5 Ways Your Career Is Making You Sick

Raise your hand if you’ve ever uttered the phrase, “They don’t pay me enough to put up with this crap.” This sentiment is one many of us share.

But it brings about three questions: Is your unhappiness really about the salary you are earning or would you be happy with the same pay doing a different job? Have you ever thought about what all that “crap” is doing to your body, overall health, career, happiness, and your life in general? And why haven’t you done something about it already?!

Many people think that if they enjoy the work they do, they aren’t working hard enough. After all, the only way to establish a successful career is to work long hours and make drastic lifestyle sacrifices, right? Suffering in the here and now will supposedly pay off in the long run.

But what if you aren’t around in the long run to enjoy the fruits of your labor?! Not only does job satisfaction make you more productive and improve the odds of attaining long-term job success, it also makes you a healthier person. Hating your job, and the stress associated with it, can cause actual, physical sicknesses.

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The Ramifications of Hating Your Job

One of the most notable side-effects of a bad work situation is stress. And stress can have a huge impact on your overall health. Doctors estimate between 75% and 90% of all office visits are for stress-related ailments. And stress is in abundance in the workplace; the Occupational Safety and Health Administration actually declared stress a hazard of the workplace.

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There are many health issues associated with stress. For instance, many people struggle to separate their work life from their home life. When this happens, our minds continue to work, even when we are off the clock. Difficulty falling asleep and problems staying sleeping are to be expected.

Our busy workday zaps our energy, making healthy food choices and trips to the gym seem overly taxing. Therefore, it’s no surprise weight gain is quite common among those who aren’t pleased with their work life.

Other stress-related health issues include:

  • Gastrointestinal issues like bloating, heartburn, reflux, stomach pain and ulcers are very common.
  • Frequent illnesses are common among those who dislike their jobs because stress compromises our immunity.
  • Headaches are common with all types of stress, but are especially prevalent in the workplace
  • Depression and anxiety are two cognitive health issues associated with unpleasant work conditions.
  • Stress can cause a decrease in libido and instigate other sexual issues.
  • Unhealthy behaviors, like excessive alcohol consumption and overeating, are common when stress is high.
  • Severe health issues which include high blood pressure, increased risk of heart problems and diabetes are common with prolonged stress.

5 Ways Your Job is Making You Sick

Scientists recently reviewed 79 different case studies that reported a link between physical health ailments and the occupational stressors that cause them. Let’s take a look at five workplace stressors that are proven to cause health issues and the best ways to rectify these situations.

1. Workplace Limitations

How many times have you gotten to the end of a workday, reflected on what you have accomplished, and realized you have very little to show for your efforts?

Unfortunately, many of us can relate to that feeling – the feeling of total frustration and despair at our lack of accomplishments. Our job is stopping us from getting our work done.


Surprisingly, workplace limitations is the number one cause of health issues. You’d think it would be something like unmanageable workload. In reality, our workload is probably manageable if we weren’t dealing with incompetence, interruptions, lack of proper authority, or subpar technology.

What You Can Do: Stand up for yourself – ask for what you need to make your job or workplace more conducive to productivity. Assistance might include anything from a technology upgrade to limiting the number of interactions with counterproductive coworkers (more on that later). Set a meeting with your direct supervisor. Speak up and get what you need to make your job doable.

2. Conflicting Leadership

Ask two people for driving directions to the same location and you’ll probably get two very different answers. Depending on your personal preferences, you can pick the route that offers scenic views or the one that will get you there fastest.

What do you do when you don’t have the option to choose between two conflicting sets of instructions? What if Boss A tells you to design the website red and Boss B tells you to design it blue? It’s understandable that role conflict among leaders is a big workplace stressor!

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What You Can Do: Being the middleman between two opposing people is a challenging situation to be in – and one you shouldn’t stay in for long. Know exactly who you report to and understand the chain of command.

Meet with your direct supervisor and explain the conflict. Ultimately, your productivity will reflect on him; he should be interested in anything that is limiting your success.

If you have two immediate supervisors who can’t seem to agree or you don’t know who exactly you report to, take a trip to the HR department.

3. Counterproductive Coworkers

Physical ailments often result from interpersonal conflict. These can be something simple like a coworker who plays her music too loud or something major like outright bullying.


What You Can Do: In real life, we always have the option to avoid people we don’t like or can’t see eye-to-eye with. However, that isn’t an option in the workplace.

Try handling the situation yourself. Talk with the offensive coworker. Remain polite and courteous, yet state your claim. If that doesn’t work, schedule an appointment with your supervisor.

4. Excessive Workload

No one is surprised this one made it on the list. Who hasn’t been overwhelmed by their workload at least a time or two? It’s also not surprising this situation is causing health concerns. The stress associated with our workload can sometimes seem unbearable.

What You Can Do: If possible, delegate and have others help with what they can. If you can’t lighten the workload, see if you can ease up on the stress associated with it. Prioritize your tasks.

Once the most important things are taken care of, you’ll feel less stressed – even if everything didn’t get check off your to-do list.

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5. Role Ambiguity

Maybe no one really explained your job when you were hired. Maybe your responsibilities have evolved. Whatever the reason, ambiguity of your responsibilities is not fun. Not only is it unpleasant, it is a harmful situation for your health.


What You Can Do: Sit down with your supervisor. Create a specific listing of job responsibilities. Know what is expected of you. Also, ask your superior to help you create attainable goals to help advance your career.

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Make a Change!

There is no reason why you can’t enjoy your job. If you’ve been on the fence about making a change, use this as an excuse. You owe it to your body and your overall health to make your work environment as productive and healthy as possible.

Now Read: The pursuit of happiness