Even if you absolutely love your job, it can still make you sick. We all spend so much of our lives focused on working and making money, that it’s often easy to miss when something is wrong. So, sit back for a second and think about it. Are you doing ok where you are with your job? Do you find yourself exhausted, unhealthy, and upset? It doesn’t have to be so bad that you end up sleeping in your office because you can’t get everything done, but really take a moment to be honest with yourself about how your job makes you feel both emotionally and physically.
Work/Life Balance is Important
If you (or the people around you) have noticed that your job is hurting you, then you need to consider quitting. I don’t care if it’s an amazing opportunity that makes you a ton of money. Your health isn’t worth sacrificing. A great test is to ask the closest person to you, whether it’s your friend, family member, spouse, or whoever, if you hate your job. They’ll likely give you a very quick and honest answer. If you hear a rapid “Yes” then they’ve probably been hearing about it nonstop and you need to consider the impact your job is having on your entire life.
How long do you plan to live for the odd vacation or holiday break? Think back to the last time you didn’t have to work. Did you actually enjoy it, or were you too stressed or tired to actually have fun? If your work is dominating your time and thoughts even after you’ve left for the day, that can be a big sign you need to consider your options. Unless you’re riveted by the engaging projects you’re working on, thinking about work constantly can be a big sign that something is wrong.
You’re Only Human
Everyone will try to push away the notion that they are overwhelmed. Excuses that it could be worse, it’s just a bad time of year, or you are just being dramatic likely whiz around your head whenever you get close to admitting that it’s not working out. Stop expecting yourself to take on so much, and listen to what your body is telling you. Likely, if you’ve gotten this far in the post, you find some of what I’m saying relevant to your own life. If that’s the case, here are some tips to try and steps to take if you think you might need to quit.
Give Yourself Time
This sounds pretty standard, but it’s true. Admitting that you’re in a bad situation is tough and you might feel pretty disappointed in yourself. I’ve been there. I took a job in a new country and it didn’t work out. I spent so long pretending it was going to get better that when I finally admitted it wasn’t, I was pretty crushed. Don’t make rash decisions, just sit with the idea that this job isn’t a good fit the way things are right now.
Try and Find a Cause
Why is your job making you sick? There are so many internal and external factors that contribute to your work life, and you need to consider them all. Maybe the solution is something you can fix like getting less upset when your manager has feedback that is critical. While it’s hard not to take things personally, you can try to adjust the way you react to your workplace.
However, if the stressful factor is something external to you, that can be a lot harder. If you feel undervalued, or if your workplace isn’t a positive environment, then that can cause you to be sick. One way to approach this type of problem is to write down your thoughts. At first, just take out a notepad and write down an uncensored version of what you hate about your current job. Once you’ve gotten it all out, get a different sheet of paper and turn your rant list into constructive comments. After you have developed a good list of actionable and legitimate problems, set up a meeting with HR to discuss them.
Give Your Workplace Time
Now that you’ve brought up your concerns, give management time to react. Hopefully, your HR rep has tactfully and anonymously passed on your problem points to the people in charge. Remember, internal company change takes time. You can’t expect a completely revamped office culture or better processes to be implemented overnight.
It’s completely acceptable to contact your HR person and ask for a follow-up report on what changes you can expect. They will give you a good sense of whether you can anticipate improvements or if the outlook is bleak.
Imagine Your Alternatives
We all know that the grass can look greener on the other side, but once you get there everything might not be what you expected. Don’t idealize a new “perfect position” that will save you from your current woes. No workplace is perfect, so try and think about whether this is something you really want to walk away from right now. Everyone grumbles about their jobs, and maybe you were being too negative this time. That’s ok, but quitting a job for the wrong reasons can leave you with regrets later.
If you’re sure you want to quit and nothing is getting better, then it’s time to leave. Your health and sanity will benefit greatly from your decision. To avoid getting even more stressed or upset, try and stay at the position until you find a new source of income. One of the best ways to exit a bad job without risking drifting right into a new and equally unpleasant position is to try freelancing and project work. It will keep your skills sharp, fill any blank time you might have on your resume, and help you figure out your next step.
Remember, nothing is worth risking your health. Don’t minimize the negative impact your job is having on you. Instead, try your best to improve the situation. If you can’t then it’s perfectly fine to quit.
Almost everyone’s had a job they hated. Do you have any tips for people who have jobs that are making them sick? Advice is greatly appreciated, just share your thoughts in the comments below!