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Why Your Dream Job Has Turned into a Nightmare and How to Fix it

Does it seem to you Sunday evenings come round waaaay too fast?

How do Sunday evenings make you feel?

Are you starting to feel that tightness in your chest making it hard for you to breathe?
Are you feeling a bit sick and not sure you can eat your supper?
Are you dreading the fact that it’s Monday again? Again.

Because Monday means going to work.
It’s not that you don’t like work.
It’s what’s associated with it.

If you know that you’re not going to sleep well on Sunday night because your brain is going into overdrive about how to best handle “the person who shall not be named” whose sole purpose in life appears to be directed at making your life miserable, how does that affect how you show up on Monday morning?

Mondayitis can affect anyone. But the burden of trying to deal with the dread, the fear of being ignored, shouted at, or called out for being a mistake can be overwhelming.

You’re human right? And being human, if you’re being treated with what you consider a lack of respect, empathy or compassion or that you’re being picked on unfairly for no good reason, it hurts.

You’re probably wondering how things turned out this way.

When you applied for the job, it all seemed so perfect. 
It was the perfect role for someone of your credentials and expertise. 
You knew you could do great work in this position and were so happy to be advised you were the successful applicant.

So how did your dream job turn into a living nightmare?

Was it the first time you were called out in front of your manager for making a mistake, in front of the rest of the team?

Was it the deliberate oversight in your name being left off the general invitation to after-work drinks?

Or was it the day after you had worked all night to complete a piece of work for your boss only to be told the next day, it was no longer required and tossed straight into the bin without being looked or thanked for the time and effort you had put in.

You’re constantly exhausted by the effort you’re putting in just to survive in the toxic environment.

You’re wondering how much longer you can put up with all this, despite the work itself being great, and the wages fair.

You’re worried that if you were to quit, it would be hard to find a similar role with the same wages and you’ve got a family to feed and a mortgage to pay.

But it’s hard to focus or to keep your emotions in check when someone is deliberately taunting and targeting you.

You probably know too, that not addressing this, is not only keeping you stuck and small, but the risk is also you might one day just “snap”.

Just like Will Smith at the 2022 Oscars, who probably didn’t attend the ceremony expecting to slap the compere for making an offensive and deeply hurtful comment about his wife.

But clearly his red button was pushed, his outrage at the hurt inflicted on his wife leading to an unexpected outburst of anger.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

You’ve worked so hard to get to this position, you’ve sacrificed so much along the way. All you’re asking for is to be recognised and appreciated, even in a small way, to make it feel it’s been worthwhile.

 

Acceptance matters.

Acceptance in its purest form is about recognising a fellow human seeking respect and permission to stay safe. You are a social being and as such, hardwired to connect and experience a sense of belonging.

Belonging is about feeling safe.

You feel safe when in the company of those you perceive as being like you, that you believe like you, and you like too.

That safety extends into the workplace where you know it’s safe to speak up, to ask a clarifying question or to share an opinion without the fear of being judged, ridiculed, or humiliated.

Amy Edmondson popularised the term of psychological safety when her research uncovered that in a hospital environment, the most effective teams weren’t necessarily the ones that made the fewest mistakes. It was the teams who felt safe to own up to when a mistake had been made and to then work together the resolve it and move forward.

 

Psychological Safety is everybody’s business.

The solution to working for horrible bosses or toxic colleagues isn’t as hard as you may think.

It may include working with a mentor or coach as a trusted guide. Someone who gets who you are, understands what you stand for and what you seek, and will continue to support you in your quest for safety in your workplace, to speak up and share

You know there’s nothing “wrong” with you. You have the smarts, the capability, and ability to raise the bar for higher psychological safety for yourself and everyone else at work.

This is about creating your Teflon shield to help you deflect those wounding comments and snide remarks.

If you’ve heard the saying “People don’t leave a job, they leave their manager” what is it about your situation, that you recognise as a psychosocial hazard? What can be improved on, by addressing those hazards in small, yet meaningful ways?

Because when the outcome is that,

  • Now you can relax again on Sunday evenings, happy it will be Monday tomorrow.
  • Now you’re looking forward to going to work, because your work is challenging, exciting and it feels you are making a positive contribution.
  • Now you get to hang out with your other amazing colleagues who you get along with really well and consider as friends.

Then you know, you’ve contributed to making work, work better for everyone. Raising levels of happiness, productivity, and a desire to cooperate more.

Psychological safety at work is everybody’s business.

Is having a voice, being able to speak up, and be acknowledged for the good work you do, important to you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Hit REPLY and let me know.

 

Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and board-certified lifestyle medicine physician, keynote speaker and best-selling author. Her new book Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life (Wiley) is now available for purchase.

If thriving in life and work is something you’d like to find out more about, please contact me to set up a time for a chat.

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