Sooner or later depression forces you to make changes in your worklife. If adapting at your present job doesn’t help, then it’s probably time to look at other possibilities. However difficult, impractical or even impossible the alternatives might seem, it’s worth considering what else you could do.
This post looks at three strategies that could help you manage depression by changing your work situation: frequent job changes, getting out of a toxic work environment, or changing the type of work you do. These are a few ideas to help you come up with your own solution. At the least, they might help you ask the right questions about what you want and need.
1. Moving from Job to Job
Many people have learned to handle depression by shifting jobs frequently. Their experience tells them that if they try to stay with one job too long, the limits imposed by their illness will undermine performance and probably lead to their being fired anyway. They need full-time employment, and this way they avoid having a job history with a long string of dismissals.
Others know they can’t handle the stress and social interaction of a steady job. Doing temporary work that moves them from one short-term assignment to another is one solution. Finding a way to earn money from home could be another. However they manage, they’ve adapted, in many cases, to earning just enough money to get by.
You might well feel that this approach carries too much uncertainty for you. Or perhaps you need to have steadier work to feel like your doing something productive with your life. If that’s the case, but you can’t deal with your present job, you could look at the work environment you’re in every day. That could be a major problem.
2. Finding a Better Work Environment
A damaging work environment that overloads you with work and high stress is getting to be the norm. Surveys report 40-50% of US workers work under high stress and need help learning how to manage it. Stress is linked to many health problems, including depression. If you have severe and recurrent depression, a toxic workplace will only intensify your illness.
As Tony Giordano describes his experience in It’s Not All In Your Head, his workplace had become punishing, abusive and unfair. He faced a combination of impossible deadlines, job insecurity, backbiting among workers fearing for their jobs and managers taking out their own shortcomings on staff. Combined with depression, these conditions gradually undermined his ability to function.
If you’re trying to manage a job in a workplace like that, while also living with major depression, you could run the risk of a collapse like the one Giordano went through. You may have to find a better work environment, hard as it is to find one, just to keep going.
But if these strategies don’t help, maybe it’s time to look at the type of work that you’ve been doing.
3. Changing Your Work, Changing Your Life
It’s not easy to figure out if the work you know best and have been doing for a long time is actually making your illness worse. In the midst of severe depression, it can be impossible to function well in any occupation. After the worst is over, however, you may be able to return to your job or profession and be as effective as before. Hopefully, you would also find it just as fulfilling and rewarding as it has always been.
But it could be that any progress you make in treatment is lost as soon as you get back to your familiar work. After trying other strategies, you may realize that the problem is not about employers or clients, not about the atmosphere of the workplace, or the number of hours you put in each day or anything else in the conditions of your work. It must be something about the work itself that is worsening depression and generally undermining your well-being.
Barriers to Change
Personal Investment: That’s a conclusion, though, that you might resist and avoid for years because you have so much invested in doing this particular type of work well. Admitting that it’s become impossible to pursue might seem like a terrible defeat, a surrender to the illness.
Financial Risk: You ask yourself: How else could you possibly earn a living? There’s no way you could swing it financially. You can’t afford to lose your income, even for a few months. You’re sure that it’s totally impractical, nothing but dreaming.
Depressed Thinking: When depressed, you probably have trouble making any decision, let alone one about changing the life you now lead. You also tend to underestimate yourself. You may be convinced you’re not talented enough to do anything else, even an occupation you’d always hoped you could do.
You may feel too empty and lacking in energy to make the effort. Depressed thinking is also telling you that there’s no point in trying since you’d probably fail. You’re convinced you couldn’t learn new skills, especially if it means going back to school or enrolling in a more limited training program.
In the end, even if all these thoughts and beliefs win out, you have still made a choice – to do nothing. For many years, I couldn’t get around obstacles like these. Staying with it, however, ultimately led to a collapse in my ability to function. Doing nothing was no longer a choice. Like it or not, I had to take the leap.
Temporary Work: The problem is that the longer you wait to take action, the fewer alternatives you have. At that point, you may have to take the first job you can find, often at low pay. You might try the strategy of frequent job shifting or relying on temporary work. Or, if depression is too severe, or other opportunities too limited, you might need to get out of the workforce altogether.
