What Keeps You Up at Night?

Regardless of the state of the world outside your organization, when you are at work, you still have to deal with the everyday problems of your job—and those problems vary widely, depending on your business and your personal situation. Figure A shows a summary of the responses to our question, "What are the professional issues that keep you up at night?" We got an amazing variety of answers. Personal problems that respondents deal with at work often interrupt their sleep. For example, even in these days of careful HR scrutiny, five respondents reported that they still deal with problems of discrimination based on gender, race, religion, and health. One person noted that homophobia was a problem at work. And one person even reported lying awake "wondering if I'll be the boss's punching bag today."

Job-related problems that respondents said rob them of sleep include keeping skills current, dealing with changing management strategies, ineffective leadership from senior management, outsourcing and other organizational changes, data processing and backup problems, and being given increased responsibility without authority. Practical matters such as commutes and rising healthcare costs also give respondents a nighttime jolt.

Although the types of reported problems vary based on individual situations, respondents did tell us that they have some problems in common. Figure B gives you a look at the top 10 most pressing work problems our survey revealed.

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