Your Boss or Your Life?


Your boss may have more impact on your health than your doctor. We spend more time at work than we do in most of our relationships: Maybe we should date our Bosses before working for them?


Okay, reverse that one.

Think about it this way: Why is it that we can take years to decide whether we are a good match for a potential spouse or partner, but we invest very little time considering whether we are a good match with our Boss?

Maybe if we invested more time evaluating the Boss-Selfie relationship, we could reduce our headaches, our heartburn and maybe even our heart attacks? For some of us, we may not have a choice because we have inherited a boss that is not a good fit.

According to an article by Marie-Josée Shaar, titled “A Good Boss or A Good Doctor: Which Matters More?” she discusses that a mis-match with our Boss or our career can result in:

  • Higher stress and anxiety.
  • Increased cortisol levels in the body.
  • Insomnia, increased appetite, weight gain, a weakened immune function, an impaired cardiovascular system, and accelerated brain cell loss.
  • Emotionally checking out of our work or avoiding our Boss won’t change things. As engagement at work go down, cholesterol and triglycerides tend to rise.

Shaar recommends asking yourself a question: “Do you enjoy going to work everyday?” She says that this may be one of the most important health questions you could ask yourself.

“Career wellbeing might be one of the most important priorities to consider for maintaining good health over the years,” say Tom Rath and Jim Harter, authors of Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements.

She gives a few keys to improving your physical health and your career health:

  • Focus on your strengths. When we use more of our strengths at work, we are three times as likely to feel that we have an excellent quality of life.
  • Work on your relationship with your immediate Supervisor. Your relationship with your boss can set the tone for your emotional, mental and physical health. Working to improve the relationship can give you an untaxable paycheck deposited in your wellbeing.
  • Move on or Move yourself out. If that won’t work, you may need to find another workplace or begin working for yourself in a “side hustle” at nights or on weekends.

“Like it or not, your boss is either helping or hindering your health big time. Working with a good boss could be even more important than choosing the ideal doctor… “

Marie-Josée Shaar

Keep it Real

Photo: Sean MacEntee


Shaar, M.J. & Britton, K. (2011). Smarts and Stamina: The Busy Person’s Guide to Optimal Health and Performance. Philadelphia, PA: Positive Psychology Press.

Rath, T. & Harter, J. (2010). Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements. Gallup Press.

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