Leaving the Workforce: If you’re fortunate, you might have a retirement option or a good severance package from your last job. If you work for a large company or public agency, they might offer an early retirement incentive as they try to reduce the workforce. Or you might qualify for a disability pension – either from an employer or from Social Security.
Planning Ahead: If you give yourself enough lead time, you could plan ahead with the help of a therapist who specializes in transitions of this type. I think it’s important to consult with someone who has a good grasp of the possibilities. The more depressed you are, the more help you need to open your thinking to new possibilities, identify the skills you have, and focus on the practical possibilities of finding more fulfilling and less stressful work.
There’s no formula for this and no easy way to do it. But you may have to make such a major change to manage depression. It’s a matter of balancing practical needs with the more basic ones of regaining health, saving relationships, perhaps even staying alive.
Have you had to make changes in your worklife to adapt to depression? What strategies have you tried, and how much have they helped? Have you been able to deal with the financial problem? Are there barriers that still stand in your way?
Image by oedipusphinx at Flickr
company environment is good. but i came to the point where i don’t to talk to anyone in and i don’t feel like coming to office.all day and nights i think about changing my job and cried each night . But company is paying me good and have only 1 year experience
I started a new job 3 months ago , and this involved relocating with my family. I have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety as I cannot stand the new job and feel lonely . I miss the familiarity of my surroundings and this job is requiring more than I can give , I have constant body aches, panic attacks as I cannot stand the environment , you see I went back to an environment I swore I was done with , out of desperation I went back and now feel I am stuck . It’s like getting back with an ex boyfriend and then realizing a few months in the reasons why you broke up in the first place.
I feel ungreatful for this job as I prayed for a new job due to my family relocation but it’s not what I want , why don’t i honour myself, why don’t I ever choose me , why do I always put others’ needs before mine . I am also afraid to leave this job because an old boss who is now a senior leader afforded me this opportunity , I don’t want to let her down but I am unhappy , I cannot
I’m depressed because I am 34 and I have never chosen me , I’ve lived for others and I feel empty , feel like an empty shell, my life has always been to do for others but I don’t even know myself right now or what I want. Please help em I feel I am in this deep whole and I dont know how to get out
John John says
This post is literally like something I am playing in my own head right now. Just wondering what happened and how everything played out. Would love to know how you dealt with this and strategies to cope
In my job I can’t do anything right. I work in the claims department at an insurance company and it is very stressfull. I got a verbal warning for a mistake I did not realize I was making and had been doing the step on other tasks without being told it was a mistake for a year. I am so depressed about the thought of going back to work each and every day, but I have no choice. I have been putting resumes out in order to find another job, but no how matter how hard I try to find another job, I have a feeling that it will be a long time before I find another job. On top of that, I have severe depression in which I take anti-depressents and anxiety medication and I also get migraines from stress and I am now on migraine preventative because I have been getting frequent migraines from the stress of my job and on top of that I don’t have the support of my family with the exception of one or two family members.
I have insomnia, depression and anxiety all because of the people at work. I am a good person and efficient at my job but i have been maligned by a few people at work to the point that everone thinks ill of me. Now they think im the problem and im the one with mental Issues. I work with special needs autistic kids and im very experienced and very good with what i do. But i work with old and inept or inexperienced people. So they find fault in everything i do. To the point of backbiting me and acusing me of horrible things. Nothing is true but in their eyes im doing horrible things . Easy to frame me because of the nature of my work. Im a target because they are the ones doing hocus pocus or are inept at their jobs and i am doing what’s right and proper. So i am in a fishbowl and an unfair target because im not like them. I dont work like them so i have to be pushed out. Gossip and backbiting is the name of the game. They are successful in making everyone think ill of me even the psychologists at work. So i really am swimming against tide here. Depression comes from the fact that i have never done anything wrong. I know that 100% . I am a good decent happy human being of sound mind and body. I could not even hurt a fly. I am mentally healthy and resilient yet for the past few jobs ive encountered so much hardship all because of women at work making false witnesses against me. People believe them because they are professionals and im the new girl and these people are in these jobs for the longest time. I realised false accusations can hold traction as long as majority believes it. It doesnt matter if you are innocent. People will think ill of you and this is mainly the cause of why i am hurting so much. The world is so unjust and Unfair. I dont know what tk do anymore. I feel like i lost and i dint know how to recover back my good reputation which i value so much.
