Work stress: we keep failing people. Why?

Work stress: we keep failing people. Why?

A teacher friend of mine has been signed off sick with stress. A mix of work and personal circumstances led to a public unravelling at his place of work. He’s far from the first person in his school to face this. I don’t know when, how or even if, he’ll be able to face his classroom again.

What are we doing? He’s a teacher for crying out loud. Why are we putting these generous people, dedicated to nurturing our future generations, in situations where they’re under so much scrutiny and pressure that they buckle with the weight of it?

Why are we exposing young children to an environment where the adults taking care of them are forced to crack? These kids should be neither normalising extreme mental stress nor getting used to the fear of it themselves.

A societal breakdown we’re all part of?

Why aren’t we scandalised by the culture of fear that exists in everyday, workplace life? It’s unacceptable enough that it happens in the money-driven world of the private sector – I can tell you just how many of my former office colleagues have been pushed over the edge and into the doctor’s waiting room at some point – but our state is there exclusively to care for and protect our world, not to bully those who uphold its ideals into breakdowns.

The more I’m exposed to the way we mistreat human beings, our planet and everything else in it, the more I seem to find myself angry these days. I’m less and less able to accept that we have a good enough reason for acting this way. It has nothing to do with gender, race, class or politics. So why are we doing it? And how do we, as individuals, stop it?

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