5 Common Psychological Side Effects of Hating Your Job

5 Common Psychological Side Effects of Hating Your Job

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Regular employment is the only surefire way of gaining a consistent income necessary to provide for yourself and your family. Unfortunately, people are not always able to work their dream jobs, or maybe you work in your dream field but haven’t found the perfect fit yet. So, how does hating your job impact your psychological health?

The five common psychological side effects of hating your job include chronic stress, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and constant burnout. Despite these psychological side effects, many are forced to stay in jobs they hate due to financial and social pressure. 

Spending multiple hours, days, and months in a position that undervalues an employee is bound to cause negative repercussions. Healthy coping mechanisms are essential to juggle the presence of work-related mental health struggles. The remainder of this article will look at the psychological side effects of hating your work in more detail and the most efficient ways to cope. 

1. Excessive Stress

Almost every formal job has expectations about completing work in a timely fashion or in a particular way. When expectations are high, it’s normal for employees to feel pressure and to stay on task. 

Additionally, if one takes on too many work responsibilities or experiences conflict with colleagues, regularly meeting said expectations can become stressful. This can cause excessive stress, leading to physiological, psychological, and behavioral problems. 

Here are some of the issues that excessive stress can cause: 

  • Body pains. 
  • Lower productivity. 
  • Fatigue. 
  • Decrease in energy and focus. 
  • Strained relationships. 

2. Insomnia

Another result of excessive stress caused by a toxic workplace is a sleep disorder called insomnia. Insomnia drives a range of short and long-term issues. Essentially, regular sleep cycles are dysregulated through an inability to fall or stay asleep when your body needs it. This triggers anxiety, fatigue, and clouded judgment. 

If you struggle to fall asleep at night, constantly recycling thoughts about work, you may have insomnia. Similarly, insomnia could be the culprit if you’re waking up often and sleeping at irregular times (or, for example, feeling exhausted in the middle of the day).  

3. Anxiety

Long-term anxiety is usually brought on by genetics or by several events. And a common cause of anxiety today is the constant demands of the workplace. Stressful events in the workplace can induce intermittent or consistent bouts of anxiety. 

Anxiety produces physiological disturbances like racing thoughts, heart palpitations, and nausea; it can also affect behavior, causing sufferers to avoid or cancel work-related obligations, damaging one’s job security.  

4. Depression

Depression is a severe mental health disorder that tends to be all-consuming, sometimes having fatal consequences if left untreated. 

Over time, a draining work environment can cause what’s known as situational depression. Frequent toxic experiences, especially ones that erode one’s self-esteem, are to blame for this type of depressive episode. 

Workplace depression is most common amongst individuals in high-pressure fields, such as health care, social work, and police work. 

5. Burnout

Psychological disorders impact the brain, but the brain controls the body’s physiological processes, so when the brain struggles to function, the body does as well. 

Anxiety and depression cause physiological symptoms such as sluggishness, forgetfulness, exhaustion, and sadness. Insomnia keeps the body awake irregularly, and disrupted sleep cycles also negatively impact one’s mental health. 

If you are feeling mentally and physically drained (regardless of how much you sleep), you are most likely burnt out. Like the other psychological side effects of hating your job, workplace burnout can seep into other areas of your life. For example, you might feel too exhausted to meet your friends or spend time with your partner. 

Here are a few ways to prevent job burnout: 

  • Lower your workload. 
  • Leave work on time and avoid bringing work home. 
  • Share your concerns with your employer. 
  • Make time for rest and self-care. 

How Long Should You Stay in a Job You Hate?

The reality is that our lives aren’t categorized into fractions, and there is no magic wand that makes things easier. Instead, we must recognize that life consists of a series of experiences, and we each have the choice to stay somewhere or move along. With that being said, you may find yourself wondering how long you should stay in a job you hate.

Long-term exposure to consistent dissatisfaction can bring about a host of problems, such as depression, anxiety, and burnout. However, quitting your job impulsively can also have adverse side effects. It’s important not to make an impulsive decision to quit your job.

CNBC recommends staying at a job you hate for at least one year before you resign, as leaving after a few months may look bad on your resume. However, staying in a job that makes you miserable for a whole year might not be ideal. Therefore, while you are at your current job, you can do the following things: 

  • Consider other career avenues that might suit you. 
  • Consistently apply to other jobs and make connections on LinkedIn. 
  • If you’re going to resign without another job lined up, ensure you save enough money to hold you over for at least six months while you wait for another position. 

How To Cope at a Job You Hate

Looking for another job can be intimidating, especially for those who have worked in the same field for many years. Therefore, find solace within your social circle or discuss your feelings with an unbiased professional to quell those fears. Friends, family members, and mental health professionals are also there to provide a listening ear and emotional validation in times of uncertainty. 

Let’s explore a few ways that you can make your employed life more enjoyable: 

Get To Know Your Colleagues

Since we spend so much of our lives at work, it’s important to be able to interact and socialize with our peers. Usually, having a friend at work makes going into the office more bearable. 

Finding trusted colleagues and close friends in the workplace can make a hostile environment pleasant. Also, confiding in a superior about your challenges can help foster a healthy relationship. 

Find a Balance Between Work and Home Life

Be honest about how much your work impacts the other areas of your life, like your romantic and social relationships or the amount of time you have for yourself. Without a good work/life balance, you’ll become burnt out and hate your job even more. 

Therefore, you should aim to strike a balance between your personal and work life. Here are a few things you can do: 

  • Leave all work-related thoughts and feelings in the workplace. 
  • Try to finish all your tasks at work, and avoid bringing them home. 
  • If you work from home, switch off your work-related devices when you’re done for the day, and focus on your personal life. 
  • Say “no” when you are overwhelmed or explain your challenges to your employer. 
  • Schedule enough time to rest, by taking time off when you need it, going on vacation, or taking a long break during your work day. 

Practice Gratitude 

You may harbor negative feelings about your job; however, it has provided you with financial stability. And if you learn to appreciate what it has given you, you will start viewing your job more positively. 

Every day, write down three things you’re grateful for that your job has given you, for example, the ability to save money, a vacation, money to pay the bills, etc. 

Practice Mindfulness

Being mindful starts with identifying what it feels like to be where you are in the moment. Are you comfortable and relaxed, or agitated and stressed out? 

Indeed, if you work a job you hate, you are more likely to feel the latter. However, being mindful can quickly identify these feelings, which means you can reframe them to think about your job in a positive way. 

Over time, mindfulness will bring peace, objective reasoning, and clarity to your mind, which will help you make better decisions about your job. Without a clear head, you might make choices that stem from emotional reactivity, which only serves to make your life more problematic. 

Talk to Your Doctor

Mindfulness isn’t a cure-all solution, and it’s undoubtedly tricky to force yourself to be grateful and happy when you hate your job. Therefore, you should visit a doctor before your toxic workplace affects your health even more. 

Doctors understand the full complexities of mental health disorders and are professionally equipped to help inform patients of appropriate resources, like therapy referrals, lifestyle changes, or medication. 

A physician is professionally trained to determine the root cause of psychological and physical distress. They may perform a psych assessment, a physical examination, bloodwork, or all of the above to ensure your body is healthy. 

The doctor will ask about your sleeping and eating habits, family and work environments, and medical history. These assessments will help the physician make an accurate diagnosis. And once a diagnosis is in place, there could be treatments they may put you through. Take your time and consider each one while being mindful of how each type of treatment will impact your life as a whole.


About The Author

Nathan Brunner
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Nathan Brunner is a mathematician who cares about the job market.

He is the owner of Salarship, a job search engine where less-skilled candidates can find accessible employment opportunities.