Do you wake up in the mornings with a heavy feeling of dread and apprehension in your stomach? Does the work day drag on as you count down the minutes until 5pm? Does your time at work drain you? If so, you are not alone. In fact, a staggering 20-40% of people report that they dislike their jobs.
So how does hating your job affect your life?
Believe it or not, hating your job can actually impact your body in several critical ways. First off, being in a constant state of stress can significantly compromise your immune system over time. A weak immune system may leave you more susceptible to minor illnesses, like colds or even more serious illnesses, like heart disease. Work issues can compromise sleep as well. Many people who experience job stress or dissatisfaction reported that they have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking up. Work dissatisfaction may also lead to weight gain, especially for employees who stress eat lack the motivation to exercise. Increased stress also causes higher levels of cortisol in the body, which makes it difficult to shed any extra pounds.
Unsurprisingly, decreased job satisfaction significantly compromises mental health, particularly depression and anxiety. A number of studies have found strong correlations between job dissatisfaction and symptoms of depression, anxiety and overall subjective well-being.
The majority of us spend a large portion of our days, weeks, months, and years at work. Our jobs take up a huge portion of our time as well as our physical and mental energy. If work doesn’t provide us with a sense of fulfillment or personal satisfaction, we naturally feel unhappy, drained, and purposeless. This can take a huge toll on our confidence and the way we perceive ourselves as individuals and as part of society.
The stress and burnout we experience at work not only impacts our mental health, but also affects our social relationships. Many people struggle to not bring work home with them, especially when work makes them unhappy. Several studies have shown links between unhappiness at work and unhappiness at home. Sometimes, loved ones worry when we come home drained and deflated. Other times, our irritation about our work environments spills over at home and causes us to frequently argue with other members of our households.
Whatever the case, this spillover effect means that if you hate your job, you not only may feel depressed or anxious about work, but your relationships may also start to deteriorate. Studies also reported a link between job dissatisfaction and social action. So, if we feel unhappy at work, we may be less motivated to engage in social activities, which can potentially lead to an increase in social isolation.
So how about the people who love their job?
With all of the negative effects of hating your job, what happens to people who feel genuinely passionate and excited about their work? Well, studies show that the “spillover” hypothesis works both directions. This means that people who experience job satisfaction also experience greater overall life satisfaction, happiness, and satisfaction in their relationships. These happy employees also feel more confident and self-assured, likely because their work provides them with purpose and a path to success. Furthermore, researchers found this relationship between job satisfaction and life satisfaction to be causal, which means that job satisfaction had a direct impact on life satisfaction as a whole.
It turns out that enjoying your job really can increase your quality of life. Of course, there are sometimes factors out of our control that impact our jobs and general life satisfaction. However, it is important that we are aware just how much our attitude towards our jobs can impact on other aspects of our lives, too. This research should make us wonder… can we afford not to pursue something we love?