For 12 years I worked at a job I hated. I started this job at 19 years old, and loved it because it paid well. As my wife and I started having children, the job got harder to deal with because of the odd hours.
The job required me to wake up at midnight every night; the odd hours definitely affected my health. There would be activities at our kids' school in the evening, which meant I would only get three hours of sleep a night. I did this for 12 years.
The odd hours also affected my weight. To stay up I would drink a 44-ounce serving of Mountain Dew every day, along with eating a lot of fast food. This lead to my gaining 170 pounds.
Most of us spend 40 to 60 hours of our week working. Whether or not you realize it, spending that much time somewhere affects your health in ways you probably don’t think about.
Especially if you’re at a job you don’t love. There are only 13% of us who love our jobs, according to The Washington Post. Here are five ways your job could be affecting your health.
1. It can be adding stress.
Life is already stressful, so when you compound that with a job you don’t love, your stress level goes through the roof. When you spend that much of your week in a stressful situation you better believe you'll bring some of that stress home.
The list of health problems stress can bring is too long to list here, but it’s safe to say that if you spend years in a stressful environment, you could be taking years off your life.
2. It can be fostering bad habits.
Eating at odd hours, and eating mostly junk food, led to weight gain for me. Eating that junk food became a bad habit that I carried home. It led to constant snacking, even on my off days.
Other bad habits could include a lack of patience, moodiness, and a quickness to anger over little things. Spending extended hours, and years, with these bad habits will affect your health.
3. It can be keeping you from getting enough sleep.
Sleep is one of those things we know we need, yet don’t get enough of. A lot of the reason we feel the way we do can be attributed to how much sleep we get. The reason you might not have enough energy for the day could be a lack of sleep.
If you're working long hours or odd hours, your job will be affecting your sleep one way or another. You’re either not getting enough, which is bad, or you’re getting too much because sleep is your escape. Sleep problems lead to health problems.
4. It could be making you complacent.
Life is short, and time is the one resource we’ll never get back. We have to live each day each day as if it were out last. When you stay in a job you don’t love for years on end, you’re training yourself to settle for “good enough.”
You lose those big dreams you use to have, and end up settling for a life that will end in regret. Please don’t ever be complacent.
5. It can be affecting other areas of your life.
We have 168 hours in a week. If 40-60 of those hours are spent doing something that makes you miserable, you will be miserable for more than the hours you work.
You’ll be stressed, you’ll pick up bad habits, and you’ll lose your motivation and zest for life. Slowly your happiness will be drained, and you’ll have health problems.
Leaving a job you hate is easier said than done, especially in this job market. I get it. However, if you start the process today, you can start the healing process, and get one day closer to finding a job that brings you joy.
We live in an incredible time when the Internet and social media have created amazing opportunities to earn income. What you’re looking for may be online. If it’s not, identify a job that would make you happy and start putting a plan in place to land that job. You can do this.
Once I left that job I hated, it took a year to heal. After the healing, I was able to dream again, and I made those dreams my reality. Life is good, and can be for you, too. Don't settle.
Have you ever had a job that affected your health? What was it like? What did you do?