I Don’t Want To Work Anymore: Why & What To Do

Christina J Colclough

By Christina Colclough

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Imagine commuting to work and tackling the same mundane tasks every day. Being stuck in such a repetitive routine might leave you bored, and at some point in your career path, you might find yourself thinking: I don’t wanna go to work anymore!

Tired exhausted fatigue business woman

What is the reason behind this work apathy? Can you rekindle your passion for your current job? I know you might feel overwhelmed and confused now, but don’t worry; let’s explore some strategies to help you navigate this challenging time.

You Don’t Want To Work? – 12 Reasons Behind & Solutions

1. Do You Hate Your Job?

Every night you toss and turn, dreading the return of the 9-to-5 grind? Or do your supervisors and colleagues make you feel suffocated? Even when you work in a supportive environment, you just hate everything there?

If that’s your case, take a breath. Now, here’s the thing: everyone finds themselves hating their jobs at least once in their life. An occasional bout of work blues is normal, but when you start to hate going to work every single day, it’s time to reconsider if that’s the right career path for you.

Here are some of my advice to help you with your self-reflection:

  • Don’t bring any work home: The moment you get out of the office, leave all the worries and uncompleted tasks behind. Your life can’t just center around your work, so apart from 8 hours at the office, try to seek joy in your personal life.
  • Be financially prepared before quitting your job: Resigning from your current position is the last thing I want to mention. But sometimes, it’s the best solution. After all, we can’t spend our whole life with a job that we despise. But before leaving, make sure that you have saved enough money to live, say 3 months, unemployed until you are ready to start a new career.

2. You Feel Lost In Your Job

Business man stressed in office

Let’s face it: Not everyone can define a clear career path from the beginning, and many are just going with the flow. Now, you tend to go off the track and don’t know what you are doing or what you are working for. 

Maybe the financial burden from student loans or living costs leads you to your current job, and you are just doing it for a living without any clear goal for the future. Will I be doing this for the rest of my life? You might ask. My advice for you, as well as many workers I have worked with, is to find your passion in your current job and get everything back on track. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Be grateful for the job: Remember that landing a job that can help you afford to live is a blessing. So, even when you don’t love it, at least learn to be grateful for it.
  • Seek passion in life: If your current job might not resonate with your passion for some reason, go find it elsewhere in life. It’s perfectly acceptable for a full-time nurse to double as a freelance writer or a street musician. 
  • Define your goals: Set short-term and long-term goals for your career path; they are the compass that helps you move forward.
  • Keep learning: When you find yourself stagnant, spice things up by learning something new in your working field. It will not only free you up the bore but also reignite your motivation.

3. When Reaching Big Goals Doesn’t Satisfy You

As I’ve shared, setting goals keeps you aligned with your values and moving forward. What if you have achieved all those goals and still feel lost? 

For some, the celebration of their achievements is just a fleeting moment that is washed away as quickly as it came. Then emptiness sets in, urging you to pursue the next big things in life. Rinse and repeat! The constant chase towards those goals might stress you out, fueling the dread of work. Take a step back and follow my suggestions:

  • Spend more time to celebrate your accomplishment: Don’t be too hard on yourself! Your effort needs to be recognized and valued, so take time to enjoy the feeling of achievement.
  • Manage your expectations: Navigating your career path is a life-long journey that encompasses many milestones. Don’t expect too much that an achievement can change your whole life.
  • Retire: Someone’s retirement does not hinge on their age but their achievement and prosperity. If you have hit all your goals and have a strong financial foundation, just liberate yourself from the daily grind.

4. Is The Environment Too Toxic?

Working in an office where others keep gossiping about or bullying you is never easy. Aren’t you supported and trusted by your managers and colleagues? Or does your boss have unrealistic expectations for you? Such a toxic workplace is the recipe for your work apathy.

If you feel that the workplace is unhealthy, proceed with these steps:

  • Address the problem directly: Have an open conversation with your boss or HR manager about the bullying, gossip, or negativity you are enduring at work. If the issue is rooted in your boss, don’t hesitate to open up about that. Then, you can find solutions to sort things out. 
  • Find an ally at work: Find yourself a “partner in crime” at the workplace with whom you can share everything. You two can fight off the toxicity together and support each other to complete deadlines.
  • Seek a new job: Once nothing seems to work, it’s time to let go of that unhealthy office environment. The job market always has something for everyone, so you will find a workplace where you can feel heard and belong.

5. Do You Feel Distant or Undervalued At Work?

Call Out In Sick

After years of working in the labor field, I’ve learned that recognition is one of the top contributors to a higher employee retention rate. A survey from Indeed suggested that 30% of new hires decided to leave their positions within the first 6 months due to a lack of recognition. 

If you’ve strived to perform diligently, but your managers and coworkers seem to undervalue your effort, it might significantly turn you down. Also, poor communication within a team can make you feel distant and alienated, contributing to your dread of work. 

In this case, it’s best to raise your voice about that. In a fast-paced workplace, people tend to prioritize fulfilling their duties rather than recognition. If you feel uncomfortable about that, feel free to speak up in the next meeting. 

6. You Are Burned Out Because Of Heavy Workload

Being snowed under with work is the fastest way to burn out, gradually dampening your motivation to work. According to my research, burnout can sneak up in different ways. It could be when you have poured so much time, effort, and energy into a project, and it goes south at the end. Or, perhaps, you are dealing with too much stress at work.

