T H E T I M E S O F well -being
UN STRESS Counselor: India
An initiative of the UNCT
E-Bulletin # 2 Feb 2010
Career blues refer to an onset of unhappiness at work. Employees feel that they have
landed on dead-end jobs and their careers are at a standstill. One often feels lost and stuck
in a position that has become boring and lost the challenge that made him/her take it in the
first place. Some compare it with the proverbial “seven year itch”. While others think it is to
do with one’s mindset. Even though employed for a few months, some employees feel a
nagging dissatisfaction with their job, which in turn, causes them to lose motivation to carry
out their assigned work responsibilities.
How do Career blues manifest?
The proverbial office grapevine counting down the time left to retire- years,
Poor health months and days
Dissatisfaction with work TUBB Syndrome (Things Used to Be
Coming late to office Better) is a sure sign too - feeling like the
Increased number of good old days are over
complaints by and about the Stop feeling wanted
person Dismissive and weary of new
Cynicism, indifference and employees with new ideas
irritability Fear of losing identity while
Going to work every day performing in a team
totally unenthused Apprehension that there seems to
Feeling switched off at 30 be nowhere else to go in terms of career
something advancement (“I have reached the highest
Losing sense of focus at work grade”)
Clock-watching, just putting in the hours
waiting to leave the office every day -
The repercussions include a drop in productivity levels and increased stress levels that can
set a bad example across the organization.
Factors responsible for mid-career blues
Mismatch between career expectations and reality
Money: is the prime motivator.
Wanting to change careers/ jobs, but no idea what one wants to do.
Monotonous Nature of Job: can give rise to a feeling of lack of challenges and advancement in career profile, which leads to
stagnation for the employee.
Peer Pressure: In today’s competitive world, a “sit-back” attitude, inability to keep pace with technological changes causes a gap in
skill levels and one may feel technically lagging behind in comparison with peers. At times peer pressure can be due to similar type of
work but varied salaries.
This document has been prepared by the stress counselor at UNCT (India). It is meant for circulation amongst UN staff working in India.
It can be copied, circulated or disseminated after obtaining approval of the UN Stress Counselor (India).
Take steps today to overcome career blues. Your health and happiness depend on it.
Assess what exactly is making you Know and Set Early Goals: It is
unhappy. imperative and requires considerable
o Career Field: Does the work introspection to have a clear career
inherently match with your natural vision early and think of ways to get
skills and values? Does it feel like a closer to your goals. It is much easier
“fit”? to bear dissatisfaction at work when
o Your Current Situation: How does there are goals to be achieved.
your current position make you feel? Discuss your job description with your
Valued? Uncomfortable? Competent? boss: Perhaps ask for a new creative
Incompetent? Excited? Be honest project/ responsibility, or work to
about your needs. Do you have the eliminate tasks that aren't actually
autonomy you require? Is there room your responsibility. A proactive
for the growth you want? Is the job approach demonstrates your
too hard or too easy for you? Is there commitment, which might bring
a problem of working positive results.
with specific Volunteer: spend your
coworkers/ time volunteering. It's
supervisor? Or is it enormously satisfying to
about specific working serve others and could lead
conditions like physical towards other career
setting, location and opportunities by providing
hours? What do you you with new skills and
like and not like about networking opportunities.
your current position? Complete a degree or
Notice your energy earn a certificate. It
levels on the job and enhances your resume,
outside the job. Which tasks energize making you more appealing to potential
you and which drain energy? employers.
o You: Take a close look at yourself. Learn from past: While choosing a new
Has this unhappiness followed you career, make sure it leverages your
around from job to job? Can you do abilities and talents. You already feel
more to influence your current role? that your current job is not the right fit.
Leave money out: While you're in the Don't repeat the same mistake. Consult
initial "What do I want to do?" stage, the stress counselor.
take money out of the equation. Gain Experience: in the new job by
Considering money as a factor is the taking classes or doing an internship.
fastest way to quash any dreams or It’ll help you know if you are making
aspirations that might rise to the the right choice
surface. Also, career switchers might Arrange informational meetings with
have to take a lower salary when they people who’ve already succeeded in
start their new career so make sure your new career. Ask them wide range
you are prepared for this sacrifice. of questions to understand both the
Watch your thoughts: Be alert for ideas ups and the downs of the career.
like "I know this sounds crazy, but..." Change attitude: if a switch of careers
So called "crazy" ideas are often sure is not possible. Shift from “there is
signs that you're on the right track and nowhere to go”, to “a promotion does
you’ve uncovered an idea that not entirely tell my worth”
resonates with you.
Consider switching job as a last alternative
For further Information on this and other psychosocial concerns
Please contact the UN Stress Counselor: Dr. Prachi
This document has been prepared by the stress counselor at UNCT (India). It is meant for circulation amongst UN staff working
in India. It can be copied, circulated or disseminated after obtaining approval of the UN Stress Counselor (India).