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The “I don’t want to work anymore” feeling can rise quickly and sharply, or it can be like a slow-burn and dawn on you over time. And yes, we’ve all been there.
Over the past decade of my work life (and I’ve had a few jobs), I’ve woken up a few mornings, and the first thought running through my mind was that I didn’t want to do this particular job anymore.
And other times, it was a feeling that came to me during the workday, or it was an intense, angry thought at the end of a particularly difficult day (or meeting, report, or paycheck).
There are many reasons why you feel like you don’t want to work at a particular company, in a specific niche, or in a certain position anymore, and your reasons are valid.
But at times, you may not know exactly why you feel this way (and that’s perfectly okay too!).
Here are the main reasons why you feel like you want to stop working, but first, let’s look at whether work or an underlying issue is actually the problem (before you quit your job – and possibly regret it).
Ask Yourself: Is Work Really the Problem?
Why don’t you want to work? Is it your specific job that’s the problem, the people there (your boss from hell and toxic coworkers), interactions during your work day, or even the industry you work in?
You may also find, on reflection, that you don’t want to work because you are actually facing burnout, and you’re totally exhausted or stressed, which is why you feel like you just don’t want to work.
Perhaps the idea of sitting on a street corner or under a bridge without a care in the world is appealing to you (yeah, we know it’s a simplified fantasy and being jobless and homeless comes with its own set of issues).
So start by identifying whether its work, the people, or your life in general that has you thinking of quitting, giving up, and leaving.
Where is your reluctance to work coming from?
Why Did You Decide to Do What You Do in the First Place?
Do you even remember why you are in your particular career? Was it the only job you could find, did you study to do this work, or did you decide on this job or career because you followed in your parents’ footsteps? Do you work in your family’s business?
Consider why you are doing this job today. Is it to earn a living because you don’t think you can do a different job (and maybe earn as much as now if you have to start at the bottom again), or because you just gave up kicking (and screaming) against the pain a decade ago?
By understanding why you are where you are in your career, you can learn to revalue your job, decide to leave your job, or think about why you are miserable in your job (and take steps to change that and your fate).
9 Reasons Why You Feel Like You Don’t Want to Work Anymore
Humans have an innate need to self-actualize, and it’s rare that we let go of that need and simply live in limbo.
So if you feel like you don’t want to work anymore, you are actually expressing your dissatisfaction with your current career and your present trajectory, and it’s not a case of laziness.
Here are some of the reasons you may feel like you just don’t want to work anymore and dread each morning you have to get ready for work.
1. Work and Coworkers Are Toxic
When you experience poor work relationships with colleagues and bosses, you are likely to feel negative toward the job too. You may also be working in a toxic work environment where there are unethical and mentally unhealthy practices each day.
Do you hate everything about your job? From the hideous color of the blinds in reception to the boss’ ugly coffee mug in the staff kitchen, down to the speed hump ripping the suspension out of your unreliable second-hand car, you hate your job, right?
How to Fix This?
Evaluate whether you are working in a toxic environment with people who don’t really care about you.
If you prefer working from home, discuss the option to work remotely with your employer, or consider changing jobs or moving to a new department to leave a toxic environment or harmful and manipulative work culture.
2. You Don’t Enjoy Your Job or It Isn’t Your Passion
Our needs and interests change, so it’s no surprise that we may lose interest in our jobs or our passion for doing what we do each day can fade.
When your job interest has fizzled, it’s time to consider why you no longer feel like you used to about what you do.
When passion fades, you have to find what has drained away your interest, consider how to get it back, and work on ways to feel sparked by your job again.
How to Fix This?
Once you realize that your heart isn’t in your job anymore, you can consider a short-term vacation to find your passion again. There’s also the option of talking to your manager or boss (or even finding a mentor) so you can find the spark for your job again.
Perhaps research new industry trends or up your education so you can get excited.
3. You Don’t Feel Appreciated at Work
Nothing sucks more than not being seen, heard, or appreciated. While you can tackle the issue head-on if it happens at home, your workplace is more challenging.
