Getting a new job is always nerve-wracking and frazzling, but I was pretty excited about this one. Yeah, I was leaving a job I loved… but I cut my commute in half, made more money, and the job had pretty good benefits and room for advancement… sounds great, right?
I hated the job so much. The environment wasn’t a good fit for me, and neither were my main responsibilities. I kept trying to push through it, telling myself that I simply wasn’t used to a new environment after almost 5 years at my previous job, and with time it would all fall into place eventually. But it actually got worse, and my mental and physical health started to deteriorate.
I think a lot of us just push through jobs we hate because we feel like they’re a great opportunity, because job-searching is a pain, because we think when we’re young our jobs are “supposed” to be horrible, etc. I also feel like a lot of people don’t know their jobs are sucking the life out of them. That’s why I created this list, so maybe it can help you figure out if your job is negatively affecting you. Or maybe you already know your job is making you unhappy, and you need validation that you aren’t alone.
10 Telltale Signs Your Job is Making You Miserable
#1: You feel an overwhelming sense of dread when you have to go to work.
It’s totally normal to feel jittery if you have something major happening at work. But if you wake up and you immediately feel dread and panic on a regular day… no meetings, no presentations, no deadlines, no reports due…. you might hate your job more than you realize. Getting up and going to work probably isn’t going to feel amazing, but ideally you should be at least okay with it and not wanting to freak out right after that alarm clock goes off.
#2. You are more irritable and short-tempered with your family and friends.
Your family and friends may notice a difference in your behavior. They notice you’re more distant or irritable, or that the only thing you talk about is your job. You can’t have a conversation with anyone without somehow derailing it back to work. Or maybe its you who notices a difference in how you’re treating others.
When I was at a particularly unhealthy point, I was leaving for work and I dropped my keys, then proceeded to snap at my boyfriend… like it was somehow his fault! What was actually happening is that I was in a super horrible mood because I had to go to work at a job I hated.
#3. Your job performance is suffering, and you know you aren’t producing your best work.
Maybe your boss is giving you harsher feedback lately, or you just had a performance review that wasn’t so hot. Perhaps poor feedback has even been coming from clients or coworkers. Or maybe no one else has said anything, but YOU aren’t satisfied with the work you’re producing.
In my situation, I felt like I was too exhausted from my dislike of the job to give it my best shot, which wasn’t fair to my bosses or coworkers… or myself. I was never proud of anything I was producing or any of my ideas.
#4. You are distant from your coworkers, especially those you were once close to.
You used to go to lunch with your coworkers, or you always had a spot at a table where you’d all eat together in the break room. Perhaps you even went out with your coworkers after work for drinks or to see a movie. But now you eat in your car, or you purposely take lunch at an awkward time to avoid talking to anyone. If you’re distancing yourself from your coworkers, you may subconsciously be trying to distance yourself from the job itself.
#5. You cry a lot, especially at work.
When I was working at the job I enjoyed, I’d cry sometimes just because I am an emotional person who cries after or during particularly difficult days. But if you’re crying at work multiple times a week, before work or even after work, that’s not healthy.
You may not even be aware how often you’re crying. I had to make a tracker for my moods on my phone before I realized I was crying before or at work more than ten days out of each month. That’s excessive, even if you are an emotional person like me.
#6. You are scared to ask for help at work when you need it.
So this one borders onto a toxic work environment, which is a post for another day. No matter how long you’ve worked somewhere, you will eventually need some help in some way. You might need help with a new computer program or new technology in general. Maybe you’ll have to start sending reports in a different format. Maybe you’re totally new at your job and you aren’t sure how to reach your full potential.
You should feel like you can ask for help at any time without feeling guilty or ridiculed for doing so. If you’re afraid to ask for help when you need it, or there’s only a small percentage of people trust, you might be in an unhealthy environment, which can make you miserable if things don’t change.
#7. You have increased difficulty leaving work at work, especially if your work doesn’t involve you to take anything home.
You are so worried about those emails piling up in your inbox that you can’t enjoy dinner with old friends. Sales goals and deadlines fill your mind, instead of good conversation and pleasant company.
I didn’t go out much when I was working at the job I hated, but when I did I could never fully enjoy the experience. Work was always at the back of my mind. I almost never brought any work home with me, and yet it always lingered when I was trying to relax.
#8. You are constantly tired, even if you’re sleeping too much or too little. No matter how much you sleep, it is never enough.
You oversleep on your days off, and don’t get enough sleep throughout the work week. No matter what, you’re tired! Even if you try to go to bed early for once, it doesn’t work!
If you have a lot of anxiety about your job, even if you’re unaware of it, it will affect your body. When we’re stressed or anxious, our muscles contract and we carry that tension with us, especially in the neck, shoulders, and back. Also, anxiety tends to make it more difficult to maintain restful sleep.
I’ve had anxiety for as long as I can remember, and I’ve always had trouble falling asleep, so this one didn’t click for me until after I quit. When I started working at the job I hated, my commute was 20 minutes instead of 45, my work week never went over 40 hours, and I was logging fewer steps… but I was EXHAUSTED, constantly! I was so much more tired than I ever was at the job I enjoyed, even though it took up more of my time.
#9. You don’t take care of yourself like you used to.
This one may not apply in the same way to everyone, and I want to avoid making generalizations or blanket statements here, so for this one I’ll let my experience speak for itself.
Instead of eating breakfast at home and packing my lunch, I started spending roughly $12 on food almost every day… which is not something I had done, ever, since entering the full-time workforce. I went from drinking over two liters of water a day to drinking none. Instead of going grocery shopping every Sunday, I put it off until I couldn’t anymore. I could go on. The takeaway here is that I no longer had the energy for my established routines, as a direct result of the job I was miserable at.
#10. You rely on some sort of potentially unhealthy comfort mechanism to get you throughout the day.
I used to stop at Dunkin’ Donuts every single morning before work for coffee and a breakfast sandwich. That isn’t inherently a bad thing… a girl’s gotta eat, and lots of people use coffee to get themselves going.
The problem was is that it became a ritual I needed to perform before I could go into work. It was never about waking up and starting the day with coffee and nutritious food. It was driving in the opposite direction to get my favorite coffee so that I could enjoy something before going to work, where I’d inevitably be upset. I noticed a difference in my mood if I didn’t do this, to the point where it became an unhealthy coping mechanism.
For example… one morning, I didn’t have time to wait in the drive through because there was a delivery truck blocking the way, and everyone from the drive through had gone inside… so I cried. Yes, I cried over $3 coffee because I couldn’t handle going into work without it.
So if these resonated with you, and you’re starting to realize maybe you really are super miserable at your job… what now? Do you quit? How/when do you quit? That’s up to you, and will depend on your unique situation.
For me personally, I was so miserable that I knew I wouldn’t perform well in job interviews. I didn’t have enough paid time off to take off or leave work early for interviews, and my resume was in serious need of revision that I didn’t have the mental capacity to do. Plus, I also wanted to make sure I didn’t just take the first job that came along out of desperation. After a lot of consideration and analyzing my financial situation, I decided to quit first before finding another job.
Not everyone has the financial ability to do this, and if it had been a few years prior I wouldn’t have either. That isn’t going to be the option for everyone, and I strongly feel you should analyze your financial situation before making a move like that. It isn’t something to be taken lightly. I knew I wanted to quit that job four months before I actually did. If you don’t have the financial means to just quit, make a plan that works for you so you can get out of there as soon as you can.
Have you ever had a job that made you miserable? Are you working on getting out of a bad work situation? Let me know in the comments!
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