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  • Fear of Work - Ergophobia?

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    Old 10-28-2015, 06:05 PM   #1
    Join Date: Oct 2015
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    Mrsbrightside HB User
    Fear of Work - Ergophobia?

    Hey. I've been typing my feelings about a new job I've just got into Google, and after reading some other posts by others I think I may have an actual fear of work.

    I absolutely loved going to school, then university, and have always done very well academically. I have no problems in any other social situations and infact like going out, parties, anything with people. I have had a few part time jobs throughout uni but it has even become a running joke amongst my friends how much I hate work. I've ended up just laughing along and agreeing but now I think it may be more than that. All my part time jobs have lasted no more than a few months - the shortest one lasting a few hours before I literally bailed and escaped out. At some point during a job i begin to feel as though I am trapped, totally held down by the job and restricted. It made me so anxious where I was dreading going to my shift, telling myself the whole time I'm there that im going to quit, and then conjuring up some excuse to tell my parents as to why I've left - when in fact I've just quit down to this awful feeling (that I know is 100% irrational). I finished uni and started a pgce course in primary ed - enjoyed it for the first month while you were learning things at uni, but on my first day in the school I had a breakdown at the end of the day, told my parents it wasn't what I wanted to do, and quit the course thinking teaching wasnt for me. I had a year off working part time for a couple of months and then I got onto a secondary school pgce course, after convincing myself it was secondary English teaching I would like, not primary school. However the same exact thing has happened again - loved my first month at uni, meeting new friends and doing the course work... But got into my placement school and began to freak out again, thinking it wasn't what I wanted to do, feeling trapped and so I've left a pgce course for a second time. My parents were understandably frustrated at me doing this but as I did a degree in English and Media, I thought my feelings were because I don't want to teach, but went down that route because it's easy to select teaching as a career when you don't know what else you want to do. So I looked for jobs I would like using my degree, and applied for positions creating written content for companies and businesses online (I love writing, reading, etc and I am very good at creating creative writing). I found a relatively local position and applied for it, had a great interview where I gave a presentation, a second interview went well, and I got the job! The weirdest emotions surrounding this however - before I found out I got the job - I was almost wishing I wouldn't get it. Then sometimes I would hope I would, so I'm no longer bored at home and can earn some money. When I got the call to say I'd got the job I was happy and my parents are ecstatic and proud of me. However I've been told to come in for my first day on Friday (it's Wednesday today) and I have spent all day feeling sick, thinking about the fact I'm going to be working 9-5 Monday - Friday every week for the rest of my life now, feeling so anxious, my heart is constantly beating fast and I'm breaking out in a rash on my chest which I usually get when upset or stressed. I know there is absolutely no logical reason for this - it makes me feel ashamed but it's not that I dont want to work....I really do, without these feelings of terror! I can't tell my parents how I feel as I think they would tell me to stop being ridiculous and that I need to realise 'thats life' etc. But these physical feelings are making me on edge, constantly thinking about being at work and knowing il be counting down every hour til I leave, then having this anxiety all night knowing I'm going into work the following morning. A constant cycle. I've never realised this seems to be a real problem until now - because I know others don't feel like this. My friends all have jobs and don't feel this way about going into work. But I feel as though as soon as I'm employed, I'm trapped, restricted, and im filled with anxiety. I don't want to feel this way. I want to enjoy a job. But in one of my most depressed nights about it I have even thought it would be easier to not live than to spend the next 40-50 years of my life feeling like this and having to work. It's not an option I can just not do - you have to work in life, for mostly all of your life, and the thought makes me physically sick. I have honestly thought it would be easier to just not be here than to have to deal with this, when I don't know why I feel this way or react this way to work, and no one around me will understand or believe how seriously anxious and depressed it makes me. I don't know what to do. I have this new job starting in 2 days and I absolutely cannot pack it in. I need to sort my life out and stick in to a job, especially to show my parents I am capable of doing so when they have worked so hard all their lives. I want to be happy myself as well as make them proud. Does anybody know how I should try and deal with this? I don't think this is something a doctor would understand, I feel as though I would be laughed at. It almost seems like a made up problem to get out of working but I WANT to work, but cannot control how I react to employment! I know it sounds ridiculous. But I can't take this anxiety anymore. Any advice would be appreciated. Sorry for the length. I'm from the UK also. Thanks

    Last edited by Mrsbrightside; 10-28-2015 at 06:15 PM.

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    Old 10-28-2015, 06:19 PM   #2
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    Re: Fear of Work - Ergophobia?

    Hi, and welcome!
    I actually don't have too much advice, I'm sorry to say, but if you were my daughter I would ask you, "are you a little afraid to grow up?" because she did struggle with that until very recently (she is 29). Working is "adult" stuff. Going to school.... well adults certainly do it, but it's viewed as "youth" activity.
    I think you should worry less about making your parents proud and focus on what makes YOU proud and happy. I hear that you have a lot of anxiety about this new job. I urge you to simply grin and bear it and allow it to be your fresh start.
    It is possible for you to truly learn to value the "you" that is in the workplace, the young woman who is s team player, who is competent, and who has a good work ethic.
    If you were my daughter, all of those things would make me very proud of you.
    And here's a crazy suggestion. Get a haircut tomorrow! Show up at work a "brand new you".
    Best wishes!

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