View Full Version : ergophobia (fear of work)

06-22-2008, 04:40 PM
Does anyone here know anything about ergophobia? (fear of work) I have a deep fear of starting a new job which has caused me to quit many many jobs after just the first day sometimes. Starting a new job causes me extreme anxiety to the point where I just dont show up to work, or I leave during mid - shift. I have done this many times. I cannot even count how many jobs I have walked out on. I am 26 years old, female, and this is absolutely ruining my life. I began a new job last year and quit after 3 days. I was just filled with anxiety on my way to work so I turned around and said to myself "forget it, I quit." My car was repossessed because I was no longer working, and I quit paying all of my bills when I ran out of money. I live with my boyfriend and his mom and her husband. My boyfriend works full time. After quitting that job about a year ago, I didnt work for a year. I recently started a new job and again quit after 3 days. THEN just a few days after that I began another new job and almost walked out in the first 5 minutes. I lasted the entire day but today... I was suppossed to go to work at 3pm, but at 2:30 I decided to quit. So I just didnt show up. Thats another thing... I cannot handle confrontation, thats why I dont tell them, I just dont show up. A little background information. I have dealt with depression since I was a teenager. I have major self esteem issues, jealousy, and even though I know I am very book smart (A's in everything) I feel like an idiot when it comes to the real world. I feel like I am dumb. I worked 1 day at Starbucks and felt like I could never catch on so I walked out. Anyway, I know this is all kind of jumbled. I tried googling ergophobia but didnt find much on it. I feel like if I had something like xanax I would be ok. I feel that talk therapy would not help with my deeply rooted self esteem problems, but I dont want to come off as someone just seeking drugs when I do to a doctor. Thats another thing. Because I dont have a job, I cant afford a psychiatrist. I just dont know what to do. This anxiety is totally ruining my life. Has anyone else ever experienced this?

06-23-2008, 11:10 AM
I've been working for the same company for six years, but in February last year i left and went to work in a factory which is closer to my home. I never felt at home in the factory and i felt really uneasy because i was the new guy, and being social phobic/anxious/depressive did not help, anyway i couldn't handle it anymore because there was this guy who shouted at me all the time, and i didn't turn up for the night shift the following evening. I was lucky that my boss let me come back to the company i am in. Starting a new job is daunting to say the least.

06-23-2008, 03:07 PM
You might want to talk to you local vocational rehab office, or just borrow some money to see s psychiatrist.

Don't be surprised if finding the right treatment takes a little trial and error.

06-23-2008, 07:25 PM
I think we all fear not doing a good job in the workplace, and if we already have low self-esteem, it makes it hard to take ANY kind of criticism, which we are bound to encounter in a new job (real or perceived). We're sensitized to it.

Being new is really tough sometimes when everyone around you seems to have the job down except you. The thing that we must do is trust ourselves, and know that the people we perceive as judging or criticizing us aren't attacking us on a personal level. For anxious, self-critical people, that can feel almost impossible.

But it's not.

Also, it seems to me that anxious people tend to be highly intelligent and get bored and unsatisfied quite easily, and if we're working at a job that is "okay for now" and not our "dream job," (which we are too down on ourselves to pursue), then we begin to feel like "why should I put up with being told what to do and how to do it? I'm smarter than all of these people put together!"

Sound familiar? Sleeepy, what's your dream job?

10-04-2011, 04:26 AM
Hi Sleeepy

I suffer from the same thing 'Ergophobia' your right there is not a lot on the internet about it is there.
I have had a few jobs and like you have had to leave them, well most of them. There was one job that i managed for a year or so but got made redundant :(. Since then i have been out of work, bad thoughts have been in my head as well as the crippling anxiety and depression that comes with the 'not being able to work'.
With me i would like nothing more than to go to work with out the fear of something bad happening or i dont like to say this but wanting to hurt myself. Every night when i went to sleep even if i was not working i wanted to hurt myself because of the worthless feeling that this condition imposes. All i want is to be able to do what other seem to do so easily.

Its strange, i know what is wrong, i know what i have to do but just cant get over this paralysing fear.
Best i can get it down to is performance of anxiety, or being criticised for my performance.

I have started psychological treatment for this and have improved a little i.e. dark thoughts seem to have subsided for a while, still the odd one every now and then.
My psychoanalyst told me from the get go that i have to get out there and try things for the counselling to work, a sentence that scared me a great deal. I also have a mental health team to help me, I am from the UK by the way.

I dont know if i can get over this but i hope i can.

I have come across a lot of people that dont believe that this is a real condition and just put it down to anxiety or nervousness but it will subside, but it is not. It is a genuine fear of work. How many people want to hurt themselves every time they think of work, not many i wager.

There is nothing more i want then to be working and being calm doing it.

I hope this makes some sense, and that you can relate to this :) also that you read it as i realise you posted over 3 years ago

Hope to speak soon


11-04-2012, 02:16 PM
Hi ABoush

I know exactly how you feel, I have suffered from social phobia for over 30 years and have been bullied at school but more importantly at work over that and also the fact that I have a minor disability, a problem with my neck. It is due to this and the bullying that I started with social phobia.

Basically, I was told by my specialist and doctors to give up work as I just was not coping, to sum things up I was getting a small government benefit but they did some welfare reform and the people that had struggled to work and "earned" too many National Insurance contributions were only allowed to get this benefit for 1 year then they were thrown back to Job Seekers Allowance for 6 months and forced to try and get a job. If no job after 6 months then no money.

The stress of all this has proved absolutely unbearable, the good thing (well good to most people) is that I found a job and am due to start shortly, to me it is like being sentenced to walk off a cliff, well that might be preferable!