If your work environment doesn’t encourage an open-door-policy, you won’t be able to discuss how undervalued you feel.
Knowing you have nobody to talk to about not feeling appreciated in your career can further demotivate you, causing you to want to stop working all together.
If your employer focuses on what you do wrong, neglecting all the things you did right, you are not being appreciated.
How to Fix This?
While you can seek external validation, you can also learn to value and appreciate yourself. Identify what you bring to the table and give yourself a proverbial pat on the back or find ways to reward yourself.
Buy that fancy coffee at Starbucks when you’ve finished a task ahead of time or take an extra 10 minutes and do some self-care.
However… There is nothing wrong with wanting your coworkers and boss to value you. Decide if you want to address the issue and talk to your colleagues about how you can implement a system of reward and value for everyone to benefit.
4. You Have a Long Commute
Long distance travel is draining, and if you have to commute an hour to work each day (or two hours both ways), you will feel physically drained.
Being exhausted can make you evaluate whether this job is even worth it. Remember that if you have a two-hour trip to work and back each day, it means your work day went from eight hours to ten hours.
How to Fix This?
You may not be in a position to just up and quit your job so you don’t have the long commute anymore.
Is there a way you can get some extra work done and leave work early? Or do your journaling and Netflixing on the bus or train? Or maybe get some extra Zzz's?
The other options are moving so you can be closer to your place of work, asking for a transfer (if that’s possible), or requesting to work from home a few days a week and then only going in once or twice for important meetings.
5. You Were Passed Up for a Transfer or Promotion
Talk about a knife in the ribs. You work like a slave, hoping to get a promotion or transfer to a different department, except you are passed over.
When you don’t get a raise or transfer it makes you feel that you are undervalued, which can severely impact your emotional and mental well-being.
Feeling like you were weighed and found not good enough is devastating. It can quickly turn your emotions bitter, which will poison your attitude toward your job.
It can also be a simple matter of economics. If you need to earn more, you have to consider whether you can stay in your current job when you clearly won’t (or didn’t) get the promotion (and pay bump).
Leaving for a better job can become very lucrative now.
How to Fix This?
Apply to other promotion posts, and when you go for the interview, discuss promotion opportunities, and get these in writing. You can also up your skills to make you stand out from the competition.
6. You Are Burned Out
When your body is tired, you sleep. However, when your brain is burned out, it can do strange things that may make you feel defensive and cause further friction.
Consult with a therapist to evaluate whether you have mental burnout and discuss treatment options. Mental burnout is usually characterized by feeling depressed, tired, agitated, unmotivated, and alone.
Even if you leave your job, you will take the burnout with you, which can poison the new workplace.
How to Fix This?
Burnout isn’t easy to fix. You need to make time for self-care and prioritize healthy lifestyle choices, such as getting some exercise (and I know, you are so done for that you don’t want to move), getting quality sleep, filling your body with nutritious foods, spending time with loved ones, and practicing your favorite hobby.
Ensure you spend at least 30 minutes to an hour on yourself a day so you can recharge your batteries. And if you still feel blue and physically and mentally exhausted, it may be time to get professional help.
7. You Have a Fear of Failure
Our instinct when we fail is to run. So if you feel like quitting your job, consider whether you are maybe feeling this way because you secretly fear you will fail.
Fear is a powerful demotivator, and when you are faced with the prospect of messing up, you may feel like you want to quit and give up before you really mess up. The fear of failing can also hold you back from embracing opportunities as these arrive.
How to Fix This?
Face your fears. Consider writing about them in a journal, embracing your concerns, letting them into the light so the bogeyman can scurry back to his hole.
8. You Are Dealing with Mental Health Issues or a Family Emergency
When you are already loaded down with mental health challenges or family emergencies, you can’t give it your all.
The result is often that you end up taking your anguish and frustration out on others. This merely amplifies the toxicity of your work environment (and even home life).
Soon you can’t focus on work, and it’s not uncommon for your physical well-being to take a toll.
