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The joy of work versus fear of illness.

The Joy of Work Versus Fear of Illness

"Blessed is the man who has found his work," wrote Thomas Carlyle, the eminent essayist. Contrary to the precept of Paradise, work is not punishment; many who are involuntarily unemployed can attest to the agony of being useless. Scientific studies confirm that less illness, mental problems, addiction and emotional distress exist among the gainfully employed.

But a new attitude has arisen in our society that threatens to discolor the rosy hue of joy in the workplace: "What are the health benefits?"

An executive recently commented on experiences with job seekers. "Before asking about salary, what the job entails, how safe are working conditions, they are anxious to know whether hospitalization and sick leave are included," he recalled. "What is this fascination with possible illness?"

Others in the personnel employment field join in similar comment. "It's true of people on every level of skills," the head of such an agency notes. "There seems to be less interest in the work than how much provision will be made for future disaster."

That preoccupation with ailments has become a national obsession is evident everywhere. Congress is always locked in battle about providing funds for Medicare and Medicaid. Television advertising constantly bewails the horrors of pain and discomfort. Trade unions are willing to shut down plants, public utilities, railroads, and airlines in the quest for benefits, not necessarily more money but assurance that should calamity strike, someone will pick up the bill.

Apart from the fact that a nation more interested in health than in disease would manage to live and eat more healthfully, there is the stark truth that every penny in medical benefits is paid for by the community, meaning every individual who pays a tax -- whether it is on income, sales, purchases, or, . . . less obviously, in the price of goods and services.

The job seeker who invests precious hours in work that promises hospitalization, or drugs, or entangled medical care rather than the rewards of gratifying employment, is shackled by a morbid fascination with fears that may never come to pass.

Preoccupation with illness and disease would prove to be a positive trend in a society concerned with health and exerted consistent efforts to improve its well-being. The dismaying truth is that we are a disease-oriented people who devote more psychic energy worrying about illness than guarding against its eventuality.
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Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:health benefits a preoccupation of workers
Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Sep 22, 1989
Words:397
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