Problems at Work?

Work takes up so much of our daily lives. So if work ‘isn’t right’ it can become a great burden. For many of us the experience of work leaves us with feelings of dissatisfaction, frustration, tiredness or anxiety. We may be angry with our colleagues or organisation, burnt out by the demands placed on us, regretful that we always seem to be losing our temper with colleagues or scared and hurt by an office bully.

Do you often find yourself;

– Coming home from work and going over and over the events of the day, perhaps with a partner?

– Lying awake with memories of the day still being replayed or fantasies about tomorrow being ‘previewed’?

– Working late in order to get everything done?

– Feeling isolated and unsupported by colleagues?

– ‘Phoning in ‘sick’ with complaints you wouldn’t take to your GP?

– Using alcohol or other substances to ‘unwind’?

Work was never meant to be like this. The world of work is a stage and our part in this drama is our chance to perform. The role we choose needs to match our personality, our talents and our limitations. Our performance will be magical when we play it fully with energy and grace. And the applause, the accolades which follow naturally, will not only mean financial security but a sense of achievement and satisfaction. This is what each of us truly deserves.

Yet our livelihood may have become a way to play out messages about life we’ve learnt from our families or culture;

Do we hold onto beliefs like – ‘Hard work never hurt anyone’ or ‘money doesn’t buy you happiness’ or ‘Keep calm and carry on’ or ‘that’s not for the likes of us’.

Do we have preconceptions about what work will mean like – ‘You start at the bottom and work hard ‘till you reach the top’ or ‘work is a struggle, no-one likes it, you just have to put up with it’ or ‘If you’re not a shining star (musician, academic, lawyer…) you’re not enough yet’

Do we deny ourselves ‘permissions’ at work like – not taking responsibility, inviting others to set our duties or solve our problems, not taking holidays, not ‘joining the team’ or by saying ‘Yes’ when we mean ‘No’.

You may have met people who knew from an early age that they wanted to be a nurse or a chef or a builder. They have a ‘vocation’, which means a ‘calling’. ‘Vocations’ often include an element of ‘service’ – i.e. the work is about serving others in some sense. There is also often an element of ‘creativity’, whether this is creating buildings, businesses, great art, great food or helping others create their life like a teacher or midwife.

I believe that each of us has a calling. And there is part of us that knows what our true calling is. Work can be exciting, satisfying and rewarding if we take time to discover what that part of us has known all along.

There are some great books and DVD’s out there on creative career design which can help to uncover our true direction. A personal favourite is ‘Zen and the Art of Making a Living’ by Laurence G. Boldt (ISBN 0140195998) or check out Laurence’s website at

Can you see patterns of behaviour at work that seem to be a barrier between your present and the future you truly deserve? Do similar patterns exist in your life outside of work too? Counselling may be of great benefit in going beyond these barriers as part of your creative journey towards your vocation.

If work is causing pain there’s no need to keep doing work the same way. Contact me – let’s arrange a time to talk about your specific needs and how we might work together.