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It’s Sunday night. All you can think is “I don’t want to work anymore…”

We’ve all felt like we just don’t want to work anymore. Perhaps it’s Sunday night and the fact that Monday is the next day is weighing on you. Maybe you’re on your lunchbreak and wonder what it would be like if you just never came back. You tell your friends “I don’t want to go to work today” pretty much every day. “I don’t want to go to work tomorrow” is on repeat in your mind every night. But the thing is, no matter you don’t want to work anymore, you need the money.  

This is normal, to a point. Everyone has those days. Sometimes you’ll have days when you don’t want to go to work. Deadlines, stress, workplace politics, the commute, and more all pile up. 

But what if you’re not just done, but done-done. 

You don’t want to work anymore, end of story. 

When you feel this way, it is a bigger issue. It’s going to take more than a pump-up playlist and a Redbull. 

When your work life becomes a crisis, the first place you need to start is uncovering the core issues so you can actually fix the problem and not just the current manifestation of it. 

And you need to fix this. Because you have to work. (I mean this might seem obvious but we have to say it, work is important on so many levels, financially, mentally, and even spiritually).

Most of us are not independently wealthy, and if you are – what are you doing here, go back to your beachfront patio!

Oh ok –  no trust fund available to you? The good news is that you have a lot more options than you think to stop dreading work and start liking your job again. 

Keep in mind, this is not coming from some head-in-the-clouds millennial (despite the fact I am a millennial). I was born and raised in the Midwest. My parents taught me the value of a dollar and a hard day’s week. They broke their backs to provide for us in the oil industry. It was tough, but it taught me work ethic. 

Despite knowing the grim reality of working hard for a living, I believe that work can be improved. You have to do it, but how it feels when you punch in is up to you. You can be grateful for more than just having a job. 

So, what are the reasons you don’t want to go to work tomorrow?

Common reasons you don’t want to go to work

When you don’t want to go to work, I’m assuming that the reason falls into a few different buckets: Work, home, health and expectations. Each of these reasons can play into the fundamental feeling that you don’t want to work anymore. 

You don’t want to go to work because your work environment is toxic

Maybe you need to be working in a more collaborative environment. Maybe constant daily deadlines stress you out. Maybe your boss micromanages you. Maybe you want to see the light of day instead of working in basically Harry Potter’s closet under the stairs. 

When 2020 hit, we all got to intimately acquaint ourselves with the experience of working from home. In a report from Global Workplace Analytics, 77% of workers surveyed like the flexibility of working from home, 69% are satisfied with their well-being and 76% want to continue to work from home after the pandemic is over. 

However, 24% don’t want to continue working from home. If that’s you, you’re likely going to be satisfied with your job once you have in-person company again. 

You don’t want to go to work because your home life is falling apart

It’s probably obvious that your personal life impacts your job performance. It’s not a stretch that job satisfaction is also affected. Stress leaks over from one part of your life to another. If this is you, you have options. If your personal life is making it hard to perform on the job, talk to your employer. 

Here are some things you can do, thanks to Forbes: 

  • Talk with your boss or employer
  • Don’t overshare
  • Set digital boundaries
  • Compartmentalize
  • Look into your companies Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • Take time off
  • Get your emotional needs met

You don’t want to work anymore because your health isn’t ideal

Motivation and energy are inherently linked: you can’t have motivation without energy. In order to optimize your energy, you need to make sure you are taking care of your health. Sleeping enough, eating a variety of healthy, nutrient-dense foods, and engaging in daily exercise is crucial. Get outside, take your vitamins and go for regular checkups. Your lack of energy might not be just because of your job. 

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to go to bed at the same time as your fellow employees, eat the same calories or do the same workouts. Everyone has different needs in all of those categories. Your job should be to figure out what is optimal for your own happiness and performance. 

There is so much information available to help you optimize your food and exercise, but most peoples don’t know where to look for their sleep needs. A good place to start is to research chronotypes. Every person is built to sleep differently– and sleeping in a way that does not suit your sleep chronotype may be affecting your job satisfaction. 

Work myths making you say, “I don’t want to go to work tomorrow.”

If you subscribe to these common myths about what work is “supposed” to be like, it may add to the feeling when you don’t want to go to work. I’m talking about the expectation that work is hard. When you expect something to be hard, you will inevitably be right. 

