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shadling21's avatar

Is it normal to dread going to work?

Asked by shadling21 (6457 points ) January 9th, 2009

I asked my mother this question, and she said, “Yes, honey. It’s part of growing up.”

Inability to sleep, nausea… The extensions of the dread I feel are affecting my lifestyle. Every morning, I want to quit my job before I even go in to work. Is that normal? Is it all part of growing up?

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22 Answers

Mr_M's avatar

Are your days off and weekends off FLYING BY? Then it’s time to look for a new job.

dynamicduo's avatar

That amount of anxiety does not seem normal, no. I mean, a certain amount of disliking your job is to be accepted, but wanting to quit before going in really does not sound right.

Mr_M's avatar

You DO need to put your finger on what it is you dread about it. Do you feel unqualified? Is the boss a problem? Are coworkers a problem? Maybe it’s far away?

How long have you worked there?

Cardinal's avatar

She is wrong. You may not want to go to work somedays for one reason or another, but this sounds like your distaste for work is making you sick. You really think you need to find something else.

Goos luck!

shadling21's avatar

It’s a simple job, and one I used to enjoy. I don’t feel qualified, though, because I still have to ask questions after 4 months there (poor memory). My boss can be a problem- she’s rude and has high expectations. I don’t work very often. I can’t keep up. So no, the days off aren’t flying by, but every time a workday comes along the anxiety kind of builds to an extreme.

I’m discussing it with her now. Thanks.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

It sounds like you’re a bad fit for your employment situation. Sometimes knowledge lag could be inherent to the type of work it is or the industry; or it could be bad training. Or the work processes could be wrong for the type of work.

Good luck with the discussion.

erin's avatar

I’ve had a lot of jobs like that. Your work environment is very important, and sometimes you can’t help being in a bad one, but it might boost your spirits to start applying for other jobs while you’re at this one, and make you feel like there will be an end to the drudge you’re feeling now.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Erin’s advice about looking for another job without quitting the one you have is good. If your company is big enough, you might want to look for open positions within the organization. Focus on your skills.

kevbo's avatar

I was in a job for five years and felt like that every day for about the first year. How I made it through the first 90 days, I don’t know. Eventually, I got acclimated to it, and even enjoyed it here and there, but until about year 3 or 4 there were always more bad days than good. (The problem was that I was finally making decent money, so it was hard to leave.)

What I figured out in the end is that a) I didn’t like the field (health care) and b) my supervisors were horrible and toxic people. At the very least, they were damaged. I didn’t piece this together until much later, but my department director was an adult child of an alcoholic. What this meant (in her case) is that she thrived on chaos and tended to create chaos to stay in her comfort zone. Naturally, this affected the entire department, which meant morale was pretty sucky.

Had I another option, I would have picked up and left ASAP. The problem was that I was always behind and felt like any “extra” time and energy should go to catching up on everything.

My advice to you is to:
1. Decide if you are in a toxic environment and figure out how it is toxic, exactly.
2. Depersonalize the toxic factors. If you need information from your boss and she is rude, filter out the rudeness (because it isn’t about you) and get the information you need.
3. Expect bad or stupid behavior. That way you are never surprised.
4. Realize that you are getting psyched into thinking that you aren’t capable. You are capable (and you are allowed to make mistakes). Your job isn’t rocket science, so keep it simple and be confident that you can handle it if you take your time.
5. Make checklists for common tasks or procedures so you don’t forget steps.
6. Look for another job. There are nice people to work for, too.
7. Don’t stay too long because it will impact your personality, and you might start taking it out on the people you actually care about.

Good luck!

rawpixels's avatar

I’ve also had jobs that made me feel like you do, and it’s almost unbearable. My advice would be to do everything in your power to get a different job. Even if another job pays less, it’s worth it not to be absolutely miserable. Life is too short to put yourself through such misery.

Mr_M's avatar

You’re asking the same questions over and over is NOT gonna make you look good. You need to write things down in a notebook so you don’t have to ask. Take these notes home at night and memorize them like you would for school. The company spends money unnecessarily every time another employee takes time to answer your questions.

You liked it in the beginning when you could get away with asking the same questions. After 4 months, that vacation is over.

Is this your first job?

Darwin's avatar

Sounds like you are in the wrong job or at least in the wrong workplace. Workplaces and jobs both have personalities and you need to find the right fit for you. If the people doing the hiring are good they consider that as part of their hiring process, but that often does not happen.

You have two realistic choices here. The first is to decide that you are going to stay and so do everything you can to learn the job so you don’t have to ask questions or worry about expectations, and you can be good at it. That will take a lot of the stress off you and may lead to promotions and even liking to go to work most days. The second is to get a copy of “What Color Is Your Parachute” or its equivalent, use it to figure out what kind of job you should be doing, figure out how to earn the qualifications needed to get a job like that, and then go find one of those jobs. Those are what an adult would do in this situation.

cwilbur's avatar

Work is not always pleasant, but if you’re dreading it, that’s not right. I second kevbo’s first point: figure out if this is a truly toxic environment, or just a poor match for you. If it’s the former, get out as soon as you can; if it’s the latter, figure out if you can change to match it, and if you can’t, get out as soon as you can.

There’s no virtue in suffering through a job you hate.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Kevbo’s advice is great. We are working on associate engagement in our area at work, and I found the questions asked to be throught-provoking. They’re tied to Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs. The engagement process the through Gallup. Here are the questions asked.

loser's avatar

That level of stress isn’t normal. I used to have a job that made me feel like that. I stuck it out for over 10 years thinking that it was just how everyone felt about their job. I don’t think I’ve been right since.

Allie's avatar

Oh geez, Shadling, I feel the same way. I get depressed and lose energy before I even get there. Sometimes I think about how I don’t want to go all through class. I’m not sure why I don’t like it. I know one reason is because there are no labs to help out with this quarter. That was the only part I liked about my job in the first place. Now I’m in a white room by myself for the most part. I can’t take it.. I need a job where I can go outside and/or interact with more people. Not being around other people makes me sad.

Knotmyday's avatar

Sounds like you need a new job, shad. And Allie. I agree with erin; with the job market the way it is right now, hold on to this crappy one while you search for the next.

90s_kid's avatar

Well, some Americans get jobs all for the money. Everyday they are not looking forward to work because it is boring. This links to how the most unhappy people in the world are rich. It is OK to not look forward to a day of work every once in a while (Mondays). My parent does. Bottom line, get a job that you will enjoy. The world doesn’t revolve around money! Well, it kind of does at points.

shadling21's avatar

Wow. You’ve all given me plenty to digest.

@erin and @AlfredaPrufrock – I very much like the idea of applying for other jobs. Maybe looking around will make me see the beauty of the job I already have.

@kevbo – I think step 4 is the one I need to focus on. Thanks so much for telling me about your experiences. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who reacts to things in this way.

@Mr_M – Actually, I couldn’t get away with asking questions from the start. I’d been in a similar job before this one, and everyone kind of expected me to know what to do (even I had those expectations). Eventually I told them they needed to break it down for me sometimes, and things went smoother. The first month was horrible, though. I felt inadequate, and was sure my boss regretted hiring me.

Now, it’s just an echo of that former anxiety, but one that resounds loudly. It’s the fear of messing up that haunts me. Is it pure vanity that drives this? Not wanting to look bad? I hope I’m not so shallow.

@cwilbur – Great point. I’ll have to figure out exactly what this job is to me. You said, “There’s no virtue in sufering through a job you hate.” That’s interesting to me because I have always thought that a real job is one that you suffer for. I just didn’t think it’d be this kind of suffering. I stick with this suffering to legitimize my middle-class background. I’m looking for a career that will be a joy to work for, but a part-time job, to me, is not fun.

@Allie – I think Knot is right. Time to find a different job. I don’t think job worry should bleed over into school or other aspects of life.

Thanks a lot for your help, guys. This is just a part-time job, not one that I’m hoping to develop into a career (though I could certainly see myself working in the industry). I’m glad you all took the time to read about my small worries.

Mr_M's avatar

Part of learning is knowing the RIGHT questions to ask and that comes with experience. It ALSO comes with your summarizing, on paper, the procedures you learn. Use them and embellish them as you use them. Think of questions as you read your own procedures. Try to imagine actually doing what you wrote. Any gaps? Ask about them. The job SHOULD have written procedures if the manager is doing his job right. If they don’t, write them for yourself really well and offer them to him. You’ll be an asset.

People don’t realize learning a new job requires homework and study. Do it, and your performance will shine.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Even though it’s a part-time job, you did say that it was one that you used to enjoy, and that you could see yourself working in the industry. Taking it from that perspective, what could you learn or do on your own time that would 1) make this job easier for you to do, and 2) enhance your own skills? I’ve had to learn computer applications on my own time, because the demands of work didn’t allow for me to learn on company time. The 40 hour investment paid off in being able to work more proficiently in other ways as well. Likewise, staying on top of information pertaining to work happens at home. Work is either a job or a stepping-stone in a career. Even negative work experiences have value-add. Being able to step back from a situation and ask, “Why is this so bad?” and “What are 5–10 things I can do to improve it?” Often several little things together can have a big impact on a situation.

Zen's avatar

Not a healthy situation at all.

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