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Report: Having a Bad Job Is More Psychologically Damaging Than Being Unemployed


While unemployment is generally understood to be damaging to one's self-esteem, interpersonal relationships and overall wellbeing, a new report out of the United Kingdom suggests that having a bad job -- one that is boring, unstimulating or poorly suited -- can be even more detrimental to a person's mental health.

Following a downturn brought on by the recession, unemployment levels are now decreasing in the UK at a quicker-than-expected rate, according to The Conversation, an academic outlet.

However, the tenor of jobs being offered is increasingly of poor quality or of a precarious or temporary nature -- "which threatens our productivity and competitiveness, levels of social inclusion and, ultimately, the health of the workforce," writes researcher Stephen Bevan.

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And though such jobs may be necessary to the labor market, Bevan aims to shed light on their psychosocial impacts. When the unemployed transition into poor-quality jobs, he says, "there is a perversely strong chance that they will be worse off -- especially in terms of their mental health."

Instead, notes Bevan, in rebuilding the workforce, governments should be mindful of high-quality jobs, which promote autonomy, are challenging and present employees with a variety of tasks.

While Bevan does ultimately believe in "straining every sinew to help people find work," he hopes his findings will encourage people to question the well-accustomed axiom that any job is better than no job at all.

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