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16th May 2016  |  Career Management , Individuals

According to beyondblue.org, 46% of Australian workers consider their workplace as being mentally unhealthy. These are incredibly alarming statistics, and in this issue of Career Chronicles I’d like to focus on a particular area which could be contributing to mental health, and state of mind in the workplace. Although mental illness can stem from a variety of circumstances, it will quite often manifest itself depending on what’s happening within our current environment – and where do we spend the majority of our time? At work!

Depression, anxiety, and stress are three ugly words, which are unfortunately becoming increasingly predominant in Australian society. Beyondblue.org also states that 45% of people will experience a mental health condition within their lifetime. In any one year, 1 million Australian adults will experience depression, and over 2 million will experience anxiety.

Undervaluing our values

I’ve lived in Sydney my whole life. It was where I was born, raised, educated and have never worked outside of this beautiful city. Although there are an immense amount of positives that can be said about it, it does have its negatives. We live in one of the most expensive cities in the world and therefore we very often see people’s decision-making around work become based on salary.

In my opinion, the issue delves even deeper than this. In recent years, superficiality and what society warrants has driven us to neglect our career values and replace them with the dream of owning a beachside mansion and driving a luxury sports car. Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with living a life of luxury; but it becomes an issue when in order to chase these dreams you give up what should matter to you most; your core values. This can include things such as work/family balance, integrity, passion, and teamwork.

Your mental health


When we neglect our values in the short-term we start to experience feelings of restlessness, discontent, and unhappiness. If we neglect our values over a prolonged period, it’s not uncommon to then develop symptoms of depression, anxiety and severe stress which can not only have a negative affect on your well-being, but also those around you. I’ve personally worked in environments where my values were not being met and it altered my whole outlook on life. I’m usually a very positive person, but all of a sudden I found myself focusing on the negatives. It changed my entire state of mind and how I viewed the world, showing the profound effect of working in an environment that didn’t meet my values. I can’t stress enough how important it is to take your values into account when making decisions regarding your career. Although salary is important, as simple as this sounds, the job that pays more money may not lead to more happiness, and in fact, it can be quite the contrary.

Take the time to reflect, and ask yourself confronting questions such as:

  • Am I passionate about my job?
  • Does my organisation operate with integrity?
  • Am I receiving enough job satisfaction?
  • Am I happy with my current opportunities for development?
  • Am I able to spend enough quality time with my family and friends?

Do your values align with your work?

Whilst it’s important not to neglect our values, we must understand that this is a two-way street. Modern day organisations are increasingly appreciating the importance of not only recruiting staff who have the experience and qualifications to undertake a certain role, but are now also taking responsibility to ensure that staff are a sound fit regarding the organisation’s culture.

The foundation of an organisation’s culture is formed using its values which then should resonate throughout its employees. Organisations now want to align their values to their employees with the objective of promoting a more cohesive and harmonious work environment. So when making important decisions regarding your next career move, it would be wise to thoroughly research the organisation you want to work for to see if your values align with theirs.

Working in an environment where your values match those of your superiors and colleagues will go a long way to ensuring that the work environment is in sync, resulting in higher levels of productivity, harmony, effective team work, and above all – happiness and job satisfaction.

Personal career coaching


Here at INS Career Management, we offer extensive career coaching to help you find a job that makes you happy. We treat every individual as just that – an individual. We have numerous services to help enhance your professional personality, and discover what industry you’re meant to be in. Working somewhere that suits you and your core values, will help you manage stress and lower anxiety. Why not give us a call, or find out more about our services and let us help you.

If you are having feelings of anxiety or depression within your work place, or your life in general, there are people out there who can help. Many organisations and businesses offer their employees mental health support, but it’s often the case that employees are unaware of their workplace’s procedures and the policies that are available to them, so it’s worth asking around to find out what mental support is available for you. For further advice and support, we recommend you see your GP for guidance.

I think it’s safe to say that to be happy in life is everyone’s overall objective. It’s what makes us happy which needs to be looked at a little more closely.

Until next time.

Matt Appassamy
Career Coach

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