I have almost the identical situation at my job! I’m in a union with a degree I cannot use. I’ve been framed for false doings as well! I am also “salary locked” meaning I can’t leave unless I take a drastic pay cut. So I can’t get out doing that either. I don’t relate to the others because like you I’m of sound mind and don’t want to cause mental harm to others. Diversity in our job means you can “sleep” on the job and not be reprimanded for it while I get more work on my plate. So unfair.
I usually don’t comment but right now i am feeling like an idiot , i don’t like my job my interest is in coding i am automation engineer and the work i am doing is all manual. no automation at all . company environment is good. but i came to the point where i don’t to talk to anyone in and i don’t feel like coming to office.all day and nights i think about changing my job and cried each night . But company is paying me good and have only 1 year experience . i don’t know where i go and what should i do. i am really depressed and tensed at this time . i had already let my manager know that i am interest in development i want to move in to dev. he din’t promise to me but i don’t know how much time he would take to do that or he would do or not i am really not sure. please suggest what i should do till that time?
I feel your pain. I saw your comments was few months ago, I hope by this stage you have come to a better ground.
You can still keep applying for other jobs while working in your current company, if nothing change. I know is hard, I have been doing the same too. But who knows?? At least we try, throw something out there, might got a chance of getting a better job, never try never know.
It is not easy, many times I wish there is a better solution or change that can shorten my unhappiness at work too. But on the other hand, I tell myself, if I can’t get out yet, treat it like a training, train my emotional, my abilities, my skill, my tolerance. These will be my strength, and will be my friend too.
I very much appreciated the article.
I am in a terrible workplace situation. I work with what I believe is a narcissistic bully. He has publicly insulted me, yelled at me, tried to take credit for my work, lied to my face and has gotten management to “test” me.
I dread every single day at work. Although he is just my editor and we are supposedly colleagues he treats me with almost daily disdain and makes my a living hell. But management is taken in by his obsequiousness. To most people he seems like a nice guy but even my co-workers have caught the occasional glimpse of his true nature.
He has gotten much worse in his treatment lately and today I took the step of telling my supervisor. I don’t even care if I am fired at this point…but I would hate to give him that satisfaction.
In nine years I haven’t cried until lately.
I wish I could leave but that is financially impossible as I am the sole support of five people. In addition I am an “older” and female worker. I am an excellent worker and my supervisor just last week said I was getting a raise as one of the company’s top performers. He reiterated that when I told him about the situation today (although I didn’t tell him exactly how awful it has become).
My family knows what I am going through and they are as supportive as can be expected but frankly, I think they are worried what would happen should I get fired or quit.
Work has become so intolerable that I am depressed by Friday that I have to work again on Monday.
I could deal with the ever-increasing workload (eight-ten articles a day plus editing five-ten more) but this situation only becomes more miserable. He constantly criticizes me, expects me to respond to his 20-30 emails per day instantly and sets the bar ever higher. As a family member said, “You can’t do anything right with that guy.”
I don’t expect constant praise nor do I expect any praise. I just want to do my work without an ever-present sense of doom as he manipulates others and tries to make me leave. I have never been anything but civil to him but a co-worker told me he is very jealous of me and to be honest, he treats me even worse after I have received any recognition from his superiors.
This is, no question, the worst work situation I have ever endured and I have had terrible bosses and co-workers like most of us have, but nothing like this. I am so depressed that I am finding it difficult to live the rest of my life and take pleasure in my family and friends.
It helps to write this down. I feel a little calmer already.
I am keeping a record of his abusive and insulting emails as well as documenting the incidents of harassment should I need it.
Anna, I feel like I could have written your post. I also work with a bully and, although the situation is different, the stress is very much the same. I sometimes feel like everyone has been fooled the way I was when I first started working with him. On the surface, he seems like an affable guy who is just trying to have a “healthy” work-life balance. But over time, the more you work with him, the more you see how very little work he actually does – and how very much he takes advantage of his support staff. He complains about his support staff behind their backs – to each other, in many cases. He complains about his bosses to his staff. And, worst of all, he LIES to support staff about his expectations. At best, he is a lousy communicator and an even worse manager. But at worst, he is dishonest and manipulative. Having to come to a job dealing with this jacka$$ is beyond stressful. Many times, I wonder how long it would take to get onto SSI or SSDI, rather than have to deal with him on a daily basis.
