In these tough economic times, it may be tempting to accept any job that comes along. Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) places the country’s unemployment rate at 26,5 %, which means a job is a luxury for some. Sean Hughes, owner of The Recruitment Agency South Africa, says given the current climate, many people will take the first thing that comes along.
“People are desperate for jobs at the moment and the reason for that is our economy. We don’t have job creation at the moment; we’re losing jobs,” he says.
However, such desperation can land you in a company that’s nothing like what you thought it would be, which could make you frustrated and stressed. Extreme work stress can cause several serious health issues. Research done in 2015 by Harvard and Stanford’s business schools in America found that toxic work environments contribute to at least 120 000 deaths a year. Long hours, job insecurity and a lack of work-life balance are factors that contribute to an undesirable work environment.
And it costs the economy. In 2012, The People Element reported that “R3 billion a year” was lost in South Africa due to stress in the workplace. Extreme stress can lead to depression, anxiety and even heart disease.
Before signing on the dotted line, Hughes suggests doing your research on the company culture. Go online to find out as much as you can about the company. He also suggests speaking directly to the workers. “In the interview, say to the manager: ‘Can I speak to the people on the floor?’ Then ask them: ‘How do you find the job here?’
Entrepreneur suggests asking former or current employees about the workload, communication practices, how policies are implemented and whether or not there’s disgruntlement among employees.
Make sure you’ve read your contract thoroughly before signing, Hughes says. Understand what’s expected of you, your working hours, your lunch hour and the amount of notice you need to give, among other things. This way you have something to work against.
“Don’t just sign the contract because you’re desperate for a job. Take the contract home and read over it. If you don’t want to work every weekend, go back to them and say: ‘I am not happy working over the weekend because I have a child’, or whatever the case might be.”
Extra sources: Entrepreneur, People Element, Stanford Business School