Author.. Nans Stephens 2017
What is This Anxiety About Work All About?
Have you developed an anxiety about work? Was it due to fear, a past traumatic experience, uncertainty about job security? These are question that have often plagued the consciousness of employees worldwide.
As an ex employment consultant (10 Years) I have seen many job seekers breakdown for many reasons. Low Self-Esteem, Depression, Anxiety and Fear lead the way. In some cases there reasoning was due to more complex barriers.
Complex Barriers That Create Anxiety About Work.
- Being Homeless.
- Periods of Grief.
- Re-entering the workforce after incarceration.
- Drug and or Alcohol Abuse.
- Unsound Mental Health.
- Lack of Education.
- Language Barrier.
These issues required the intervention of qualified personnel. Such as social workers, educators, counsellors, parole officers, and health professionals.
Anxiety about work can come in many forms. In my experience these are ten of the most prevalent scenarios of anxiety in the workplace today. Is your work related anxiety in this list?
Top 10 List Relating to Anxiety About Work.
1. Social Anxiety and Depression.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association Of America (ADAA). Social Anxiety accounted for 6.8% of the US population (15 million People). The Numbers are similar for Major Depressive Disorder.
In extreme cases, social anxiety and depression stopped people leaving their own home. The fear of leaving your own home was so great, that it caused a panic state of emotions.
The effects of social anxiety can be overwhelming in a customer service industry. E.g. retail; call centres, restaurants or anything sales orientated.
Current research suggests that some types of employment that suit socially anxious people include. Self-Employment, Working Online or Home based employment.
Also being in a creative work environment is also known to be therapeutic. You may wish to venture into Music, Art, Writing, Working with Animals or Gardening.
Either way try to discuss the anxiety issue with friends and family. Be yourself, read self-help manuals on social anxiety and learn to face your fears by keeping at it.
The good news is that with support and understanding. Socially anxious jobseekers actually made great employees. As they grew more confident facing everyday challenges. This also helped overcome depression at the same time.
2. Personal Attack.
Harassment, Discrimination, Bullying,
Work Related anxieties may develop when you have been the victim of a personal attack. This may have occurred either in the past; present or knowing that someone is planning this in the future.
i) Harassment, e.g. Sexual Harassment.
ii) Discrimination or the Fear of Social Stigma. Where you are typecast into so called minority groups. Due to Mental disabilities, Physical Health, Ethnic and Cultural backgrounds.
iii) Bullied. This kind of attack may come in the form of mental, physical or verbal abuse.
Whatever form your personal attack comes in DON’T ignore it. There are lots of cases where the FEAR of speaking up ends with a tragic result. Discuss with your employer immediately or seek legal advice.
In most cases the attacker had the problem. He or She was either escorted away from the premise or the issue resolved.
3. The New Job.
Interviews – Returning to work- or your first job?
Not only is getting through the interview nerve racking enough! But for some, returning to work after a long period of unemployment can be quite daunting. For the first timers you can expect a bag of mixed emotions.
If interviews are your anxiety demon then try this. Educate yourself about the company and prepare some questions before hand. This will put you on common ground, reduce anxiety and shows your interest to a future employer. Do your best to dress and smell nice.
Returning to work or your first job. Be prepared to adapt to workplace routines, rules, regulations and learning. Remember you’re the new recruit. Expect to have management eyes follow you.
Either way it’s a process of one step at a time. Don’t let it consume you. Once your settled in you will find your anxiety about work in the new job diminish. Connect with your work colleges and be part of the team.
4. Work Safety Fears.
I’ve added this for the obvious. Avoid Accidents with Proper Care.
For most parts of the world, work safety regulations are high on the agenda. But don’t always take it for granted that it’s safe. Assess it for yourself.
Think about your safety. Don’t do a job if you feel that you’re either not qualified to do or unsafe. And don’t feel pressured! Into doing something that doesn’t feel right to you!
A News Release in October 2016 by the U.S Dept. of Labor reported 2.9 million non-fatal injuries. 4821 Fatal in 2014.
Don’t be a statistic. Remove you anxiety about work safety by speaking up. Speak to your employer or Safety officer. Remember! It’s nice to come home safe and well.
5. Fear Of Losing My Job.
According to The International Labor Organisation. Global unemployment may rise by 3.4 million people in 2017. Currently there are 200 + million people unemployed worldwide.
The anxiety and fear of loosing your job relating to Company Setbacks is worldwide. There is no easy answer other than looking for alternative employment. And yes the strain on family and finances can be traumatising.