I’ve tried to find work elsewhere, but my particular field is *very* tight-knit. All it takes is one person at one firm who recognizes the name of the firm I’m at, who then calls someone they know at this firm, and then POOF… job opportunity gone. They’re not supposed to black ball people but, if anyone can find a loop hole to do so, lawyers sure as hell can.
What you’re doing – keeping a record of his abuse and documenting the hostile work environment – is exactly what I started doing. If nothing else, it serves as a reminder to me on those days when I lose perspective and start to think that it’s all in my head… then I imagine how I’d feel if a friend told me about the incidents I was documenting and I realize that it’s NOT all in my head. He’s really just an abusive slacker who would throw his own mother under a bus to save face, because he’s not smart enough to do the work or mature enough to take responsibility and be a true leader.
Anyway, I just wanted to say that your story is all too common so, while it may be little comfort, you’re not alone. I hope you can find another job – or at least an assignment to a different superior. Work isn’t always fun, but it shouldn’t be hazardous to one’s health – physical OR mental.
I’ve found relief from depression by taking on temp work. I can’t commit to anything without feeling depressed and this way you can accept contracts with the temp agency when you’re feeling well and not when you’re not. It would be better if I had a full-time job with benefits, but I know I couldn’t do that, so I do temp work.
I don’t usually comment on these things which is why I haven’t put my name as I feel a bit embarsssed/weird writing on here. In some ways it’s comforting to know I am not the only one in similar positions of being depressed and hating their job but at the same time it worries me that their is so many people in my position. Makes me think I have no hope of ever escaping thus if it’s happening to so many people.
Long story short is I have been struggling with major depression/anxiety since I was 15, I am now 23. I don’t really have any education/qualifications. I left school after year 10 something I now regret. I have never really liked any of my jobs that much but have had a few friends at previous jobs which got me thru but even the ones I had friends at were horrible so I quit and went to another job thinking it would be better, things would be better and life would be better. I was wrong. Went to a receptionist job and it flared up my social anxiety, I was having massive breakdowns – crying everyday, no friends there and the job was so boring – no work to do so day went so slow. I wanted to die so after 5 months I resigned. Felt massive relief and I took about 10 months of work to get better as I was going through a major depression. I finally got another job and had been feeling really good before I started. I got an admin assistant role so was really happy not to be working in reception because of my social anxiety but less then a month being there I realized it’s a horrible place to work. It’s a toxic environment, everyone is negative and you can tell hate there job. I am scared of our boss because of what everyone has told me and he does have an aggressive nature about him which I’m not use to. I have now been here for over 2 months and oh my god I hate it so much. I’m back to feel so depressed. This job makes me want to kill myself. I feel like I’m always making mistakes and my manager is lovely on a personal level but to work for is just horrible. She gets stressed easily and takes it out on others and is very vocal when she is in a bad mood. I’m to scared to ask her things but there’s always lots I need to ask her because I’m still learning. She gets snappy really quickly and made me cry plenty. I dread work and even on weekends just thinking how much I don’t want to go back to work. I’m to scared to even ask her for a day of leave. I don’t know what to do. I have anxiety stacks and crying almost everyday, I have to hide in the bathroom till I calm down. I live at home so it’s not like I have bills and such but if I quit I have to deal with my family. Plus not going to lie it’s hard not having money. Plus my resume is already so butchered from taking 10 months of. It was hard enough to explain in interview why I took all this time of because unfortunately it’s not acceptable to say I had some mental health issues. I feel so depressed and back where I started. I feel like I’m always going to be depressed and unhappy and I’m trying to figure out the point if this is how it’s going to be. I just feel trapped and lost like i can’t do this life thing. I don’t feel smart enough to study anything either so I’ll always be in dead end jobs. I don’t know what to do.
I hope this helps and isn’t too preachy, I’m trying to be helpful and you sound like you want some to listen, I’m listening.
1) You are ok, don’t pressure yourself so much to be doing things like you “THINK” they should be. You are not doing things wrong or in a way that is wrong, so in essence, you have to accept that you are an emotional person and that’s ok. In fact, I think that’s a great quality in a person!
2) Bosses have issues in general. If you want to be a boss or a manager, it means you want to be in a position of power, that generally means, somewhere along the line, they felt (and still do feel powerless) so they take it out on you. The type of people that need to be in power… are exactly the type of people who feel like they NEED power. The fact they desire to prey on insecurity themself shows sociopathic tendencies.
