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I Can’t Keep Up with the Workload: Part 1

  • The Navigators NavPress
  • 2007 19 Sep
I Can’t Keep Up with the Workload: Part 1

“I could be fired or downsized anytime. I know I’m not the only one waking up at 4 a.m. worrying about losing the house.”

The Beginning Place
It’s often around summer vacation that you most feel the stress of a workload. You schedule a vacation with your supervisor the previous winter, and as the weeks wind down to your anticipated time off, you work weekends and nights the last week or two just to be away from your desk for two weeks. Sometimes you even delay your vacation a day or two desperately tying up loose ends.

When you finally get to the lake (or resort or beach or campsite or hotel), it takes three days just to wind down. And then the last few days of vacation, your stress level starts rising again as you anticipate returning to several hundred e-mails and voice mails — not to mention more than a few fires to put out. The net result of your fourteen-day vacation: about five good, relaxing days.

This is no longer our fathers’ and grandfathers’ world, where a worker’s loyalty to a company was rewarded by a secure career followed by a lifelong pension. No one — CEO or driver, technician or receptionist — is immune to being downsized out of a job. What used to be a win-win covenant between employer and employee has gone obscenely out of balance: The purchasing power of wages has shriveled until it now takes two full-time incomes to sustain a small family. Health benefits, which have traditionally kept even disgruntled employees on the job, are similarly drying up fast. In short, corporations have typically abandoned whatever loyalty they may have had to their employees and invested that loyalty unmistakably and lucratively in their stockholders.

And we haven’t even mentioned the daily stresses of your specific responsibilities and duties. As if they even matter with dispensability breathing down your neck all day, every day.

How do you manage to be productive with this kind of stress? How does your workplace stress influence the other aspects of your life — your primary relationships (marriage, family, close friendships), your leisure (or your attempt at it), your faith? Where do you find momentary release from such stress? Are you considering taking a deliberate step into a lot more or a lot less stress? Or are you the type that is actually energized when the occupational odds get high?

Use the space below to summarize your beginning place for this lesson. Describe your workplace realities, anxieties, and specific stress points. We’ll start here and then go deeper.

A Churning Stomach
Job 30:27
My stomach’s in a constant churning, never settles down. Each day confronts me with more suffering.


• To what degree do you identify with Job’s lament here?
• When you have thoughts like this, do you tend to dismiss them as mere whining? Explain.
• What about your job’s workload makes your stomach churn?
• Is this churning something you could relieve, or something to simply live with

God, show me how . . .

Copied from Juggling Chainsaws on a Tightrope by The Navigators, © 2007. Used by permission fo NavPress, All rights reserved.