How Hating Your Career Hurts Your Health
Picture this scenario: You get up in the mornings during the weekday, miserable. You trudge to work in what is usually a cramped commute, and finally arrive at your place of business. You sit for eight to nine hours staring at your computer, kind of productive, but not really, and you’re irritable — more so than usual. Your thoughts wander and the thought of walking into your boss’s office and pulling an Edward Norton move, circa Fight Club, doesn’t sound like that bad of an idea. You think to yourself: What happened to that desire of mine to be the next great American novelist? How did I get here? I’m doing something that doesn’t quite tap into my gut, leaving me with an empty feeling, and a thirst I cannot quite quench. This is called making a living, but it’s also called hating your job.
Begin to realize that hating your job is actually a positive thing, meant to move you forward and drive you toward something that maybe you were meant to do but had been denying out of fear; perhaps your true passions lie elsewhere but are not initially as profitable as, let’s say, your law career. That shouldn’t deter you. What’s the point though, if you’re miserable? You have to ask yourself one very important question, which the New Yorker hit right on the head with this political cartoon: What do you want to be when you give up?
Hopefully this question has resonated with you, pushing you to make a change. If your answer to that question is the career that you’re in, then maybe it’s time for a change. If anything, this honest question hopefully made you think about what you really want from life and your current life’s work.
Although a career change will be no easy feat, when it’s all said and done and you’re living a more fulfilling life tackling your work with passion, not only will you feel like you’ll never work another day in your life, but you’ll be so much happier and it will spill into all facets of your life.
Terri Hockett agrees. The CEO of the career site What’s For Work? says that some employees know when it’s time for change “because they reflect on a regular basis to ensure their job aligns with their long-term goals.” A great indicator of a career change is if the two are not on track. If they aren’t, it’s important to keep making adjustments until both are aligned.
Here are six negative ways hating your job impacts you. If you’re experiencing any of them, it may be time to consider a career change.
1. It makes you miserable
According to 2014 data, life expectancy in America is 78.6 years. Keep in mind average life expectancy and then think about this: the average American works 40 hours a week from ages 20 to 65, and then realize, after careful calculation, that you will work an average of 10.3 years in your life.
As we get older everything becomes about time, even if you don’t think about it or realize it. But once you start to realize it, you will not want to waste another minute being miserable doing something you hate. The numbers don’t lie and life is just too damn short to hate what you do.
2. Lost sense of self and self worth
This is when you start to feel like an office drone (see Office Space), and the monotony of the everyday has psychologically lowered your feeling of worth, as well as your place in society. You also don’t feel the way you used to, especially if your lack of desire and enthusiasm for the job has diminished. You may also feel a lost sense of worth if management is not acknowledging that you have more to offer, signaling little opportunity for growth or promotion.
3. You have a hard time envisioning the future
What are your long-term career goals? Do you see yourself in this career or at least in a sector of this profession? If you are unhappy and not tied down by too much obligation, such as having to support a family, now is the best time to explore another career path, so you can find a job that truly makes you happy.
4. Untapped desire
“You’re not waking up most mornings with a feeling of excitement towards your job,” Hockett says. You feel like a fire has died inside of you, and the sense of all the possibilities that lie ahead and the sense of glee that comes with it is gone. It could be time for either a job change or career change, but this is a decision that only you can make. National workplace expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job, Lynn Taylor says that if you’re not doing what you love, then you will never tap into your true potential. One of the hardest things to accept, as you get older, is that you always wanted to do something else but were never able to pull the trigger and actually do it. There are few worse things than not living up to your full potential as a human being.
5. You feel physically ill
“The work, people, or culture is unhealthy, and it has a negative impact on you physically and mentally,” Hockett says. Also take into account the stress of you not wanting to be there. Unhappiness and stress can affect your health in ways that you couldn’t imagine — physically and mentally. It’s time to get out.
6. It has affected your relationships
If your career unhappiness has spilled over into your personal life to such a degree that it has caused your relationship to terminate, that is a huge indicator that you need to get out now. Your family and friends will be affected by this too, not only seeing you miserable but employing displaced anger when you communicate with them.