3) And most importantly. Nothing anyone says to you… your boss, a king, your parents, me, is better than you. No matter what their training, their degree, what types of robes they are wearing, how tall they are, how beautiful they are, how smart they are. All of that is just BS people build themselves up with. You have all the gifts they have been given in life. Just explore your gifts and use them to find you own happiness.
peace and love my friend
Hi there. I am also depressed and my job makes it worst. I was recommended by my boss to another job to someone she knows very well. So, I had no choice but to say yes since it’s very hard for me to decide on immediate offers. I worked there for a month now, at first, it was just fine but as weeks passed I started to feel a bit bored and I don’t like what I’m doing anymore. It’s even hard for me to wake up in the morning especially when I know that I have to go to my job. Every day was so stressful that I wished I could not woke up in the morning. I can’t even say to my boss that I want to resign coz she was a friend of my other boss and she’s somehow nice. I just don’t like my job. I’m the type of person who always pleased others even if I sacrifice my happiness. I think I’m getting worse and worse. I thought it will help me overcome my deppression. I was wrong. I always feel that even my co workers hate me even if they do not tell me. I just feel that way.
I noticed your comments was few months ago, I hope things are a bit settle for you now.
I can relate to you as myself is also a type that’s very sensitive to others emotions, and many times, don’t want to upset others even though is causing me distress.
From a different perspective, as an outsider of your situation, I think is no harm of start finding another job, remember that you don’t owe your boss anything. Sometimes forcing yourself to stay in a position that you feel resentful, can damage the good relationship you currently have with your boss, as one suppress for long time, when is out of control, exploding… You can’t even control well what you will say during that time.
There are many reasons people change job, and sometimes not necessary is because of not getting along with colleague, boss etc. It could also be traveling, change of needs, monies etc. Thus, please don’t hold yourself back, thinking by changing another company will upset your boss.
As for your colleague, don’t try to guess what they feel or think. A lot of time, especially during stressful time, people can be misbehaving, after all, not everyone is good in EQ. As long as they don’t say it to your face, well, it never happens then!
in my experience, learn to be grateful, empathy and mindful could be beneficial in dealing with depression. These may also help to reduce the stress associated with thinking of changing jobs.
physically, I also found multi-day solo trekking (most times will meet other people on the trek) can greatly clear my mind and help for the recovery.
I have suffered from depression due to a toxic work environment. Before I had this job, I had issues, but working at this job has made it worse and I had to leave. I realized it was really the job not me. Previous to this job, I was a pretty happy person. I loved to socialize, talk on the phone, go to church, but after this job, I just felt depressed. I didn’t want to talk to anyone or do anything. When I tried to tell my mother and one of my best friends, they were convinced it was me, but my other co-workers have been feeling the same way.
Sounds like what I have going on. I have 3 college degrees in a field I don’t want to work in. I recently finished my Masters degree and finally entered the field I studied so long to be in, and I hate it. I was recently working a job that made me want to kill myself every day I went to it. It made my depression and anxiety levels sky rocket. I decided I didn’t want to keep doing the job, so I quit and moved across the country to be near my family. So now I’m living with my brother and I know I need to get a job, but everything sounds terrible to me. The jobs “in my field” all sound God awful. And everything else I see pays garbage or I am unqualified for. The thought of work makes me cringe. It seems like what I would enjoy doing is too far out of reach and I’m just stuck. So what options do I have? Seems like I have none. I’m extremely depressed and don’t really feel like doing anything at all, but I know I have to do something, so my anxiety is off the charts as well. This situation seems impossible to overcome.
At my company it doesn’t matter what your degree is in as long as you have one. If you’re under 40 you’re in for sure. All that matters is a GOOD ATTITUDE (even fake ones). Unfortunately it is just like being in high school.
High school would be nice, mine’s like 2nd grade at best.
