Does your mood change the moment you sit down at your desk? If so, you're not alone, says Mary Rose Remington, St. Paul, Minn.-based author of "Career Quest: A Practical and Spiritual Guide To Finding Your Life's Passion" (Heartwood Publishing, $16.95).
"Having listened to unhappy employees for the past 20 years, I'd say a large majority of American workers are facing a career crisis," she says. "They get that their depression is directly connected to the job."
There are a number of reasons why a person may feel depressed at work.
For many, the depression stems from performing work they dislike day after day.
"Over time, it can't help but result in depression or mental and physical health issues," says Remington. "As one client so eloquently stated, 'I'm slowly drowning in depression because my job is way too small for my spirit and talents.'"
Most employees will tell you they're prepared for new challenges and opportunities, but unless they see the potential for realizing those aspirations at work, they're headed down a one-way path.
"Seeing a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel goes a long way when you're unhappy with your job," says Seth King, a career adviser in Seattle. "If that light isn't there, workers often go about their business simply going through the motions."
Amazingly, King says many of these unhappy employees won't even bother to look for a new job.
"They view their boredom and depression at work as the norm," King says. "They don't think there's a better way."
Often, those same employees place a high value on their vacation time, hoping that it will provide a break from the monotony of their job. But the problem with their job doesn't go away.
"Many workers return from vacation or time off rejuvenated to re-start work on a positive note, but quickly find that it's easier said then done," says King. "You come back on a high and find yourself more depressed than ever within an hour at the office."
For many, workplace depression may be based on one or a series of issues they might have with their boss.
"Many people feel depressed at work because there is judgment by supervisors
and colleagues," says Debbie Mandel, Lawrence, N.Y.-based author of "Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul" (Busy Bee Group, $14.95). "They may also have a feeling of not being recognized or appreciated for their worth."
New parents, recently married couples and others with strong relationships outside the office often find a relationship based on business less than rewarding. If your home environment is fulfilling and full of love, sometimes leaving that environment will make you depressed.
"While there is a sense of safety that many people feel at home among loved ones - feelings of acceptance and security - the reason many people feel depressed when they get to work is work-related issues that they're experiencing," says Kiki Weingarten, co-founder of Daily Life Consulting in New York. "Many of my clients struggle with work-related depression and unhappiness and we work together to resolve issues and come up with alternatives, whether it's new ways to interact with their co-workers, or sometimes realizing that they're in the wrong job or career track."
There are a number of ways to deal with these feelings of depression. Having a positive attitude regardless of how you feel is one way to start.
"You control the situation you're in, even if you don't like what you're doing in your 9-to-5 life," says Sidney Keller, a Boston-based psychologist. "Stay positive by finding new ways to channel your frustration, whether it's through a lunchtime workout or by keeping a daily journal. Doing something as simple as creating a resume can give you something to latch onto - something to give you hope for the future."
While it's difficult to keep a strong sense of self-confidence when things are rough, depressed employees should avoid feelings of inadequacy, especially when they know what they're bringing to the table.
"Become an expert in your niche so that others come to you for advice or help," says Mandel. "Delegate as much as possible and help as much as possible: See yourself as part of a team. It all boils down to perception. It's never the facts, but your attitude about them."
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