This work stress article is about the stresses of being trapped into work by an overly-good package.


Sometimes being trapped in a job you hate because of the pay and benefits can be just as much of a prison as struggling to make ends meet. It can be a very deep source of stress.

So – you have work which is highly remunerated, or comes with a fantastic benefits package, and you worry that if you leave it you will never be able to find anything as good. So you stay, and you feel stressed and stuck. What to do?

First things first. Look at why you are stressed. Make a full list of all the things that are great about the job. Things you enjoy, things you see as benefits. Now list all the things you hate and why. Why are you stressed? Is there something about the actual job you don’t like that you might be able to change? Do you just hate this work and yearn to do something else? Is it that you do quite like the work after all, but you really hate the idea of not having a choice? Why are you stressed?

Then, look for action. Is there anything you can do within your job to make it more enjoyable? To ramp up all the things you love? Are you really just bored? Do you need more challenge or development? There are usually opportunities to expand your horizons within work. Is there a situation you could resolve which would make you love it again? Try to reconnect with the work. Remember why you are there in the first place and the things that you enjoy about it.

Now, if you have exhausted all the options within work, you need to next look at the escape plan. Is there a time limit on this? How far from retirement are you? Or your next holiday? Be realistic. Coaching is all about making life better now,> but, if you have 6 months to the life of your dreams, deciding to stick with it and make the most of it is not such a terrible choice – find ways to enjoy your time and you may not want to leave after all.

But……20 years to retirement? Maybe not. You need to figure out very carefully what you want. Come up with a plan. Any plan that you devise, that is achievable will immediately pump you up a bit more. As a project worker, I know that most of my assignments are time-limited, and there have been days when I have had to grit my teeth and say ‘Today I am going in to….’ and set a goal. Sometimes even if it is just to make my salary today it’s motivating, because that brings me one day closer to my future goals. Know why you are there. Know how long you will be there.

Then finally, look at alternatives. Can you get a better deal elsewhere? Would this be better for you? Why? This kind of problem, (if not really another disguised form of work stress – see the rest of the series), is usually one for people who have been doing a particular thing for a long time, and are jaded. They just need a change. Is there any other way you can get the change you seek? Sometimes just a really good long holiday or a sabbatical can work wonders. Even an absorbing hobby which brightens up your life outside work might do it. People need variety.

Is this your problem? Did you find this article useful? What have you tried to over-come these particular work blues? Leave a comment below.