Considering the fact that we spend an average of 35 hours a week at the office, the last thing you’d want to do is spend all that time at a job you absolutely despise. In fact, research from management consulting company Gallup found that around 50% of full-time employed Americans are uninterested in their jobs and 16% dislike their workplace (1).
Yes, no job is perfect and everyone has their bad days. However, there are those situations whereby employees find themselves trapped in toxic situations that soon begin to take a serious toll on their health. What’s more, your employers may not be so understanding, and you find yourself attempting to prioritize your health, all while attempting to appease them at the same time. Research from Stanford University and published in the journal Management Science found that poor management in U.S. companies resulted in 8% of annual health costs. Additionally, it was associated with 120,000 excess deaths every year.
Times are hard, but do I really hate my job?
Every work-life has its ups and downs, so it’s important to know the difference between a challenging, adjusting period and the paralyzing, toxicity that you feel whenever you’re in the office. The last thing you want to do is leave a job just because things are a little difficult, so it’s important to be able to tell the difference.
So how do you know when you really hate your job?
- Constant pangs of anxiety every Sunday night, before the week begins.
- Lack of a sense of purpose and passion for work.
- A steady decline in productivity as well as engagement and concentration skills.
- Constantly venting about your job (hopefully to a confidante and not a colleague).
- An increase in the amount of alcohol and comfort food that you consume.
- Strong dissatisfaction with your income.
- You’re constantly plagued with thoughts about your job and you can never find that work-life balance.
If any, or all, of the above scenarios, apply to you, then you’re likely part of the 85% of people that have admitted to hating their jobs.
Yes, you need the money and the job market isn’t at its strongest but you need to understand that staying in a job you hate is an incredibly detrimental thing you could do to your health.
How does hating my job affect my health?
According to a study from Ohio State University, individuals who are dissatisfied with their jobs in their 20s and 30s are likely to battle serious health problems in their 40s. For one, spending the best part of your day at a job you’re not fond of may not exactly bode well for your stress levels. Granted, every job can be stressful, but chronic stress can be extremely detrimental to your health.
Here’s how staying in that toxic work environment may affect your health.
Compromised heart health
High levels of stress can increase the speed of your heartbeat, and it can also narrow your blood vessels. Unfortunately, these two factors greatly increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The body needs to reset to keep going. However, if you find yourself battling with constant fatigue, that doesn’t seem to ease even after a lazy weekend, then you may be battling with feeling overwhelmed with the toxic energy at the office.
In regards to your digestive health, chronic stress can affect it, leading to indigestion, constipation, and bloating.
Fractured personal life
Unfortunately, a lot of us bring our work home with us and that can also include toxicity. A toxic job environment will not only make you easily irritable with your family, and friends but it will also lead to social isolation.
Aside from creating an uncomfortable, unhappy atmosphere at home, hating your job can also affect your sex life, as research has shown that chronic stress levels can lead to low libido (2).
Increased risk of illnesses
Chronic stress can compromise your immune system, and this can make you more susceptible to serious illnesses, such as heart disease and diabetes.
This is because high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) lead to increased levels of inflammation, which then takes a toll on the body’s immune system. It also lowers the levels of white blood cells, which we know helps to fight off infections and diseases. Before you know it, you’ll be constantly battling with a cold, and asking for more sick days.
In fact, research from the London School of Economics and Political Science found a strong correlation between job satisfaction and fewer sick days taken throughout the year.
Loss of sleep
Sleep is the body’s opportunity to recharge itself, and anything that hinders it can lead to impairment in functioning, motivation, as well as an increased risk for serious health problems. You might not be battling nightmares about work but it’s possible that your restless nights are linked to your toxic work environment.
A survey from Best Mattress Brand found that employees who are dissatisfied with their work are likely to be dissatisfied with their sleep, as they also reported insomnia as well as having less time and energy to enjoy themselves outside of work. On the flip side, those who were satisfied with their jobs reportedly had more energy, focus, and drive after work.
Weakened mental health
According to a study published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine, being unemployed may be better for your mental health than being at a job you hate.
The constant stress that you battle with at work will definitely increase your risk of depression, or anxiety. It appears that choosing to stay in a toxic environment soon becomes emotionally draining over time, eventually resulting in serious mental health symptoms and having you question your self-worth.
A previously mentioned study from Ohio State University also found that those who had low job satisfaction in their 20s and 30s were more likely to battle mental health issues later on in life, particularly depression and excessive worry.
What do I do if my job is killing me?
As great as it sounds, quitting a job you’re beginning to hate sounds like a Utopian concept. Before you pack up your things and say goodbye to catty co-workers, and patronizing supervisors, there are a few things you can try that may make your job a little more tolerable.
Get to the root of your disdain
Sometimes we become so wrapped up in our unhappiness that we forget what we were upset about in the first place.
In assessing your situation at work, it’s important to step back and ask yourself what exactly is making you so miserable. Have you grown out of your current position? Are you tired of your backstabbing colleagues? Can you no longer handle your director’s patronizing, and insensitive tone? Or maybe you’re battling with something in your personal life, and you’re taking out your frustrations at work?
It’s important that you ask yourself how satisfied you are with each area of your working life. This will help you identify the root of your growing job dissatisfaction.
Attempt to set boundaries
Once you’ve pinpointed the reason for your growing disdain for your job, then it’s important that you address the issue. The best way to do this would be by setting boundaries.
This is most likely going to invoke you to have difficult conversations with your superior. You might voice out how your workload has become overwhelming. Or that you feel that you’re being both under-appreciated and underpaid for the work that you’re doing.
At the end of the day, your boss, nor your colleagues, can read your mind. So, it’s important to politely air your frustrations and set boundaries.
According to new research, positive thinking can significantly lengthen your life span.
Yes, you’re not exactly happy with your current job situation. However, getting lost in a cycle of negative thinking and misery will only make things that much more unbearable. It’s important to remember that your job does not define who you are. Therefore, your happiness at the office shouldn’t hinder your optimism.
Looking at your situation from an objective angle may help to make the situation much more bearable.
Often, all we need is a good ear to hear us vent our frustrations. It’s best to do this in person, and not in an email or social media.
Venting with a friend will help you unload all your frustrations, and you’ll feel better. Additionally, your friend may even have helpful suggestions as to how you can address the issue.
Keep up the good work
Just because you’re unhappy doesn’t mean you should allow your work to suffer. Granted, you may not want to put extra effort into something you hate. Yet, doing a good job will help to boost your confidence and improve your mood.
Also, you could find ways in which you can develop new skills to add to your resume.
If all else fails, then yes, you should definitely quit your toxic work environment. You should then go on to find something much more fulfilling and less detrimental to your health.
A fragile economy and mounting unemployment rates are not enough reason to stay in a job that’s literally killing you. You really need to ask yourself if it’s worth it to stay. What’s more, staying in that toxic environment will prevent you from venturing into the world. Here, you may find new interests, and maybe even come across your dream job.
All you need to do is make a commitment to yourself that you’re going to prioritize your health. Before you know it, everything will begin to fall into place.