‘Work related stress already costs Britain 10.4 million working days per year’ – Mental Health Foundation, Work-life balance
It’s tough finding a job that you really love. Many of us may be working through life in a steady position we’re “content” with.
According to Neil Howe (economist) quoted in this Lifehacker article, ‘only 5% of people pick the right job on the first try’. That’s a lot of us sticking with something that’s not the right job.
Chopping and changing jobs isn’t easy though. We all have economic commitments. We might have a family to support. We might have loans to repay. We might have rent.
On top of that, shifting around too frequently can reflect negatively too. Do we have commitment issues? Are we flaky and lazy? Do we cause problems between employees?
There can be different reasons we do or don’t like our job. Are you happy with your job? over at LinkedIn clearly and concisely gives the major elements.
All this aside, there are times when keeping a job simply isn’t an option. You’ve got to move on.
I found myself in this situation when teaching. It all got too much on more than one occasion. I’d trained in it, stuck with one job over a year before leaving, only to give it another shot for a few months. Ultimately I was signed off with stress and panic disorder.
That was the end of that career.
It was also the catalyst for a new job search, and I’m so glad I had that push.
But before you get to that point, consider the following 9 signs that your work is ruining your life. You might have all the signs, or you might experience just one. Do take action sooner rather than later though!
(1) Lack of enthusiasm
I don’t just mean at work. When work is getting us down, it can flood over into other aspects of our life. The Mental Health Foundation states that ‘more than 40% of employees are neglecting other aspects of their life because of work’.
I love to cook, bake, garden – but I found myself neglecting these a lot. Panic disorder then put a stop to much of my socialising, especially if out in town or further afield.
(2) Lack of non-work time
Even if we have enthusiasm for hobbies and sports still, it could be our job is leaving us with little free time. Is there a lot to take home for completion? Or maybe we can’t stop thinking about tasks waiting for us tomorrow.
Teaching saw me leaving school to an evening of planning and marking, followed by a night of dreading seeing my most badly behaved classes. Not good.
(3) Unhappiness with ourselves
When work begins to get us down, it’s easy to get down on ourselves too. This can be dislike of our physique (I’m too fat, I’m too weedy, I’m ugly) or we can loathe aspects of our mind (no one likes me, I’m weak, I’m disorganised).
(4) Appetite issues
When we begin to get depressed and stressed, our appetite might grow (think comfort eating!), we bloat and we get heavier.
Alternately it might take a nose-dive and we risk losing too much weight and lacking in energy.
This can begin to feed into point number three very quickly, too.
(5) Alcohol excess
I definitely fell foul of this one for a few months. There’s that idea, after all, that teachers can be found at the end of each week filling the bottle bank…
It’s all too easy to turn to the dulling nature of alcohol every night. All problems melt away… Until the next morning when they’re still there, joined now by dehydration and perhaps a headache…
(6) Failing relationships
By failing I mean that we’re not getting on well with people around us. It could just be with colleagues who are getting on our last nerve. It could also, sadly, be with friends and family who we really need to take our minds off things, support us and love us.
Like they always say, you hurt the one’s you love. It’s those people who are on the receiving end of our painful outbursts normally.
(7) The torture of bed
We can spend hours in here avoiding the world outside. Throwing a sickie and passing the day bed-bound becomes more and more tempting…
But most tortuously, when in our beds, we might find we can’t sleep because the anxiety and mental anguish are too strong.
I used to get to sleep well (maybe the stress had worn me out), but I’d wake up again two or more hours before I had to for work. Then I’d dwell on everything that could (in my mind would) go wrong this day.
Not a great way to start the day!
(8) Lack of vision
I’m all for living for the moment and the present is a gift. However, being really stressed and unhappy with work can leave us with no vision for the future. We all need hopes and dreams.
Many speak of having a “five-year plan”. If work is that bad, we might struggle to have a five hour one. Just surviving another eight hour workday can be a grind.
(9) Self-harming or suicidal thoughts
This is a biggie. It’s a truly horrific consequence of hating our job. But it happens. At my lowest I would consider driving my car into a wall to get out of work. Just seconds. And at those points I realised how much I was “stuck” in the wrong career.
On average, we Brits work 36.5 hours a week – even more for just full-timers. ‘Within your lifetime, you’ll spend roughly 90,000 hours at work’ says the author of this article at BrazenBlog. That’s far too much of life to spend deeply depressed, suffering the things listed above.
If you’re in this position, there are different things you can do, but the main two acts are to share your suffering with people you trust and to begin looking into another line of work. If things don’t feel too desperate just yet, you might want to consider working on your work-life balance first (see here and here).
I’ll be looking next week at what we can do to make the move from a job we dislike into a new career. Until then, why not subscribe to Settlementality on Bloglovin or WordPress, or follow me on Twitter, Google+ or Instagram to keep up-to-date? =)