I’ll add to this in saying that being at a company with a union makes it more worse, if that’s ok grammar. My company is on Nursery Road and I’m not kidding. Maryland has a road named nursery road. It’s exactly perfect for the way the company is run. They paid for my degree and refuse to look at me seriously. I only stay for the pay. Salary locked cause the jobs my degree are in don’t pay! And they won’t consider a lateral move. They are dead to me! Stuck in the crap. -Chris
Hello, my life has recently spiralled out of control. My mother passed away, and it subconsciously highlighted to me that I was really unhappy in my job. I have always struggled at finding a job I love, and have moved companies/jobs etc thinking this will make the difference and at times this has been fine. My current job isn’t high pressured so I thought it was good, but there is no clear direction in the company and projects just feel worthless and most people have little accountability to deliver. Then a recent restructure meant my boss that I liked was made redundant, then my new boss had no interaction for 7 weeks and the business is still directionless. I have now developed insomnia and am signed off work, however I know I don’t want to stay but am paralysed with fear of starting again. I am 41 but know I don’t want to go back into the city but also know I don’t have many other skills or projects that I could turn into a career. I just wanted to go away and travel, I guess escape from reality, but my husband is happy with his job and doesn’t want to. However I think I have to face facts that I am not well, but am worried I just spiralling down. I just never felt like this before. I just wondered if anyone had any similar experiences and found a way out.
Trudging Through says
Great article. I have struggled with severe and chronic depression ever since my early 20s. I am 30 now, so I guess it has been about 10 years. I have never made it more than a year in a job and I am afraid the trend is continuing, even now as I sit in a comfortable local municipal government job earning more than most of my former classmates from graduate school. Beginning my career as a nonprofit employment professional, I’ve always been more than aware of what these short stints are doing to the resume. Still, because I have always been a go-getter overachiever with a 4.0 GPA and many impressive experiences on the resume, I always end up being offered a particularly challenging position. For example, I recently applied for an entry-level position in my field and didn’t get it only to be offered a mid-level position a few months later (apparently I wasn’t the right fit for the entry-level position). I really did not want a high-stress position, which is why I had applied at entry level, actually a temporary position. Flattered and happy about the compensation, I took the job. The six months since the have been absolute hell. It did not help that I got into a car accident two and a half months in, injuring my neck and back. Now sitting at a desk all day is killing me. Prior to that, I had bicycled with my now husband 4,000 miles across Europe for six months. I had never felt so alive and in such great shape. Now the daily inactivity and isolation is just unbearable. I sit there just feeling my spine degenerate. In my mid-twenties, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease after experiencing increasingly declining health and I am sad to say I am no stranger to car accidents. Now my problem is two-fold. I am completely burned out from striving and striving for years with very little payoff AND I have a very in-the-present outlook given my health problems. It doesn’t help that I stuck in an environment I hate (moved here for my husband’s job) with very few of the activities that used the provide me with real joy (wilderness and adventures). I just feel so trapped. My husband is just starting his career (he is five years younger than I am), though he is a year and a half in. I hate to be the wet blanket, but I am not sure how much longer I can do this with no friends and family, lifestyle satisfaction, or job satisfaction. Basically, my husband and my cat are my only real source of happiness. I am not currently depressed (maybe just mildly), but I certainly feel myself going that way. I had promised myself I would never ever again do this whole put off happiness now for the future (I feel like I have been doing this my whole life), but practical considerations always seem to win the day. Still, if I lose my health, what would there be to live for? Anyway, sorry for rambling, but it has been so nice reading about everyone’s experiences here that I just had to contribute.
Thank you for sharing, this actually helped me get through my day. Sometimes I feel like giving up on work and being a stay at home mom. My son is 6yrs old and I have a sickly parent so that isn’t an option for me.
I can’t tell you how much it helped to see that someone is in a similar position as me, but I am so sorry for what you’re going through. I too am in a job where my performance is praised but which gives me zero satisfaction or desire to get out of bed in the morning. My husband is also 26 and five years younger than me and finishing up his PhD, so in the meantime we’re both stuck in a city that we don’t love, far from or loved ones and far from long-term stability. I’m actually American and he’s French and we both live in France so its a bit easier for him, but the cultural difference over the long term has left me feeling extremely isolated (self – imposed in part, granted). I miss everyone at home and I just wish I could feel happy about my overall lifestyle instead of only finding happiness in my husband. It’s not fair to him to have that much pressure, so I often have to hide the extent of my unhappiness. Sorry for the rambling, it’s just been a particularly difficult morning.