I cannot explain the horrific turmoil I am going through before starting this job, it is the easiest I have ever taken on but I am completely petrified at the thought of starting it. I feel sick, shakey, can't sleep, upset stomach, cry most of the time, angry for the slightest reason, so scared of everything I think you get the idea. I don't know how I am going to cope. I have tried counselling, and I have a sister who doesn't want to know. My partner gets the physical disability, but if one more person says to me "oh, it will be fine when you are there", or "don't worry they will be fine with you and don't worry until the day" I will scream at them.

Has anyone ANY suggestions as to how to cope with this because I feel I am literally falling apart with no support.

Thanks and sorry to burden you with my irrational thoughts, but to me they are very very real :(


12-12-2012, 04:11 PM
This thread is over a month old but I feel like adding my 2 cents.

I have similar issues as the ones described by the posters on this thread, I still struggle to some degree.

The WORST thing you can do is focus and obsess about the fact that you have this 'condition' or this insurmountable 'problem'. You are NOT helping yourself by doing this, but instead creating a self fulfilling prophecy for yourself. Anxiety sucks, I know this as I go through the same thing, but I REFUSE to let it control me. You can do this too. My tactics are STOP focusing on how anxious I am, I stop implicitly believing my anxiety gets in the way of everything, ruins my performance, will limit me, makes working unbearable. I start trying to replace or eliminate these thoughts. Its hard, but thinking those thoughts are just making it worse. Its not delusional, its true. I try my hardest to not let anxiety control me, and it works- slowly but surely. I had a couple of jobs a year ago and I BOMBED horribly due to my anxiety and nervousness. I was devastated, and was ready to give up on myself. I was terrified that I would never be able to perform well on the job. Now, I've realized thats irrational, and I have built up several good experiences and am slowly improving my social skills. What helped me most was changing my thoughts.

Stop thinking about how messed up you are!! Find coping skills to deal with anxiety, stop doing the self fulfilling prophecy crap!! Just keep trying, eventually if you change your thoughts, gain some positive experiences, things will improve. It takes time. Just don't give up and stop being so negative and hard on yourself! And don't let the anxiety control you, fight back.

12-23-2012, 04:18 AM
I have anxiety at work as well and was told by a psychiatrist recently that this is really social anxiety. I have a fear of appearing nervous or that my hands will shake. I have pushed thru it for 10 years & always go to work & hold jobs for many years each. This year starting a new job was even harder than usual & after 6 mo I was still feeling paralyzed at work. I finally went to see a psychiatrist and was prescribed a very small dose of xanax. I'm fortunate I only work 3 days a week and thus only take this medicine 3 times a week. It is life-changing for me. After 2 months on the medicine I'm starting to realize my job is even a little boring & routine! I am 50 and hope & pray this will be my last job ever.

05-10-2013, 09:30 PM
I always assumed I was just a loser, even though I am fairly intellgient, I've never been able to hold down a job. What I find compounds the anxiety is having rich friends, people who land the jobs they want, and even though they might not like the amount of hours they work, they still plug along. I just cant plug along. I feel like I am suddenly imprisoned for life and the anxiety and depressive emotions that consume me once i start a new job makes me want to run, or actually run within days of getting the job. So now I have been unemployed for 3 years and the government is making things almost impossible now for me and my daughter, so I am freaking out about how to go about making decent enough money so we can survive. But I cant even get job interviews now. I am at a loss. I have to get over this fear so I can get on with my life. Let my know how you go and what worked for you???

06-26-2013, 08:28 PM
Ergophobia is a VERY real thing. I think the simple fact that there is nto a lot about it on the web is because of the stigma that is associated with it, like alot of mental health conditions. I suffer from ergophobia, and sowly but surely am seeing more info on the web, which helps alot, because I know Im not alone. I think everyones cause/reason for having it is different. But just know your not alone. Your not weak, your actually quite strong for reaching out! By reaching out, you help others! I encourage anyone who reads this to speak up! Find the help you need, dont suffer in silence! Check your state mental health agencies. many states have treatment..meds, counseling etc... and its income based, so in mnay cases its free thru the state. also check around for low cost counseling! May take alot fo calling, but you will be suprised the help some folks will offer. Butmost of all....DONT GIVE UP. There is help out there, it just takes time to find it, and then time to work thru it all. I still suffer, and can not work, but my journey has only begun! Best of luck to you all!

08-16-2013, 09:25 AM
I definitely feel like have suffered from ergophobia, not as bad a some, but I feel like I have suffered from it. I too can relate with the OP, I have bailed on numerous job opportunities. I can't tell you how many times I have not showed up to interviews. Honestly I have never had a "real" job. The only thing I have done that I would consider a job, was when I coached a couple of baseball teams one summer. The last time I got paid to do anything, was when I helped a friend paint, and that was going on 3 years ago. It was a job that probably lasted a week.

I'm not really sure what it is though, because I'm some what social, I don't have problems meeting people or getting along with people. I like to meet new people. Go out and have fun, not a home body. But when it comes to the thought of work, that's when the anxiety and fear start to set in. I guess its the fear of my life revolving around this job and nothing else. Also I think its fear of failing in the work place, and being ridiculed by co-workers. I'm some what of a perfectionist, and don't like messing up. But I've gone to school, dealt with the pressures of college.

Its so frustrating because I know I need to work on it and change my habits. I'm 28, soon to be 29, and its getting the point where change is my only option. I hate being broke, I've pretty much live off my girlfriend right now. The only money I get is from my parents, they've been giving me about a 100 bucks every time I see them. I've lived off students loans for the past 10 years, that's been the only source of income I've had.

Anybody have some pointers, insight, ??