#1: You think you have to work really hard to make money, and hard work sucks

Hard work doesn’t mean you have a bad time. In fact, one study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology showed that the quality of an experience was tied to the state of flow. The author defined flow state in a later study titled “Beyond Boredom and Anxiety” as “a state of peak enjoyment, energetic focus, and creative concentration experienced by people engaged in adult play, which has become the basis of a highly creative approach to living.” 

The original study found that all of the factors that predicted quality of experience (except for relaxation and motivation) were more affected by the state of flow than by whether the person was at work or in leisure. And the exciting part is that flow states are much more common at work than at rest. 

The takeaway? You may not be relaxed or motivated, but you will have a higher quality of experience at work than potentially at home. It all depends on finding work where you can reach flow state. To get started, you’ll need to put more effort in to get started, flow state give you a chance at higher enjoyment. 

#2: You should feel lucky to have a job at all in this economy. 

I’ll be honest: the current job market is not exactly booming. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the Coronavirus pandemic has caused the unemployment rate to shoot way up, and the economy likely won’t recover until 2030.

However, finding a new job is not impossible. There are good reasons for this. The trend of work from home may continue past the pandemic, in which case you are eligible for more jobs than you usually could because commuting is not a factor. 

Also, there will be a boom in spending after the vaccine has taken effect, as people have been saving their money by staying in and not traveling. Companies will need to hire to meet that surge in demand. 

Plus, a 9-5 job is no longer the only way to make money in 2021. The United States has seen a “startup boom” with many people who found themselves unemployed filing new business applications and going into business for themselves. 

Another facet of self-employment is the gig-economy. By offering their skills on a project by project basis, people can make a full-time living and essentially working for many people. As more people try their hand at the gig-economy, you would think that supply would outstrip demand. However, work for freelancers is also growing, meaning that the industry is ripe. 

#3: Everyone hates their job and dreads work. 

Just no. I bet you know at least one person who likes their job, even loves it. If they can love showing up at work every day, why not you? 

If this is you, try doing a little self-exploration. Journal the following questions: 

  • If you could make money and have fun, what would that look like?
  • What would it be like to make money without stress?

You can’t just say I don’t want to work anymore. Even if you didn’t need the money, contributing to society is essential to a fulfilling life. 

Most people are clear on what they don’t want. That part is easy. But discerning what you do want is surprisingly difficult. We aren’t taught how to know those things. But despite what you might be afraid of, thinking about what you want is best for you and for your employer, too. It’s simply efficient, not self-indulgent or frivolous.

In closing, you may want to start with the following three questions:

  • When you close your eyes, where do you want to go or be?
  • If you could go back in time, what career would you choose?
  • If you could find a job without the interview, what would it be?

 

References:

Csikszentmihalyi, M., & LeFevre, J. (1989). Optimal experience in work and leisure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56(5), 815–822. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.56.5.815

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Beyond boredom and anxiety. Jossey-Bass. 

Dresdale, R. (2017, June 28). Millennials, stop letting personal issues impact your work. Retrieved February 03, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/rachelritlop/2016/11/15/how-millennials-can-stop-personal-issues-from-affecting-their-work/?sh=3667be212ea9

Kelly, J. (2020, December 30). Game-changing predictions for the job market and the way we’ll work in 2021. Retrieved February 03, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2021/12/30/game-changing-predictions-for-the-job-market-and-the-way-well-work-in-2021/?sh=61adba807959

Levere, J. L., Harris, E. E., Cochrane, E., Rappeport, A., Dougherty, C., Lohr, S., . . . Smialek, J. (2020, June 01). U.S. economy Faces Long-Term RECOVERY, C.B.O. SAYS. Retrieved February 03, 2021, from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/01/business/stock-market.html

McPhillips, K. (2019, March 15). Get to know your sleep spirit animal to time your workouts, meals, and more. Retrieved February 03, 2021, from https://www.wellandgood.com/chronotype-quiz/

What should we do when an employee’s personal problems affect job performance, mood and behavior at work? (2019, December 10). Retrieved February 03, 2021, from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/hr-qa/pages/personalproblemsaffectperformance.aspx