Do you need to get out, or to get over it?

You hate your job. No, not just occasionally, but all the time.  


See if any of the following behaviors fit you:


·        You have The Sunday Blues.


From the time you get up Sunday morning, you have a vague sense of dread about going back to work on Monday. You can push it out of your mind but it lingers there, building in intensity as night closes in.


·        You can’t sleep Sunday night.


In fact, you often stay up late watching TV and/or drinking a little too much. Monday morning you have to drag yourself out of bed.


·        You find faults in people around you.


Rather than seeing their talents or valuing their unique perspective, you look at your coworkers with disdain. To you, they seem to be drones, or sheep, or worse. Your boss gets the most scorn. You are convinced that he or she is hopelessly incompetent, overly political, or nasty in some other way.


·        You may feel a little paranoid about things that wouldn’t have bothered you before.


You think, “My boss always did seem to favor Tom over me. That must be why he seems to be in private meetings with Tom all the time. I’ll bet he’s telling him more than he’s telling me…” Or, you think, “I’ll bet my boss can tell I hate this job…I’ll bet he’s building a case to fire me.”


·        You start to fantasize about doing something else—anything else.


The something is usually not practical or perhaps even possible but your mind wanders frequently to this happy scene of workplace bliss. For example, you may see yourself as a charter fishing boat captain or an ice cream vendor.


·        When you aren’t working, you never talk about work.


While some people adopt this practice as a way of establishing more balance in their lives, you do it because you can’t tolerate the discomfort you feel when the subject of work comes up. It’s bad enough that you have to spend so much of your life there; you don’t want it to poison the part of your life that feels like your own.


·        You watch the clock.


You find ways to be late with an excuse. “My daughter missed her bus and I had to drive her to school.” “I have a doctor’s appointment.” Never mind the fact your daughter got up early enough, or that you could have scheduled the appointment after work hours. At lunch you bolt for the door and escape to a local restaurant or by doing errands. The afternoon drags on, you can barely stand it, and when you can finally leave, there is a sense of relief as you walk out the door. It seems your lungs have filled with air for the first time all day.


·        You don’t attend work related social events.


Good grief, why on earth would you spend time with work people when you don’t have to?


·        You do personal tasks on work time.


Balancing your check book, calling the kids teachers, scheduling car repairs, paying personal bills… Somehow it dulls the pain of being at work, if you can fill some of the time with personal tasks. Even though you hate doing them when you are off work, it seems less of a chore when you can sneak them into work time.


·        When you are on vacation, you feel like a different person.


People comment that you seem happier, less angry, more like your old self. When you are at work, it’s almost as if a dark cloud lingers over you. Vacation time means you won’t have the Sunday Blues for at least a week. You over compensate by partying hard all week.


·        You feel physically sick.


You wake up with headaches. Your body has aches and pains that seem to disappear when you are on vacation. Your stomach is in knots. Your upper shoulders seem tight. Overall, it’s almost as if your entire body is somehow compressed.


·        You are surly with people you love.


The kids annoy you and your wife tip toes around you. You know it’s not fair but you have to let off steam somewhere and they are the one place you know is “safe.” If you let your real feelings show at work, you’d be in trouble. You know that they will understand and love you regardless. Besides, if you didn’t have all these responsibilities, you wouldn’t have to do a job you hate.


·        You feel trapped by your job’s benefits.


You hate the work but the benefits are good. Perhaps someone in your family has health problems and you are concerned that once you leave this company you won’t get insurance again. The benefit package feels like golden handcuffs that force you to stay.


Do any of these sound familiar? If they do, your heart, body and mind are telling you to get out. You may be needlessly trapping yourself in a prison cell for which you hold the key. Explore other options. After you look at other jobs and other companies, you may decide to stay right where you are. But it will be a decision you made, not a decision you avoided. There’s a big mental difference.

Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs. Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 573-1616,, or 
About Joan Lloyd
Joan Lloyd & Associates provide
FREE subscription to receive Joan's article by email

Email Joan to submit your question for consideration for publication, request permission to reprint an article for distribution, or for information about carrying Joan Lloyd's weekly column in your publication, or on your Internet or Intranet site. Visit to search an archive of more than 1700 of Joan's articles.
© Joan Lloyd & Associates, Inc.