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'Tis the season to be jolly well sad

Date

Dijana Damjanovic and Amy Corderoy

SEASONAL stress and the global economic gloom are making Christmas less than merry for thousands of workers.

People are overloaded, dissatisfied and increasingly anxious, figures from Australia's largest provider of workplace counselling services show.

The chief executive of Davidson Trahaire Corpsych, Michele Grow, said Christmas was a time when workers increasingly felt family and financial pressures, which were now combining with pressure from workplaces under economic strain.

An increase in the number of companies making staff redundant around the middle of the year was beginning to take its toll, she said.

''Of course, redundancy impacts the people who go, but there is generally a much bigger impact on the people who stay,'' she said.

''When an organisation downsizes, it is very rare the work has gone away.''

In the approach to Christmas this year, the company has recorded an 87 per cent increase in calls related to workload issues and a 73 per cent increase in workplace satisfaction issues compared with the same period last year.

Calls about work/life balance, issues with superiors, personal stress and financial issues have also increased.

Davidson Trahaire Corpsych receives more than 200,000 calls each year, and Ms Grow said the nature of the calls tended to change during the festive season.

''Particularly in December, we see an increase in perceived harassment behaviour from end-of-year events,'' she said.

And the hangover continues until January, when calls about family, relationship and financial problems pick up.

The chief executive of beyondblue, Kate Carnell, said while the national depression initiative did not receive more calls around Christmas, the nature of calls changed.

''We certainly get an increase in the number of people who are doing it tough, particularly with family issues … people who are divorced and aren't with their kids or people who have lost someone in the past 12 months,'' she said.

''People are all under increased stress, and stress is a major precursor to depression and anxiety.''

31 comments

  • Times are tough and they are about to get much, much tougher. People have every right to be anxious. The world has changed. We have largely squandered our wealth & good fortune and people know it. Batten down the hatches is my only advice. It's going to be a very, very bumpy ride.

    Commenter
    Brisbane Bear
    Location
    Brisbane
    Date and time
    December 21, 2012, 11:28AM
    • Half the problem is everyone having an attitude of doom and gloom.

      The article is talking about family issues/etc over this period which I would suggest was probably the same issues around this time of year even before the GFC.

      Yes the world is changing, but it always has (and always will), the best thig we can do is embrace the changes ahead in a positive manner instead of talking about all the doom and gloom ahead.

      So many of the comments on SMH continually point to the end of the world, massive financial disasters, and a collapse of everything we know.

      I'd put money on tings being ok - might be difficult and challengin, but it'll be ok.

      Commenter
      Michael
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      December 21, 2012, 11:54AM
    • Pretty well summed up the expressions from EVERY single person I know and have met recently. But I will drink it off the next two weeks!!!

      Commenter
      Liberator
      Location
      SEQLD
      Date and time
      December 21, 2012, 11:57AM
    • "Oh! You've done it again McBears"
      Doom and gloom - ever so predictable.
      We should use the Mayan Calendar as a benchmark for change not gloom, change our perceptions of what we "need" in life to be happy. It's not all about the almighty $!
      We live in an incredibly fortunate and generous nation.
      Appreciate it!

      Commenter
      A country gal
      Date and time
      December 21, 2012, 1:57PM
    • Well BB at least you're not blaming the ALP, like you do on other blogs. Merry Christmas!

      Commenter
      george
      Date and time
      December 21, 2012, 2:15PM
    • Labor doesn't understand you need to make money before you can spend it. That is the problem with Socialism in general, as Mr Swan has just found out to his horror. The economy is about to be whacked as 5 years of dreadful policies come home to roost.

      Commenter
      Brisbane Bear
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      December 21, 2012, 2:33PM
  • Seriously, when you start thinking of Christmas as anything other than just another Sunday, only more boring because most things are closed, then you've got problems.

    Commenter
    DMH
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    December 21, 2012, 11:40AM
    • I've worked 17 out of 18 Christmas periods (excluding public holidays) and I must say I'm seeing differences this year. This week the traffic has been as bad as normal. Generally after school ends the traffic improves, not this year. Today the trains are just slow. I'd suggest the system and everyone in it is/are fatigued, sick of bad news and bad management but mortgage slaves without hope. We're sheep just doing as we're told...

      Commenter
      axle
      Location
      syd
      Date and time
      December 21, 2012, 12:49PM
    • I agree axel. I can recall many years ago when we just did nothing at work on Christmas eve ... maybe skiff off to get last minute gifts. But over time it has become just another work day. And many business run 24/7 ... I know many folk who will be working christmas day ... cultures always change and christmas is different from our childhood ... fewer christmas cards. My grandmother and her mate would compete for how many they received. My aunt sent an e-car! and in years to come it will be different again ... I stopped sending cards years back when I saw how little notice folk took ... I sometimes give book marks as they have an on-going use ... and send post cards when travelling ... my children are more than likely to marry folk of other faiths ...

      Commenter
      Fluellen
      Location
      Pilbara
      Date and time
      December 21, 2012, 1:55PM
  • Twelve days of Christmas! One day of Christmas is loathsome enough!
    Raymond Shaw The Manchurian Candidate 1962

    Commenter
    Fluellen
    Location
    Pilbara
    Date and time
    December 21, 2012, 11:56AM

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