I call it “Crappy Boss Syndrome”. Apparently psychologist types call it the “Crossover Effect”, or the “Spillover Effect”. Whichever you prefer, it is the concept that a person who is satisfied with their job is generally more likely to be satisfied in their personal life. This translates to interactions with spouses, children and friends, and has impact on them as well. Not only that, it turns out having a crappy boss can actually kill you.

In a recent 10 year study researchers found that women with high job strain were 38% more likely to experience a cardiovascular event than their counterparts who reported low job strain. Some studies suggest a relationship between stressful working conditions and suicide, cancer, ulcers, and Impaired Immune Function. However, more research is needed before firm conclusions can be drawn on those.

This syndrome also affects children and spouses. The Journal of Organizational Behavior conducted a study where the researchers “suggest that fathers’ work experiences (decision latitude, job demands, job insecurity and interrole conflict) indirectly influence children’s behaviors (acting out, shyness and school competence) through their sequential effects on job-related affect (job satisfaction, negative job-related mood and job tension) and parenting behaviors (punishing, rejecting and authoritative behaviors).”

Allow me to clarify by boiling this summary down to its very essence: Crappy boss + crappy job = crappy kids. If you are having bad days at the office, it could spell bad days for the kids at home, thwarting their healthy development and condemning them to a future of being a community college dropout joining protests in the park, occupying some location they don't recognize, pooping on doorsteps they don't own, in support of a cause they don't understand.

And nobody wants that, really. Especially the 1% who own the doorsteps.

The spouse is affected by all of this it turns out, and in of all places, the bedroom. Researchers at Iowa State University found a direct correlation between work conflict levels and home environment, saying that workplace borne “psychological distress affects marital outcomes both directly and indirectly through its greater association with marital hostility and less marital warmth and supportiveness.”

Less marital warmth and supportiveness. Again to clarify; If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. I suppose the same can be said for Papa.

Of course, if you can get that crappy boss and stressful workload early enough in your marriage, it could be theoretically possible that you would then avoid the issue of dealing with crappy children, since the absence of intimacy would preclude the development of same. But then again, I am not a researcher or specialist on the subject.

The point is, if you are a jerk, or a crappy boss, you are affecting more than just the plebes under your direct command.  You are likely making their spouses unhappy, and causing their children to poop on my doorstep. Please stop doing that.

I know that responsible employers will want to understand this issue and act to avoid this problem. Now, before you develop a management evaluation survey that asks your employees to rate their sex lives anywhere between “One and Hoochie Mama”, you will want to recognize that these are sensitive topics best to avoid in the annual office census. Perhaps you should just evaluate processes and workloads in the office, and treat everyone with respect for a little while. It will impact not just your workplace, but the lives of those dependent on your workforce.

Everyone deserves to have the opportunity to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect. All of your employees will appreciate it. Even the really stupid ones.


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