But the fear of loosing your job can also relate to other factors such as poor mental health or disability. Not being in the right frame of mind or recovering from an injury. Whatever the reason this can impact your performance. In turn it may also jeopardise your job.
Unresolved mental and physical health issues may increase your anxiety about work. In some cases you may be placing others at risk. Especially if operating machinery.
Don’t let this go unresolved. It is time to speak to your employer and seek advice from your health professional.
6. Balance Work and School Hours.
It’s always nice to see places of employment promoting work life balance. I’m such an advocate of this. Times have changed and alternative hours to employment are available. But working 9-5 still holds its weight.
Unfortunately it’s not always easy to find the right balance. Singles with no responsibility have the upper hand here. But if you’re a single parent or if you have found your-self to be the sole provider, can be quite overwhelming.
Getting to school on time to drop off and pick up the children. Leaving work on time. Getting time off during holiday periods to look after the kids. The cost associated with before and after school care.
Oh the list can go on and on and if you have a special needs child this can be quite enduring. I have seen many a stressed and anxious parent in my time break down.
Yes it’s a balancing act and one that needs consulting with your employer. Parents need help to balance their work and home life.
7. Is This Job For Me?
Not long ago I asked my father (84 years old bless him), this question. If you could go back in time what job would you have done? His response, I would love to have been an artist. Paint and Draw. (Dad worked the metal trades with art being his hobby and love.) I asked my father why didn’t you. He replied I had a family to look after and bills to pay.
I guess a lot of us can relate to this story in one way or another. If circumstance allows you to, follow your passions and do it. If not today then do what it takes to put you in the right direction.
An Article by Heather Long for CNN Money reported that! The Millennial’s (ah the fearless ones) would have changed their job 4 times by the age of 32. The average job change in a lifetime is 7.
You see to go through life not doing what you like may be one of the greatest regrets we will have to face. To hate what you do day in and day out will only lead to more anxiety about work and emotional pain.
8. Anxiety And Stress Of Not Getting The Job Done.
Oh here we go and yes I’m sure we have all been there. The sleepless nights, waking up in a panic about the next days work. Here comes that sinking feeling in your gut when your superior approaches you the next day. Asking the deadline questions of, Have you? Where is? Or did you?
Regardless of your occupation, there will always be a degree of stress associated with it. How you approach these issues is what determines your levels of anxiety about work.
Priorities, be realistic about meeting targets, preparation, delegate certain tasks if you can. If you have to bring work home to prepare for the next day then set aside time. When at home let your family know of what you have to do. But don’t neglect them.
If you feel that you are not going to finish something on time then say so. Don’t wait to the last minute. Remember communication is key always.
9. Work Relationships. 3 Categories.
Bad work related relationships are not uncommon and can be quite shattering. Especially if you lose your job over it.
i) Family/Work. Bringing personal life problems to work.
This isn’t about the average relationship discussion amongst fellow workers. Oh no! This is where heated arguments occur over the phone. The exchanged of many hate emails. Even having the other party coming to your work place. Awkward! Please if your relationship is that toxic you need to seek professional guidance.
ii) Internal work colleagues. Problems amongst work colleagues are not unusual to say the least. All places of employment would like to see harmony within there company. If you cant resolve issues amongst yourselves, then its best to go to your manager.
iii) Office Affairs. Ok! People have found their partners in the workplace and it’s all worked out! Cool. This is not about that. Having an affair with your co-worker may lead to problems.
People will find out and once the word is out it will spread like a virus. The backlash from gossip amongst other employees may result in relationship breakdowns. This can result in a job loss and a huge amount of stress and anxiety to go with it. So keep your libido under control and think before you..?
Yes the problem of actually getting to work due to transport issues can cause grief and anxiety about work. If you have no licence then this can also impact job options.
i) The fear of driving – you may have access to a car but actually using it is another thing. The fear of driving, like all fears may cause anxiety leading to panic attacks.
ii) Living in remote areas with limited public transport. And in some cases not available.
iii) No Vehicle. Problems of getting to work and job options.
iv) Suspended from driving due to traffic violations.
Not having transport, and or drivers license can impact job options. Its a concern and not always easy to resolve. It’s case by case assessment. Moving closer to your work or alternative types of employment may have to be ventured into.
Well there you have it. My top ten list relating to anxiety about work.
I no longer work as an employment consultant but will say this. As hard as it was, the gratitude of seeing someone you helped change his or her life for the better is priceless. I hope that this article has helped you identify your anxiety about work.
To your health and wellbeing.