Dreading Work? Here's How to Deal With It (and When to Consider a Change)
Dreading Work? Here's How to Deal With It (and When to Consider a Change)


Many people experience occasional dislike or disinterest in going to work. This is normal. However, if this feeling becomes persistent and interferes with your well-being, it's important to address it. This article will explore reasons why you might be feeling this way and offer solutions to manage your feelings and improve your work experience. It will also touch upon signs that might indicate a need for a bigger change.


Understanding the Reasons Behind Dreading Work

There can be several reasons why someone might not want to go to work. Here are some common ones:


Job dissatisfaction: This could be due to a mismatch between your skills and the job requirements, lack of growth opportunities, a toxic work environment, or a feeling that your work lacks meaning.


Burnout: When work demands become chronic and exceed your capacity to cope, you may experience emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and reduced effectiveness (Maslach Burnout Inventory - MBI [1]). This can lead to a lack of motivation and desire to go to work.


Stress: Work-related stress can be caused by factors like tight deadlines, heavy workloads, or difficult colleagues. Chronic stress can have negative impacts on your mental and physical health, making you feel overwhelmed and disengaged at work.


Strategies to Manage Your Dislike for Work

If you're experiencing temporary dislike for work, here are some strategies you can try:


Identify the specific cause: Reflect on what exactly is making you dread work. Is it a particular task, a colleague, or a feeling of stagnancy? Pinpointing the issue can help you address it directly.


Focus on the positive aspects: Even in a challenging job, there are likely some positive aspects. Maybe it's the camaraderie with colleagues, the sense of accomplishment from completing tasks, or the financial security it provides. Reminding yourself of these positive aspects can help shift your perspective.


Improve your work-life balance: Ensure you have enough time for activities you enjoy outside of work. This helps reduce stress and allows you to return to work feeling recharged.


Practice self-care: Prioritize activities that promote your mental and physical well-being, such as exercise, relaxation techniques, and spending time with loved ones.


Communicate with your manager: If there are specific aspects of your job that are causing you problems, consider talking to your manager. They may be able to offer solutions or adjustments to improve your work experience.


When to Consider a Bigger Change

If you've tried the strategies above and still find yourself dreading work most days, it might be time to consider a bigger change. Here are some signs to watch out for:


Constant anxiety or low mood: Work shouldn't be the sole cause of your emotional state. If you're feeling persistently anxious or low, it could be impacting other areas of your life and might be a sign of a deeper issue.


Presenteeism or absenteeism: Presenteeism is being physically present at work but not mentally engaged. Absenteeism is frequent unplanned absences. Both can be signs that you're struggling to cope with your work situation.


Physical health problems: Chronic stress and dissatisfaction can manifest as physical problems like headaches, fatigue, or digestive issues.


Loss of motivation and productivity: When you dread work, it can be difficult to find the motivation to put in your best effort. This can lead to a decline in your productivity and performance.


If you're experiencing these signs, consider exploring new career options or talking to a career counselor who can help you identify a better fit for your skills and interests.



Feeling occasional dislike for work is normal. However, if it becomes persistent, it's important to understand the reasons behind it and take steps to improve your situation. By implementing the strategies mentioned above and being aware of the signs that might indicate a need for a bigger change, you can take control of your work experience and find a way to feel more fulfilled.