Serena, when I read your message I could not believe how relatable it is. I moved with my husband to his country 5 years ago. I have a pretty good work, people seem to like what I am doing, but I have zero satusfaction. The job gives me constant worries and depressed thoughts. In addition to that I really don’t feel like the country I am in is my home. Just doesn’t click. I feel isolated, feel powerless. I am completely apathetic of life around me and the only happy times are when I plan travels and actual traveling. I start thinking lately that maybe I have to change a profession, do something completely different from what I do now, but I really don’t know what… nothing looks like something that feels right doing.
There should be a job/career support forum for folks like us. I’m so frustrated with my new job and am pretty much socially isolated so I have nobody to talk to about it.
Got this job a month ago in an industry I’ve wanted to work in and the office is close to home. The position is underpaid but I figure the experience I gain will be a springboard to something better. The hours are nice, I like the work and my boss is not demanding.
So what’s the problem? Although I work in a room full of people, I am alone. My co-workers are all of a different generation than me and have extremely different values. They spend up to half the day loudly chatting and gossiping with each other. They have no filters and every seedy detail of their personal lives in shared in great detail. Not much work gets done and my supervisor, who is also very young, doesn’t seem to mind. I am virtually ignored and feel like the high school geek. To top it off, my glasses were stolen off my desk last week and it had to be one of them doing it as there is no public access to the office.
I have experienced workplace bullying before so I am trying not to be triggered. I’m trying to focus on the positive aspects of the job, it’s not all bad, but damn I feel so drained and depressed at the end of the day! Been drinking more to cope, which certainly doesn’t make things better. I can’t up and quit. I need to stop wallowing and invest in my job search. Experience has taught me that if I don’t fight these feelings of hopelessness, it will get worse.
Oh Bessie, I feel your pain. I feel very much like you do. 12 years until retirement and I’ve had a great job where I felt respected and I was able to associate well with others. That was until the boss brought in some nit wit that speaks off the cuff and thinks that all her ideas are earth shattering and she hasn’t a clue. Her degree isn’t even in business and she thinks she knows how to run a business. She’s morphed into the bosses right hand and the boss doesn’t seem to notice that she’s a divisive, hateful individual who has caused trouble in the workplace. I was once surrounded with professional individuals who honored and respected one another and now I am viewed as the “old dog” surrounded by chatty, “millennial” types who do nothing but gossip and make up fluff work and nothing important actually gets done anymore. Corners are cut, no one cares about accuracy or regulations, they don’t understand about reconciling anything or balancing accounts. Whatever is easy or fast is what they want to do. Like you, I feel so drained and depressed. I am too old to start over and too young to retire. So I figured that I just need to try to “start over” and am currently in the job market, but things don’t look good. I am above the salary level for my what my position pays out in the market, so if I make a move, it will be probably be at a lower salary. I have engaged a few executive recruiters and hope that something will come along. For now, all I can do is smile through it all and tolerate it, but that is becoming harder and harder to do. I am trying to focus my job search not on my background, but instead on what I am good at and have experience in. Instead of just going to the next job and do the same thing, I am trying to find something different where I can continue to learn and grow. I am at the mid to high management level, so I am trying to mold my career experiences into something applicable that is different from my Finance background. Operations, Human Resources, Administration, anything. I wish you luck. I know how hard it is. Try to find something good in every day and focus on the good and not the bad. Iain
How timely. I am 49 and have been working in a government job for the past 7 months. I really hate it. I came from a very challenging busy job in a company that was going through a lot of changes. There were two women who went out of their way to be nasty, but I did truly love my job. My boss wasn’t very supportive and the layoffs eventually made me find a new job because of talk if eventually closing the plant. I now have a very long commute and an unchallenging, boring job. I find myself getting very depressed and crying at my desk when I don’t have enough to do. I am trying to study for the CPA exam but I get discouraged so easily. I was so desperate to get out of this job that I accepted a worse job with lower pay. Fortunately they were willing to hire me back, and I pretty much said that I would stay for at least one to two years. But now I am finding myself back to square one, with now the inability to change jobs for at least one year. I put a countdown clock on my phone just to remind me it is only temporary. Sometimes I wonder if I should go on antidepressants just to get through this. I don’t fit in and nobody talks to me. At least at my old job I had people talking and saying hello. This place has been said to have a lot of drama, and I try to keep my head down and just be nice to everyone, but there are some who clearly don’t like me. I just don’t fit in, period. I have been trying to remind myself that I am blessed to have a job. But I so miss doing more challenging work. I am studying for the EA exam which is not as intense as the CPA, as I need a small victory, something to complete and make myself marketable during this year. I would really like to do freelance Bookkeeping. I am great at it and would love the autonomy. Thank you for listening. It helps to know that I am not crazy or alone.
