Ask MCG: Every day I wake up dreading work…

Dear Ms. Career Girl,

Every day I wake up dreading work. When I’m there I’m always stressed out. I hate my job, what do I do?!

Thanks, S.C.

This happens to a lot more people than you would expect!  Most of us have experienced this situation at one time or another.  It’s important to realize that you are not alone.  In this post, I am not going to flat out tell you to quit and run for the hills.  Rather, I am going to suggest a few things for you to do first to make the situation better.

First, take a step back and reflect on your situation: Why do you hate going to work so much? Is there a certain job duty that makes you stressed out?  Is it a certain person you work with? Your work environment? Your boss? Pinpoint the areas that cause you to hate your job and write them down.  Brainstorm a few ways you can fix those problems and try a few of your ‘solutions’ out at work.  For example, if there is a person that’s making your life miserable, ask to move to another area at work, or confront the person (constructively, of course).  Is your boss driving you crazy by micro-managing? Try talking to your boss and express how you feel and how the both of you can work together to create a more optimal work environment.  We tend to forget that our bosses are human too and that they were, at one point, in our shoes.  You would be surprised how even the most neurotic bosses can be understanding and helpful.   Perhaps there is a certain project that is making you really stressed.  Think of things you can do differently to minimize the stress:  preparing the material earlier to avoid rushing to meet the deadline, using a planner, or asking for additional help.  To sum it up, chances are some your problems will be solved quickly based on how you deal with them.  Remember, it’s not what happens to us that really makes an impact, it’s how we react that counts.

Second, think back to the day you found out you received the job offer.  Remember how happy you were?  Remember how grateful you felt? And how about the excitement you experienced on your first day?  At one point in time, you were really happy about your job and looked forward to going to work.  However, like most people, this feeling subsides rather quickly.  Don’t forget about how you felt when you first got the job.  In fact, constantly remind yourself how lucky you are to be employed the first place!  You could easily be part of the 7.7% of people who are without a job.  I was driving down the road in Keller, Texas (a more affluent town in north Texas) with my mom one day after grocery shopping.  We passed by an older man standing on a street corner, dressed in a suit and tie, holding up a sign that read “I need a job, please.”  Some of the things you take for granted, others are praying for.

Third, think of the core reason why your position exists (much like the “mission statement” companies have) and its positive impact in society.  For example, if you’re an admission counselor at a university, think of your job as “helping students create a better future for themselves by guiding them towards a college education.”  Or, if you’re a financial advisor, think of your job as “helping customers make important and smart financial decisions so they can live a better life.” Our job’s “mission statement” tends to get lost amidst daily stresses and long hours.  We lose sight of the central purpose of our position.  Write down your job’s “mission statement” and post it in areas that you frequent each day, like the bathroom mirror, the refrigerator, your desk at work, in your car, etc.  It will serve as a daily reminder of the purpose of your job.  This will aid you in the reshaping of your attitude towards work.  Change your attitude and you will change your world.

If you have honestly and adamantly tried everything in your power to make your work situation better and it’s still causing you great stress and you still hate waking up every morning to go to work, then maybe it is time for a new job or possibly a new career.  But, don’t reach this conclusion unless you’ve truly given it all you’ve got.  Try out the tips above and see if your work situation improves.  Also, view what’s happening to you as valuable learning experience.  You’re learning a lot about yourself, what you like, and what you don’t like, career-wise.  There is always something positive to learn in every situation.  Good luck!

Vivian Ta

Vivian is a running fanatic and founder of The Daily Runner, a website dedicated to inspire people all over the world to start running. Currently pursuing her Ph.d in Experimental Psychology at the University of Texas at Arlington, Vivian is also a certified fitness instructor. Her fitness and wellness column is featured on MCG every other Wednesday. Connect with Vivian on Twitter @dailyrunnerpage and on Facebook Facebook.