I absolutely LOVE my current job. I have a supportive department, uplifting coworkers, and an encouraging work environment. I love it, but at some point, work will almost always feel like too much, especially when you’re dealing with a mental illness like depression or anxiety. When you’re struggling with a mental illness, how do you protect your mental health at work?
On average, we spend 40 hours —at least— at our jobs when we work full time. There is a shift towards positive employee experience and creating a work environment that doesn’t make you want to scream, but not every company does that. I know because I’ve lived it.
What’s worse is when they claim to be an advocate for employee experience. If this happens, you’re not crazy. They are gaslighting you. They are trying to convince you that you’re the one that’s unhappy and they have nothing to do with it. And yeah, it suuuucks. Maybe you’re still trying to suck it up. Maybe you’re hardcore searching for a new job and claiming that you have “doctors appointments.”
Whether you’re searching for a new job or gritting your teeth, you don’t have to hate your life. You CAN push through it.
1. They don’t care about you — in a good way.
Why are you dedicating so much time and energy to a company that wouldn’t give two shits if you quit your job? You’re working 60 hours for a boss that doesn’t even care. Stop coming in at 7:00 a.m. Stop staying after 6:00. I know it’s not an option for a lot of people, especially if your boss is Satan himself, but you do not need to put in more effort than needed to do a good job and finish your tasks. And remember, your worth is not dictated by your productivity.
2. Ask not what you can do for the company, ask what your company can do for you.
Back to number one: they don’t care about you. You put in all this work for… what? Because you’re afraid of being a disappointment? Honey child, the only person you should worry about disappointing is yourself. Do the bare minimum, and use the rest of that time for yourself. Take advantage of the services your company provides. Can you get Google Analytics certified? Can you learn more about a department you find interesting? Is there a conference your company will pay for you to attend? If you’re traveling, can you make your return flight to a good friend’s and then pay for a one-way ticket back? Home slice, you are not cheating the system. You are taking advantage of the perks of your job. You’re still doing your work, and you’re betting yourself in the process.
3. Take a walk.
If you haven’t yet, you’re going to have meetings with people you cannot stand. You’re gonna get heated. Go for a walk around the block. Go grab a coffee or stop by the CBD truck. If you’re in New York, you can literally scream on the sidewalk and no one will approach you.
4. Book some doctor’s appointments — real ones.
Look, we all know how hard it is to find doctor appointments before or after work. The same goes for therapy. Book therapy sessions midday. Hey, there’s nothing they can do if this is the only time your doctor can see you. Then you can spend the entirety of the session bitching about work and your therapist will gas you up and get you ready to conquer the rest of the day.
5. Take advantage of the perks.
Gym discounts? Go. Gourmet snacks and drinks in the kitchen? Eat that shit up. Use ALL discounts and take advantage of your health insurance. If you’re stuck working late nights and your company pays for an Uber home and dinner after a certain hour, DO IT. “Oh I don’t want to do tha-” shut up. Why don’t you want to? Remember, they don’t care about you. Let them have to for a night.
6. When something upsets you, apply to a job.
If it’s truly intolerable, nothing makes you more determined to find a new job than hating your job. Glassdoor and LinkedIn can be your go-to sites when you spend hours on a project only for it to be nonchalantly cancelled in a meeting. Take your frustrations out on a cover letter (but don’t write about your frustrations in it. That is not gonna land you a job.)
7. Go to HR and come with the RECEIPTS.
It is not tolerable for your boss to treat you like scum. That is not a healthy work environment. Your health, mentally or physically, should never be compromised at work. If you constantly see your boss come in at 11:00 a.m. and leave at 2:00, note it. If a coworker called you a bitch, write that shit down. If you get zero feedback in meetings but your boss is constantly disappointed, write. That. Shit. Down. Then go to HR. Practice in the mirror or with your work wife if you need to try not to cry or get emotional. You have the facts. You hold the cards.
I know it’s not that easy to work through hard times at the office. Of course, I also know that finding a new job is hard. But you will get through this. You can get through this and anything you put your mind to. You will move past a rough patch at work. And if you can’t, there is a job out there that will be a perfect fit for you, and it’s just waiting for you to apply.