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Job anxiety of just plain old anxiety?
I’m struggling really badly with anxiety at the moment and I can’t tell if my job is causing the anxiety, or my anxiety is making me think it’s my job. To give a bit of context, I left university and walked into my dream job. It was rewarding, enriching, and interesting, and I managed to find the warmest people in the world there, who accepted me for me and made me laugh all the time. I was there for 7 years but people left and things changed, and I decided to have a minor career change (I wanted to work from home and thought I’d like more money). Since then I’ve struggled to find my niche. A few years ago I found another company I liked and stayed for 5 years. But my manager left and they never replaced him, so work just kept getting busier and busier. My old manager contacted me and told me about this job, more money, working remotely for a team in Japan. I started at this job 6 months ago and since then my anxiety has been through the roof. I’m terrified of making a mistake. This is compounded by the fact that Japanese people are very intolerant of anything less than perfection and so make a huge deal over very minor things, such as a full stop in the wrong place. I’m dreading going to work every day even though it’s just in the next room and over email. I’m in a constant state of panic and I just keep repeating in my head “I hate my job, I hate my job”. But I’m unsure if I’m just going through a bad patch and will get through it or if it’s something deeper. At the same time, I’m paid well and work from home and have no idea what else I would do.
Hang in there. Anxiety makes everybody feel terrified and full of self doubt.
If you are working from home, are you going out, exercising, eating correctly, having breaks etc. I know I would find it difficult to be self disciplined with my own wellbeing if I was working from home constantly.
I have been told that anxiety with treatment can be manageable. If may be worth seeing a GP for referral for help with this.
These are difficult times to leave a job but maybe looking for something else may be an option for you. Hard to know unless you can get the anxiety sorted. Are you able to take some leave, a short break may help clear your head.
You sound very competent and hard working. You have studied hard and the type of work you do sounds like something you have enjoyed including the challenges. It’s not unusual to change jobs when things in the workplace change. We all change and develop,
I am sorry to hear you are going through this. You sound like an amazing person with high expectations of yourself. No one is going to be hurt if you put a full stop in the wrong place. You should not take that stuff to heart, that intolerance could be just the way they communicate. Your old boss had confidence in you to tell you about the job. You just need confidence in you.
I believe meditating or mindfulness helps anxiety. Even just listening to calm music. There are plenty of app’s around. Yoga is suppose to be good or anything that clears your thoughts for some peace.
At least try some self care. You are worth it.
There is no doubt that if have a background history of anxiety, an unhappy job can be like a spark in a fireworks factory. In answer to your question, I would say it is definitely your job that has pushed you above your natural anxiety threshold. Of course covid and other general life stressors don’t help.
In my experience, working from home doesn’t suit everybody. I worked from home for five years and while there were a few positives, I didn’t enjoy the experience. It can be lonely, and you aren’t surrounded by human energy. I found you have to discipline yourself.
1. Try and keep strict office work hours. Never work in your dressing gown or pyjamas or indeed , old clothes that you wouldn’t wear to an office.
2. Before you walk into you home office in the morning make sure you have a pre office routine. Shower, groom and dress for work.
3. Set time goals, morning tea at 10. Lunch at 12.30 etc .....knock off at 5. Stick to this regimen as much as possible. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted with housework (especially laundry) or ducking to the shops etc. This can add to your anxiety (I’m falling behind....)
4. Keep your lap top or any other home office gear, out of sight when you’re not officially working. Always close everything down at the end of the day, just like you would in a place of employment.
5. Never be tempted to just duck in to the office at 9 pm, to check on an email or tidy up work. Unless there is an emergency, avoid weekend work.
The problem with home based work is it can blur the line between your personal life and your employment life. Eventually the line becomes invisible and you feel you’re always at work. Some employers take advantage of this factor.
I knew a fellow who felt so strongly about this, that when he was ready for work, he would leave the house, go to a cafe, drink a cup of coffee and return home. He would quietly enter his office without telling his wife and start work.
If you’re finding that your senior reporting line is making unreasonable demands upon you, you may need to look for another job. In my experience there are some cultural barriers that are just to big too tolerate and stay satisfied. I had this experience when I reported into an Asian office.
Thank you so much for your kind and reassuring response. I read it last night before going to bed when I was at the height of my anxiety and you managed to calm me down, your words meant more than you’ll know. I do have very high expectations of myself but I struggle because it just never seems enough in this job and so it plays on my negative thoughts. For example, I always think that my employer is always unhappy with me and so I do well with positive reinforcement. However, you get no feedback in this job unless it’s negative, so it’s all you hear. I have had that explained to me that is a cultural thing unfortunately so unlikely to change. I might look into meditation and begin thinking about a career change, I have been contemplating starting a degree, but don’t want to overwhelm myself right now. I also want to make sure it’s what I want to do before I invest time and energy into it.
Thank you for the suggestion. Part of the problem that I have is my job is project-driven so it’s not a 9-5. If you finish your work 3 days early then you get 3 days off, but that is rarely the case as they load you up so much that you inevitably find yourself getting up early and working until late. All I ever wanted to do was work from home because I have medical issues and it was so hard managing them and having to drag myself into the office every day. But the lack of human interaction is doing my head in right now. To make matters worse, my partner is a bit of a volatile character so don’t exactly get a reprieve there either. I just want to know happiness and stability but it just feels so far away.