianchi and Vohs (2016) found that individuals with a higher household income spent less time socializing than their lower-income counterparts. As well as not having enough time, individuals with a lot of wealth may not relate with low-income earners or prefer expensive hobbies.
Your work may also involve increased travel and the possibility of relocation, which means you have to start forming new friendships.
These habits can cause a rift between longtime friends, reducing the number of social connections an individual has. Reduced social contact and a decline in strong friendships can cause loneliness and increase the chances of stress.
Ways To Reduce Work-Related Stress
You shouldn’t turn down a high-paying job just because of anticipated stress. Instead, you should manage your stress by tracking what aspects of your job cause you stress.
Organize your day to make sure you can focus on one task at a time, which will help you work towards a healthy work-life balance.
Here’s some more information about how to reduce stress.
Track What Causes Stress
While most people get stressed, the causes of stress vary from individual to individual. Examining what causes stress can help you understand your unique stressors better.
Here is a simple table template to help you track what may have caused you stress. It has some sample answers for you to get started.
|How did I know I was stressed?||My heart was beating faster.|
|What was I doing before the onset of symptoms?||Replying to an email.|
|What helped calm me down?||Stepping away from the desk and having a cup of tea.|
|What strategies can help me avoid stressors?||Having a calming tea before sitting down to my emails.|
Once you begin tracking your stressors more closely, you’ll either be able to avoid the stressor altogether or implement strategies that help reduce the stress they cause.
Organize Your Day To Ensure Focus
If you find that you are getting stressed because of work overload, it can help to rearrange your work routine to ensure better focus. Here’s a simple breakdown of different tools and strategies you can use to improve your focus:
- Increase your activity levels. Incorporate at least 30 minutes of exercise into your daily routine. This could include yoga, cardio, or strength training. An active lifestyle has been found to boost serotonin and dopamine levels, which can help combat stress hormones.
- Mindfulness practices. Mindfulness calls upon individuals to focus on the present moment. To use mindfulness, you should take a few moments each day to focus on your breathing. This trains your brain to attend to the present moment.
- Improve your diet. Diets rich in vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats have been found to increase attention and focus.
- Eliminate distractions. While multi-tasking has become somewhat of a trend, you should cut out all possible distractions when working. If you have team members working with you, set meetings or discussion times.
Actively Strive for a Work-Life Balance
A work-life balance is one of the best ways to combat stress. To maintain a work-life balance, you need to be strict with your timelines and conscious about how you choose to spend your time. Here’s a closer look at some strategies for building a better work-life balance:
- Being strict with timelines. Make sure you schedule all the events of your day and stick to them. If you have decided to leave work at 7 pm, try to do everything possible to make sure that happens.
- Choosing how you spend your time. Don’t overcommit to social occasions and catch-ups with others. Instead, be conscious about what social occasions you commit to and who you spend time with. This allows you to spend time with people who help you recharge.
- Use time management tools. Use tools that help you track and manage time effectively. These tools may be able to send you reminders or help you collaborate with other team members so you can finish work faster.
Are There Any Other Ways To Increase Your Income?
If you want to get a higher income but don’t want to get stressed by a high-paying job, you can look for other ways to build on your income. Here are some ways to quickly increase your income:
- Work towards bonuses. Most companies will have a bonus structure for employees where performance is tracked against Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Work with your supervisor on KPIs that relate to your role and work towards these to achieve a bonus.
- Create a passive income. Passive income is money you make without actively working on a task. You can read more about the different types of passive income opportunities here.
- Start a side hustle. With the presence of the internet and media, there is no limit to the side hustles you can start. You can begin blogging and start selling ad space. You can list your home on Airbnb or sell artwork and other creations.
- Invest in stocks. Investing in stocks and shares can be highly profitable if you do it right. However, you should do your research on market trends and what the stock market looks like. If you are unsure, consult with a stock market advisor so you don’t lose money.
High-paying jobs are stressful for a variety of reasons. Typically, high-paying jobs come with increased responsibility, more deliverables, and a team relying on you. Because of this increased pressure, you may find less work-life balance and more conflict at home.
However, just because you have a high-paying job doesn’t mean you have to be stressed out perpetually. You can look for ways to understand better and manage your stress. Or, you can look for ways to increase your income without taking up a high-paying job.