Do you find yourself thinking about work all the time, getting sick more than ever and feeling the “Sunday scaries” every day? If so, your job may be eating away at your happiness. These negative patterns among employees are unsurprising in an age of “quiet quitting” and “rage applying.”
“The reality is that even in the work-from-home era, work takes up most of our lives,” Lacey Leone McLaughlin, an executive coach in California, told Newsweek. “Some people are even working more now that they work from home because the already thin division between the office and home has fully evaporated. If you’re not enjoying your work, think about why.”
A Pew Research Center survey conducted in February found that only 51 percent of Americans are “extremely or very satisfied” with their job overall.
Steven Pinto, an executive coach and licensed mental health counselor in New York, told Newsweek that while your job doesn’t need to be your main source of fulfillment in life, “it does need to have elements of fulfillment in it that you can garner along the way.”
So how are our jobs dragging us down and what can we do about it? Here, business coaches describe the signs that your job is ruining your happiness.
Your Health Is Affected
Dawid Wiacek, an executive career coach in New York state, said that many of his clients, “even or especially the ones earning high salaries—think mid- to high six figures,” feel that they have “golden handcuffs.” They are unwilling to separate from their current employer, “no matter how toxic the boss or how unpleasant the company culture may be.”
Some of the health problems his clients have experienced are headaches, migraines, ulcers, panic attacks, eczema and other stress-related manifestations.
“This is to say nothing of the toll a stressful job can take on one’s mental health and well-being, with clients often lamenting that their job took meaningful time away from their friends and families,” he said.
Joseph Liu, a career change consultant and host of the Career Relaunch podcast, said: “When you’re feeling both physically and mentally drained from your current work, that means you’re doing work that depletes you instead of energizing you.”
You Replay Arguments
Business coach and certified career coach Tim Toterhi said that conflict is a healthy part of team dynamics and that work debates should “attack issues and problems, not people.”
So “endlessly rehashing” co-worker conflicts on your off time is not only a sign of unhappiness but also indicates that “you feel unheard and even unsafe.”
You Rehearse Contributions
Toterhi said it’s a good idea to review notes and polish your opening for a big presentation.
However, it’s a red flag if you “feel the need to endlessly prepare for small interactions and standard staff meetings. It’s hard to be happy if you are made to second-guess your contributions.”
You Revisit Mistakes
Toterhi also said that “experience is often the best teacher,” so it’s healthy to draw lessons from our blunders.
However, “there is a difference between performing a project postmortem and beating yourself up over imaginary missteps.”
You Feel the ‘Sunday Scaries’ All the Time
April Shprintz, a business accelerator and sales expert in Florida, said the “Sunday scaries”—feeling anxious on Sundays about going back to work on Monday—on a daily basis is another sign that your job is affecting your happiness.
“While some people dread work on Monday, you find yourself feeling stress and anxiety about your job every time you think about it,” she said.
If your “Monday morning blues” extends to the rest of your week, evenings and weekends, Liu said, “it suggests that your current role is no longer fulfilling.”
What to Do if Your Job Is Ruining Your Happiness
Pinto said that our jobs and careers take up a good portion of our lives, so “it’s imperative to like what we do and to feel we are good at it…your career should challenge you but not crush you.”
Address the Underlying Causes of Dissatisfaction
Deb Harrison, a change/growth consultant and coach who has worked with various business organizations, said, “It’s crucial to identify the causes of anxiety. Is it the workload, toxic work environment, lack of time off or a mismatch between your skills and responsibilities?”
Leone McLaughlin advised speaking to your boss about what isn’t working and then making a plan on how you can fix it.
“Workplace culture is everything. Examine the culture and your workplace and consider if there are ways to improve it so you can be happier,” she said.
Focus on Things You Can Control
By focusing on the aspects of your situation that are under your control and accepting what you can’t, “you let go of so much angst—it’s a radical acceptance,” Leone McLaughlin said.
Harrison suggested reflecting on what initially sparked your passion for the job or industry. “You may find that remembering your why helps you to feel more in control of the situation.”
Consider Getting a New Job
The reality is that you may need a new job, Leone McLaughlin said. Perhaps the grass is greener on the other side. “Evaluate what that would look like. Maybe your job isn’t right? Maybe you should change?” she said.
Harrison agrees, saying, “You may need to try to change jobs or even consider a career transition. Your well-being and happiness are invaluable, and taking action to restore them is a vital investment in your overall quality of life.”
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