In the course of an unstressed Saturday in which I polished the faithful Passat [now at 147000 miles], I found myself reading the surprising information that it is Librarians who experience the highest levels of work-related stress – stress being related to the amount of control one has over one’s work and various other factors. Clergy, of course, are privileged in that way – having considerable freedom to shape their own working lives. But stress is a sort of preoccupation among clergy – maybe we feel that we shouldn’t experience it because we should be ‘taking it to the Lord in prayer’. I still believe in the Rectory system – but in my personal experience the greatest source of personal and family stress in ministry is rooted in the fact that you live in a house which you don’t own or control. There’s no magic in owning a house – but living in a tied house makes you very vulnerable. And while I am at it, other sources of stress are dealing with multiple, conflicting [and undeclared] expectations – and the lack of clear boundaries between work and not-work.
And finally, in the course of my idle researches, I was reminded of the issue of bullying
People can say what they want and you can’t respond in kind. But if you can’t deal with it, it grows and grows.