When life’s just too much – on all fronts – you feel like you are being pulled in a million little directions. So work will suffer, and there’s kind of no way you’d feel positive about going to work (much less actually getting tasks and projects done).
How to Fix This?
It’s not easy to fully separate your work and personal lives from each other, especially when you’re dealing with so much. Here are a few tips to help you sort this situation:
- Talk to your boss, but don’t overshare. See if you can do with a lessened workload for a few weeks.
- Take a break or vacation so you can focus on your mental health, physical well-being, or your family.
- Carve out time for yourself and do self-care. Remember to be extra compassionate and kind toward yourself.
- Seek professional help if you are struggling with depression, anxiety, or something else.
9. You Hate Working in an Office Environment
I remember hating working in an office, and this is the “I don’t want to work anymore” feelings and thoughts would pop up most often. I’d literally sit and watch the clock until I could go home.
Maybe you relate? It’s not even that the office environment is toxic; it’s just that you are an introvert and sharing an open-plan office with 99 energy vampires (or extroverts) is too much.
How to Fix This?
Some jobs require that you be in the office, and then you may not have a choice but to stick it out or resign.
If you can, ask for an office that’s solely yours (or share with a fellow introvert) so you have some peace and quiet (and a door to close) or request to work remotely – even if it’s only a few days of the work week.
Tips for Leaving Your Job and Finding Your True Calling
If there’s one thing the global pandemic has taught us, it’s that our definition of work environments has changed. After the lockdown and start of remote work culture, we became aware of an increasing trend known as the “Great Resignation.”
Workers realized that they could face an alternative to traditional job roles when they realized the poor dedication of employers to employees, and the idea of quitting your job to pursue your passion suddenly became less scary.
When faced by global mortality, the world realized that work isn’t just a thing you do, it’s something that should fulfill you. That includes work relationships and the job itself.
So if you’ve tried (and I mean really tried) to find your passion and motivation for your job (again) or you’ve realized that you feel like “I don’t want to work anymore” only 5% to 10% of the time, then it may be time to call it quits.
You do need to find your true calling so you can pursue a job that will fulfill you. So follow these steps for leaving your job:
- Step 1: Evaluate your options and see what the financial risk is to you quitting your job. Can you quit now, do you need to find another fill-in job immediately, or do you have savings to tie you over? Or can you stick it out in your job for another 6 months or a year and save so you minimize your risk?
- Step 2: Think about the future and what you really want out of life. While it’s great to live in a fantasy world (for like 5–10 minutes), you have to be realistic. Once you have your goals, you can create an action plan and go after what you really want.
- Step 3: If your soul feels empty and you feel that you are tired of the rat-race or in a dead-end job, then follow my tips to help you find your true passion.
Here are some tips to help you find your true calling:
- Find your true north, inner compass, or ikigai and listen to it. So do some soul-searching.
- Step out of your personal bubble (aka comfort zone). Consider different career paths, especially unconventional ones.
- Continue to learn. Be a student of life so sign up for a course on nanotechnology, creative writing, or tree climbing. Watch a free video about the best travel hacks or attend a comic con conference.
- Be open to opportunities. When a door closes, a window opens, so watch out for opportunities you can grab and immerse yourself in.
- Discover what really matters to you. Identify your values and write a personal motto to live by.
- Connect with like-minded individuals who can help guide you to your calling or life’s purpose.
- Take a risk and leap of faith.
Final Thoughts about “I Don’t Want to Work Anymore”
When you regularly think, “I don’t want to work anymore,” you need to take a pause. Evaluate why you are feeling this way and ask yourself if this is a new feeling or has it been hanging out in your subconscious for a while now.
There are a few steps you can take to find your motivation and passion for your job. But there are also times when things have truly just gotten way too bad and out of hand that your only option is to quit and pursue your passion, true calling, or life purpose.
You know what’s right for you. Here are 19 life purpose examples to help you find your true calling – that is, if you need some inspiration!
And if you want more articles about work, be sure to read the following articles: