5 Clues That You’re in the Wrong Job

I was raised in a household with one working parent who despised what he did for a living. It seemed that there was undoubtedly a reason they called the work he did “blue” collar. I couldn’t help but feel sad every time at the dinner table when he spoke about another one of his workplace dramas. He should have quit years ago, but instead my father chose to live in unhappiness for forty years! Don’t make his mistake; find out if it’s time to quit your current gig. I didn’t realize it then, but the seed my father planted with his attitude toward work would eventually sprout from deep within me, causing me to actually fear getting a job.

I imagined the worst—mean coworkers, an aching body and mind, and a negative outlook on life—and I anticipated hating my job, and thus, my life. The reason I am bringing this up is that I’ve seen what the effects of a stressful work environment can have on a person—on a family. As college students, you have the opportunity to figure out where your passions are. My goal here is to share some of the wisdom I’ve acquired throughout my years as a daughter and a professional, and I hope to open your eyes just in case what your doing isn’t right for you. For fun, see if my article on astrology and careers can help you discover your dream job.

If you think your work is getting in the way of your happiness, these things might ring true for you:

1. You dread the days you have to work.

I’ve had jobs where I count down how many days are left until it’s the weekend. I think it’s normal to anticipate your day off every week, but if you find yourself feeling sick or hopeless every time you think about returning to “that place,” then you’re not in the right work environment.

2. You avoid answering the phone for coworkers.

No one says you have to be best friends with your colleagues, but a healthy work relationship shouldn’t leave you turning your phone off or hitting reject every time a coworker calls. This shouldn’t be a reason to quit a job, but it could be a red flag that something is wrong.

3. When someone needs a shift covered, you always refuse.

They say that you should find a job that you’d do even if you weren’t getting paid. If they can’t even pay you to work a little overtime, and it’s not because your calendar is full, maybe you’re in the wrong place or the wrong field.

4. You feel the need to drink or use recreational drugs after a day of work.

This is a big bold red flag, and you shouldn’t wave it proudly. Anything that drives a person to abuse his or her body is never worth it. If you find yourself turning to substances to take the edge off of a long day, you might want to approach your supervisor to ask for less work or time to recharge. Here is some natural eastern wisdom regarding workplace depression.

5. You think you may be depressed.

Many times, I found myself mentally and physically exhausted. I wanted to be perfect, to never be reprimanded at work, and to be able to hold my own weight. Alas, you can never say never. I collapsed on the floor in tears after many a physically taxing day of standing on my feet with barely a fifteen minute break. I learned that none of this is healthy behavior, and no job is worth sacrificing your sanity. Take this WebMD quiz to determine if you may be suffering from depression and what steps you should take next.

For more posts by Sara Kosmyna.

How did you find a job that made you happy? What advice can you give to unhappy workers?

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  1. Joe
    Posted May 23, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Don’t fear getting a job. It is a life experience. A bad job makes the good job shine when compared. I’ve had many jobs along the way and by far they were better than no job. Celebrate a pay check even if it is small or if it is just the rush of helping someone when you volunteer. Take the plunge and start getting paid for something. It will make you more beautiful on the inside too!

  2. Posted May 24, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Great advice Joe! I think it’s so important to be thankful of what you have. When my friends need job advice, it almost always boils down to balancing what will take care of you and make you happy at the same time. And sometimes realizing that you’re in the wrong career can lift a weight off your shoulders and really turn things around for the better.

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