New Study Finds the Top Reason Americans Are Stressed at Work Is Unclear Goals

Nope, it's not that 60-hour work week.

If you were to make a list of all the things that made you stressed at work, you'd probably need an entire notebook. With catty co-workers, difficult bosses, and long hours, work is a huge source of anxiety for Americans. But, based on new research from search platform Comparably, there is one work stressor that prevails above the rest, and it's probably not what you think.

Comparably polled nearly 21,000 Americans of all ages, professions, educational backgrounds, ethnicities, and experience levels at small, mid-size, and large companies. They asked the participants six questions about their job anxieties, and found that having unclear goals was what the majority of people listed as their main source of stress at work.

A staggering 41 percent of Americans cited unclear goals as the main reason they're stressed at work, according to the Comparably poll. Meanwhile, 16 percent of workers get anxious over their commute or bad boss (a tie for the second biggest work stressor). And in third place, 13 percent of participants said long hours are their top source of anxiety.

When the results of the survey were split by gender, having unclear goals was still the top cause of stress. However, men seemed to be slightly more anxious about a lack of clarity (43 percent) than women (37 percent).

Comparably also asked participants about their biggest work concerns. Almost half of all respondents said they fear that their job will become tedious and stagnant, even more so than they fear getting passed up for a promotion, having an emotional breakdown, or upsetting their boss. This concern is most prevalent among executives, where 62 percent of respondents listed it as their top concern.

Now that there's statistical proof that you're hardly the only one feeling stressed at work, what can you do to help yourself? Of course, finding a healthy work-life balance is always a good place to start. And when you feel like you're about to explode at your desk, you can also try these 10 Workplace Stress-Busters.

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