Have you ever found yourself in a career slump? Perhaps you've felt burnt out, disengaged, and stuck in job for longer than you can remember.
Realizing that the job that seemed bright and shiny is not all it was promised is difficult to admit; especially when you've put months, if not years of time and energy into getting yourself to where you are now.
According to Statistics Canada, 72.4% of Canadians in 2022 were "very satisfied or satisfied" with their job, while 9.2% were "dissatisfied or very dissatisfied", and 18.5% were "neither satisfied nor dissatisfied" (Statistics Canada, 2023). If you're not satisfied with your career, then it might be time to consider what jobs contribute to the high population of satisfied workers!
The purpose of this blog is to discuss insights, considerations, and possible solutions for feelings of defeat or stagnancy at work.
- Why Your Relationship With Work Matters
- Burnout vs. Misalignment
- Top 10 Questions to Ask Yourself
- Career Quizzes
Why Your Relationship with Work Matters
If you're working full-time, then your job consumes a significant amount of your time. Everyone relates differently to their work and holds different reasons for being where they are. Whatever it is that you do, how you think about work impacts your wellbeing.
Bonde (2008) conducted a systematic review of 16 studies and concluded that perceived adverse psychological factors in the workplace is related to the elevated risk of depressive symptoms or a major depressive episode, however, future research is required to determine causality. Other research has shown the buffering effect that social support has on work stress in the development of depression (Netterstrøm et al., 2008).
Work is a complex and multi-faceted topic that requires more consideration than this blog can provide.
Consider your own relationship with work right now. How would you describe it?
Sure, you might dislike that one co-worker, or have a love-hate relationship with casual Fridays, but how do you feel about your day to day?
Talking with a therapist in a safe, unbiased environment can help you determine whether emotional drain is related to something that might require a change of career, a change in perspective, or if the hard parts of work are connected to something larger that is meaningful enough for you to stay.
If you have a healthy, positive, and secure relationship with your career, you might say:
- You see the purpose in why you do what you do every day
- You feel tolerant or accepting towards the downsides because you're connected with the bigger picture
- You feel fairly secure in your competency
- You're mostly content with how things are
How peaceful does that feel even just thinking about that possibility?
If you've ever experienced professional burnout or experienced job dissatisfaction then you know why your relationship with work matters. It influences your happiness and it can negatively impact your health.
Career Burnout vs. Misalignment
According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), burnout "is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress"... "In the course of employment can make one feel emotionally drained and unable to function in the context of work and other aspects of life."
Symptoms of Career Burnout
- Feeling withdrawn
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Loss of appetite
- Low mood
- Feelings of helplessness
- Difficulty getting started
- Overly cynical or critical at work
- Irritability with co-workers, customers, or clients
- Lack of satisfaction from your achievements
- Physical illness
Many factors can contribute to burnout in both personal and professional spheres. Professional burnout might be related to lack of real or perceived control at work, unclear job expectations, dysfunctional dynamics at work, work volume, and otherwise work-life imbalance.
Speaking with a mental health professional or career counsellor to explore what's causing these symptoms can help you develop feasible solutions or determine if symptoms are an indicator of a larger shift in your career. Book with one of our therapists here.
What if nothing changes?
Let's say you've addressed the contributing factors to burnout, you've set better boundaries with work, practice skills for emotional regulation and mindfulness, and otherwise feel like yourself except for the demotivation and disconnection from the work itself. It's possible that your feelings are stemming from a misalignment in your career values!
People, geography, needs, interests, and relationships change throughout life. It's not uncommon for people to want to change their careers.
According to a CBC article, those who make career changes are happier with the change 90% of the time. It was also suggested that 38% of 1,023 full-time workers across industries had made a career change at some point, and 35% were either in the process of doing so or had contemplated it based on a poll conducted by Indeed Canada (Weikle, 2019).
Career Counselling Quizzes
Below are a list of quizzes that could help you develop your ideas about next steps further, discover more about your personality, and get you thinking about what you should seek out in your next vocation. The standardized tools are at cost.
Consider reviewing your results with a career coach, career counsellor, or licensed therapist if you need guidance making changes.
- The Motivational Appraisal Personal Potential (MAPP) Career Assessment
- Values Assessment
- Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI)
- 16Personalities (free)
While your therapist can help you work through thoughts, feelings, barriers, and other concerns related to your career, you may also reach out to a professional who specializes in Career Counselling at Canada Career Counselling.
Top 10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Changing Careers
- What is most important to you in this life? Describe your goals.
- Do you prefer to work alone or with others, or both? In what contexts?
- What topics are most engaging to you?
- What skills, talents, or competencies are you most proud of? What makes you feel happiest, most accomplished, or motivated in a job?
- What do you know you're not looking for in the next job?
- What kind of income does your ideal lifestyle require?
- What does success look like to you?
- What matters most to you in a job?
- What can you practically do now (e.g., next week, month, year) to achieve your goal?
- How will you overcome self-doubt and other barriers when pursuing career changes?
- Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. (n.d.). Career Burnout. Retreived from: https://www.camh.ca/en/camh-news-and-stories/career-burnout#:~:text=Burnout%20is%20a%20state%20of,and%20other%20aspects%20of%20life
- Bonde, J. P. E. (2008). Psychosocial factors at work and risk of depression: a systematic review of the epidemiological evidence. Occupational and environmental medicine, 65(7), 438-445.
- Lancia, G., Reviewer (2021, September 27). 14 Career Counseling Assessments and Tests for Your Students by Latif, S. Retrieved from: https://positivepsychology.com/career-counseling-test-questions/#assessments
- Netterstrøm, B., Conrad, N., Bech, P., Fink, P., Olsen, O., Rugulies, R., & Stansfeld, S. (2008). The relation between work-related psychosocial factors and the development of depression. Epidemiologic reviews, 30(1), 118-132.
- Statistics Canada. Table 45-10-0088-01 Job satisfaction, by gender and province. Doi: https://doi.org/10.25318/4510008801-eng
- Weikle, B. (2019, Nov 26). Most Canadians who switch careers are better for it, survey finds. CBC News [Business]. Retrieved from: https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/canadian-career-change-1.5370391