Nobody wants to talk about this honestly. So I will.
Many people aren’t a right fit for the type of job they’re doing. And mental health at work is still not something companies will put extra care into. Everyone’s just too caught up worrying about clients, deadlines, and profit loss.
But what about well-being loss?
It’s certainly not easy to talk to your boss about any demands you have that could have your dramatically improve your quality of life overall. Not even to your colleagues. In fact, according to the CMHA, 38.6% of workers would not even tell their employers that they’re dealing with a mental health problem.
So you’ll likely have to figure out the root problems on your own.
How serious is the office well-being issue?
82% of workers are certain that their mental health problems directly interfere with their performance at work. Where’s this taboo around the topic even coming from when we’ve already got proof that it’s seriously causing both serious health problems for employees and loss of productivity for companies. A lose-lose situation for everyone.
It appears that at the moment employees are taking the burden. Meanwhile, only 31% of employers are doing something to support their teams. After all, happy employees also mean more profit for them, so they really would have no reason to say no to a wellness program focused on keeping employees healthy, reducing absenteeism, and retaining your current team.
The reality is still different.
57% of employees with moderate depression and 40% of those who’re dealing with serious depression are already undergoing treatment to help them cope. But are meds and regular therapy sessions really the answer?
Getting treatment is sure better than not doing anything at all. However, this will only partially cover your problems and not cure them. So you’ll just have times when you’ll ignore your mental well-being and think you’re doing fine only to find yourself in a sudden slump in a couple of months and not know where your struggles are coming from.
What you can do instead is identify all of your core problems and come up with a list of baby steps to change your current situation.
The current stance on office work
A staggering (and saddening) 56% of American employees are unhappy at work.
They’re simply not in the right place. Understandably though. We often end up taking a job just because we need to pay our bills, take care of our families, or just have some food on the table.
In this endless loop, we’re doomed to keep switching jobs in hopes that the next one will provide if not better conditions, at least a more decent wage. So ultimately we’re just running for more money and leaving our mental well-being behind although this is much more important.
We no longer live in an age where you’ve got just a bunch of jobs to choose from in your city. And this is something many people still haven’t opened their eyes on. Worse, young people dream of landing a secure job in a corporation and often end up wasting their youth in an office environment that’s entirely different from how humans were even created to live.
We’re not made to sit in an office all day long. That’s the reality. And supporters of office work are not in it because they just love spending their whole life in an office chair. They like it because they can slack and spend their days at the perfect temperature while getting paid. Don’t believe me? Be amazed by this Reddit thread.
Who wants to waste their lives faking they’re hard at work anyway? Especially when you’ve got so many more options to go and live your best life than your grandparents had.How to tell if you’re at the right place professionally
Tell me. How engaged are you?
High work engagement is the secret that all 54% of people who are happy with their careers have managed to keep.
Sure engagement remains a two-way communication process. The employer delivers all possible factors to keep employees happy, and the latter almost always have no reason not to be engaged when all of their needs are taken care of.
Take 5 minutes right now to analyze your work situation. If you can agree with the majority of the following statements, you’re in the right place:
- My role in the team is essential for the project.
- I was able to create a solid network.
- I’m not actively looking for a new job.
- I regularly receive an appraisal for my work.
- I feel like I’m doing my best.
- Working on this motivates me.
- No, I don’t hate my colleagues and I’ve made friends at work.
- I’m not just working for the money.
- My schedule is flexible.
- I’m not forced to work on something I don’t agree with.
- My feedback and input are recognized.
Don’t agree with 2-3 statements? Talk to your employer. You’ll be surprised by how open they can be.
Can’t identify yourself in most of the situations above and you just dread going? Plan your way out right now. There’s no way you’ll keep this up and stay sane. I’m highlighting this because you might be tempted to just hope for something magical to happen.
Win the lottery and quit, receive an amazing proposal from another company, get a new boss… All these are very rare and waiting for them will only aggravate your issues, potentially causing serious mental health problems like severe depression and burnout, both of which are much harder to cure than prevent.
This being said, think about the small steps you can take starting today for a happier and healthier life. For your own good. Look at new job ads, plan out your next business venture, look into freelancing, anything that’s right up your alley.
