Taking a vacation job means more bad days for those who returned to work, study says

Most of us will take a bad day at work in a day or two. But for people who return to work from a job that has been cancelled or postponed, they endure a lot more bad days, according to a new study from the American Psychological Association. The study, entitled Workplace Return to Normalcy and Reward Evaluation, found that those who took a job that was canceled or postponed reported having 16 to 30 percent more bad days in the next month than people who returned to work that same day.

Those who didn’t take a job, on the other hand, reported less than 1 percent more bad days.

The study was based on a survey of 1,261 employees, each of whom had worked for at least one company in the preceding 12 months.

The data shows that employees who take a job or event that has been postponed or canceled — especially if the work in question involves adults working in the home, such as in child care or home health care — tend to have negative emotions and poor emotional self-control, said Patrick Fagan, an associate psychology professor at DePaul University and one of the study’s authors.

“Taking a job on vacation is really complicated,” he said. “For most people, the inconvenience is worth something that the job provides. The drawback is you get locked into taking the job, and then it can take a toll over time.”

Fagan also noted that the findings strongly suggest that it’s a good idea for employers to not reschedule or cancel jobs and events that are considered essential to the business. Though canceling a job that affects people in home care is not always a good idea, he noted, closing a temporary clinic and leaving a child care worker to fend for herself is certainly not a good decision, either.

“This is really a good reminder for employers not to reschedule jobs that have been called for,” he said. “While it’s certainly human nature to want to recover as quickly as possible, it’s important to remember that sometimes businesses have no choice. Employees should take time to find out more about the affected events before resuming work.”

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