Is Your Job Killing You?
Job stress can cause many symptoms. Find out what some of them are here as well as excellent tips on planning your exit strategy.
How many of you are happy with your job? Do you look forward to Monday morning, eager to get to work, feeling so fulfilled you want to spread your joy? Am I kidding? Well, there are those that feel this way but unfortunately, all too often, it’s the reverse. In a survey conducted by Hays Canada, almost half of Canadian residents are unhappy in their jobs. Do you wake up feeling exhausted in the morning and have a knot in the pit of your stomach? Are your nights filled with anxiety-fueled dreams that seem more like nightmares from which you can never awake?
Here are a few more signs that your job is killing you:
1-You can’t sleep at night
2-You have a physical reaction to your boss
3-You get frequent headaches
4-You’re frequently sick
6-You suffer from neck or back strain
Doctors link long shifts and on-the-job anxiety to high blood pressure, heart disease, depression and stroke. Does any of the above sound like you? I want you to know that you are not alone and that there is a way out – if you truly want one.
If you don’t have the financial cushion to walk away from your current job until you find something else, then you’ll need to plan out your exit strategy.
In many cases the feeling of being out of control exacerbates the level of anxiety. So take back control! Once you start forming a plan, feelings of despair start to turn around. Where do you begin? Well, there are a lot of help guides out there to reference but below are just a few steps that helped me. They may seem over simplified but it’s really just meant as a starting point so as not to overwhelm you. Once a foundational plan has been developed, you can add more details as they become clearer to you.
Planning your exit strategy
1-It may take some time before you will be in a position to leave your current job so do whatever it takes in the meantime to maintain your sanity.
• Take up meditation
• Try to maintain positive relationships at work.
• Take breaks whenever you can
• At lunch breaks, go for a walk or get some form of exercise
• If you have a benefit plan, take advantage of massage therapy or other therapies your plan provides for.
2-Assess what it is about your current job you hate. Is there anything you like?
3-Do you know what type of job you’d like to transition to? If not, this next step may help you as it helped me. Not knowing what you want to do with your life can be a major source of stress. I’ve spoken with many people in the last few months that feel they are at crossroads in their lives and don’t have a clue which direction to turn. Here’s what you should know; there is no wrong decision. Whatever direction you go in will be the one you were meant to take, even if the reasons are not clear to you in that moment. This is what I did. I sat in a quiet room with a pad of paper and a pen. I drew a line down the centre of the page and titled the first column, “Things I want in a job” and the second column “Things I don’t want in a job”. Even though you may not have a clear idea of what you want to do with the rest of your life, I can guarantee you do know what you like and what you don’t. Go write these down. Things you like may include, “Being my own boss”, “Flexible work hours”, “managing people”, etc. You get the idea. At this point, I’m not suggesting you write down the exact job title you want (unless of course you already know that information). Simply try to extract from your mind things or tasks you enjoy doing. Do the same exercise for these things you don’t like to do.
Most help guides will tell you to be very specific, however, that didn’t work for me because I really didn’t know what type of work I should shoot for. So don’t get hung up on specifics at this stage. Jot down some things and each day go back to your list and add a few more points you may have forgotten. After a week, you will perhaps begin to see yourself more clearly.
Every day I would look at my list and imagine myself in a job where most of the tasks I had in my “Things I want in a job” list were realized. What’s important to note is that focus was only given to what I wanted and not to those things I didn’t want. Again, I didn’t know about specifics such as where this job would be or if one even existed. I just kept focusing my energy around the things I liked. Now I realize that what I’m about to tell you may seem a little ‘out there’ but I assure you that this is what happened.
After several weeks of focusing on my list of “Things I want in a job”, would you believe an opportunity came to me that pretty much checked off my list! Admittedly, it didn’t turn out to be my perfect job but it did help to further clarify what I truly wanted. It was as though I was being guided down a path to finding what it was I wanted.
As mentioned there are many online help guides to help you along your journey to self-discovery or perhaps it means talking to a counsellor. By all means, avail yourself of whatever is available to help you figure it out. Just don’t give up.
Here are a few links you might find useful. May you all find abundance, fulfillment and joy in all of your endeavours.