I’ll tell you what I did even before I started work. Let me know if you’ve also been in this situation. I had trained to become an English teacher for years. Approaching my graduation I realized I didn’t want to go every single day to the same school and teach the same things over and over again. If you’re like me and have multiple hobbies you constantly switch between you’ll know what I mean.
So at the end of my 2nd year, I put an end to my possible future misery and switched career plans. And honestly, it was all so easy. First, I came up with my career must-haves [in my case flexibility, working from anywhere around the world, and a possibility to experiment with different fields of interest and industries]. Then I tested out a couple of options I had [HR, marketing, and UX design in my case].
And what do you know? In a couple of weeks I was already taken and set for a new challenge. Of course, I also had my regrets like “Why didn’t I think of this earlier?” or “I shouldn’t have wasted my time.” but these thoughts we’re always covered but how proud I was to have made the change. Taking the career path that matches your own needs
All office slack talk aside, it all comes down to pairing a job with the right individual.
Not everyone is the office type. And not everyone wants to spend all day delivering documents in a busy city like New York.
How prepared are companies to adapt to more demands? Very little. I’ve seen companies that were looking for someone to work from their office and others who were hiring remotely BUT ONLY PEOPLE FROM SEATTLE. How is that really remote work?
As humans, we have multiple needs and frankly, all of them need to be met in order for us to finally say “Yes, I’m happy with my career choice!”.
Here are a few of the reasons you might not exactly enjoy your current work:
- Low wage
- Not receiving appropriate training to do your job
- Not having your worked recognized
- Following a boring routine
- Unreasonable office policies
- That boss who needs to report to another boss and another boss in order for you to take a day off
- A team bonding experience that just isn’t happening
- No one to talk to
- Putting in after-hours without a pay
- A lack of professional development opportunities
- Stressful demands, deadlines, and clients
- Fixed schedules
So what are your options?
If you’re reading this and haven’t yet picked a career, you’re in luck. You probably haven’t experienced any of these problems and have no idea what I’m talking about.
Already part of the workforce and struggling? There’s always time for a change.
In both cases, you simply need to be aware that you’re not bonded to a job that society deems as standard. Heck, you don’t even have to do an office job in an office.
People always have at least a general idea of what would make them happier. They’re just too afraid to actually make a switch. Afraid they’ll lose money, afraid they’ll lose relations, afraid their life will turn out worse.
Just like a certain city, lifestyle, fashion style, or even food is right for one person, there are also jobs that are better suited for some. I’m not into office jobs. You might not be into the remote work life I found solace in. Not all introverted people want to work from home all the time. And not all extroverted individuals will find the freelance life easy.
There are lows and highs everywhere. Balancing your must-haves and your “no way I’m doing this” points is all you can realistically do to envision a better career for you while keeping your overall wellness in mind.
But I’m too young to know what I want…
True. And you might not make the right professional decisions right now. But just remember this in case you ever find yourself regretting your path: You did what was right for you at the time. There’s never time for regrets.
Change is natural no matter how old you are. I mean you can’t expect someone who’s reached the peak of their career [and probably the limit of their nerves along with this] at 50 to bear through the same boring routine for another 10+ years. Even 1 year is a lot.
One idea that I try to promote as often as I can is that nobody ever said we were meant to have one career for our whole lives. As we evolve we change places, relations, hobbies, likings… Why not our careers?
The first choice you need to make is to [you’re clearly not going to choose this since you’re reading] just ignore your mental health or start taking new small decisions today.
Had it with working 8 hours or more each day? People are only productive for 3 hours anyway. Feeling closed in at the office? Evidently office life is not for you and there are so many careers you can do in “unconventional” places. Even yours.
Just know there are thousands of possibilities for you to choose a career path that will help you keep your wellness in check. Freelancing, working remotely, becoming an artist and opening a studio, even going for the regular office job but with lots of opportunities to travel if that’s something you’re looking for.
Back to you
We need to talk more about mental health at work. Our jobs take up a huge chunk of our lives so inevitably talking about our well-being doesn’t just end with our personal struggles. Jobs are personal issues too.
If you’re feeling down in the dumps it might not be what you ate or how you slept 1 hour less. There’s a high chance you’re simply not happy at work. And the first step to fixing this and show yourself that your well-being is more important than anything else is admitting you’re not in the right place.
So what are you going to do to prevent your life from derailing?