Though we are in a bad situation, I feel a little relieved that there are other people who feel the way I do. I am young, 19, and I am currently in a job as an Office Staff. I accepted the job because I did not want to be a part of the unemployed population of new graduates. Also, I badly need to earn because my mom does not have a job and I have two younger brothers. My father passed away 2 years ago. However, as I observe my situation now, I feel like I have rushed my career really hard.
During my first week, I already felt irrelevant and at the same time, restless. There are days when I got really nothing to do and I would just have to read a book, learn a language, or surf the internet to pass the time. Lunch breaks are both heaven and hell. Heaven because I have survived the half of the day and hell because I would take my lunch crying and self-pitying. I hate it. I keep reading on the internet and most sites say that your first job most likely will not be the job that you have expected for yourself. True. But I can’t stop comparing myself with my batchmates who have decided to go to law school, or graduate school, or some of those who have already found bliss at their very first job. Though I have also decided to take teaching classes during weekends to have something to look forward to every week, and which will allow me to take the licensure exam for teachers next year, I still feel depressed. I can’t stop thinking about my accomplishments and learning way back in college that I cannot use in my profession right now. I feel so small, so useless.
I have been searching for a job, though, but there is no good news yet. I need to find a job. Because what’s most dreading is, even how much I want to leave the job, I should secure another one because I have to support my family financially. This makes me feel so trapped.
I have already talked to friends and even religious persons regarding my feeling and situation. Temporarily, I feel okay and I get the courage to be patient but when I am already in my workplace, I feel dreadful again.
I hope we all get through this. (This was a good outlet. I wrote the entire thing during my work hours. That’s how vacant [or useless] I am)
Zam, you are not useless!!! You are doing more than many your age. You are helping to support your family, working in a job because you need to. You ought to know that this takes an enormous amount of strength. Try to find peace during the quiet times at work when you have nothing to do. Find a way to improve yourself and create goals, even if small, for yourself. Celebrate the fact that you are only 19 and so mature and self sufficient!! Take time to discover who you are. You may feel trapped, but you are not. Also, do NOT compare yourself to others. Think of that quote from the beginning of The Great Gatsby: “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”
Know this, Zam: YOU are extraordinary. You are there for your family and the experiences you are going through now will only make you stronger, an inspiration to your siblings, and will make you more aware and empathetic to others. For now, do things that will empower you. Be OK with who you are and where you are in life. You are only 19!! And look how far you have come.
Take care, Zam. You are a great person.
You’ve been forced to grow up fast! I’m sorry to here about your dad! A lot of 19 year olds aren’t dealing with that. I lost mom and brother in the same year in 1996. And job jumping to keep a roof over my head so I get it. Thank you for sharing your situation with the rest of us! I’m in a similar job situation but the tech field. I’m 52 now and part of this problem for the older and youth coming into the working class is that companies are taking away and more from the employees. Benefits are shrinking to nothing and companies treat most of us like tolit paper. Great on the shelf at the store but when used flushable. I’m sorry you are coming into a crap (I’d like to use the other word) situation where corporate America is not the “dream” believed to have. No matter what anyone says to you about your attitude, you are justified to feel and think as you do!! They can’t take your dignity even though companies try hard. Your advantage is this puts you ahead of other 19 year olds who have been silver spooned. Hang in there Leo, you are not alone!
I am in the same position I feel isolated and have no one to talk to
Check in when you can we are here for this Imi.
I never comment or write anything on any blog or article. This one is just so relatable to me that i have to. I work at a bar and i have been struggling with this for 4 years but only recently as i turn 29 i feel as if time is running out. I know this is the cause of my depression and anxiety because the rest of my life is perfect. My wife is amazing, my family is great, friends are great but i only feel this way when i think of what i do for a living. The only reason i stay is because i make more than most people i know with actual careers or degrees…so i stay because i feel this is all i can do, but the job is toxic. Im surrounded by bad people and very bad habbits that i never indulged in before…but No more!!! Today i start to plan, and find my way out. By july of this year i will be out of this lifestyle and this article made me feel like im not the only one going through this…so thank you.