Regardless, the following approaches can help you to some extent:

  • Manage your energy: Don’t go all out for your work! Spare time to take care of your mental and physical health and make plans to hang out with your friends and family. It’s all about finding the sweet spot of work-life balance.
  • Take a break: Consider taking some days off and have a getaway to somewhere new to recharge your energy. 

7. You Feel Bored And Lose Your Passion

Honestly, some desk jobs are downright monotonous with a repetitive routine, and it’s understandable that your inspiration comes at this moment and quickly flees the next. If you can’t find joy when pursuing your goals anymore, ask yourself these questions:

  • Have I achieved any new goals or personal growth during the year?
  • Is the role challenging enough?
  • Do my boss and colleagues appreciate my effort?
  • Do I feel connected at the office?
  • Do I feel supported at work?
  • Is there any room for my promotion?

If it’s a “no” to most of the questions above, your aspiration has drained out. Here are some ways to help you rekindle your passion:

  • Have some self-reflection: Think of when you started this current job and how you’re excited and motivated about it. Has anything changed? Maybe a new leader or coworker makes you annoyed, or it’s just because you have outgrown that role.
  • Find new challenges: You can get involved in more complex projects or something you’ve never tried before to gain new insights. Another effective way is to rotate your roles with others or transfer to another branch of the company in a new city. 

8. Maybe The Job Isn’t A Good Fit For You

Not all job seekers can land their dream job from day one, and there is a good chance that their current roles don’t align with their expertise and values. No matter how hard you try to climb up the career path, you still fall behind the rat race. If you still feel lost after years of working, it might not be right for you. 

Consider these steps before looking for a new position:

  • Be more realistic: Okay, the stark reality is that there is no such thing as a “dream job”; rather, we can just find a “good enough” profession and learn to adapt to it. Don’t set your expectations too high, or you will end up with disappointment and loss of passion.
  • Reevaluate yourself: Define your values to see if you can utilize them as your strength to move forward at work. Is there any room for improvement?
  • Quit the job: The vast pool of job opportunities is open for everyone, and you will find a good fit somewhere else.

See more:

9. Is Your Personal Life Struggling?

Walking into work with last night’s fight with your girlfriend swirling in your head can easily drive you off the track. For us humans, it sounds like rowing upstream to completely separate your work and personal life. 

A relationship on the verge of break-up, a sick family member, or the loss of a pet or someone you loved – all of these require your immediate attention. The good news is, many workplaces offer options to help, and most managers tend to be sympathetic about these issues. So, don’t hesitate to speak up to your boss and ask for a short period of leave to deal with your personal matters first.

10. Is Your Mental Health Suffering?

Mental Health Problems in work

Ever feel like you can’t escape work? The never-ending email chain, the constant ping-pong of work messages on your phone…it’s no wonder so many of us feel burnt out. This constant “on” state can lead to serious problems like depression, anxiety, and even substance abuse.

Remember that good mental and physical health is key to productive performance. Therefore, follow these suggestions to improve your well-being:

  • Value quality sleep: Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. A good night’s sleep helps revive your energy to kick-start a new working day. 
  • Follow a healthy diet: Your body, especially the brain, needs various nutrients to perform at its best. 
  • Spend time outside and exercise: Getting back to nature is an effective way to alleviate stress and fill your mind with positive energy. Additionally, doing regular exercise can boost both your immune system and stamina, allowing you to work better.

11. Working Remotely Makes You Feel Better

The global outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020 has fueled a new trend: working remotely. After months of lockdown, you might get used to working from home. Just the thought of commuting miles to the office or getting trapped in the gridlock for hours can drive you crazy. 

If you are stuck in the same situation, here are two ways you can address it:

  • Talk to your boss: Discuss with your manager about working from home or alternating between home and office. As long as you can meet the deadlines and maintain your productivity, your boss will likely say yes.
  • Seek 100% remote jobs: The freelance job market has been more hustle in the past 3 years. Do a quick search on some recruitment websites, and you can easily encounter available positions like writers, editors, or designers.

12. You Can’t Earn Enough Money To Afford A Fulfilling Life

At the end of the day, the main purpose of finding a job is to make money for a living. But even with 40+ hours at the office, some folks still struggle to make ends meet. If this is your case, below are some ways to survive and thrive in a world with ever-increasing living costs:

  • Consider a side hustle: Juggling between two (or more) roles is a smart way to diversify your income sources. In fact, many of my friends can make more money with their side jobs than their bread and butter.
  • Renegotiate your salary: Discuss with your boss about a higher salary rate when you have proven your values can contribute greatly to the company’s success.
  • Switch to a new job: If the business can’t offer you a competitive salary, don’t hesitate to seek a new job with a juicier paycheck.

See more: What Is The Platinum Rule in workplace?


There are many reasons why you are never happy with any job, and you need to figure out the root cause yourself before considering quitting. The dread of work can strike us anytime during our life, and it happens to the best of us. 

What matters is how you approach it; will you leave your job right away? Or will you work it out and continue the pursuit of big career goals? It’s up to you. And if you want someone to talk to during this tough time, I’m always all ears!

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Christina J Colclough

Christina J. Colclough

Dr Christina J. Colclough is an expert on The Future World of Work and the politics of digital technology advocating globally for the importance of the workers’ voice. She has extensive regional and global labour movement experience, is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach, and strategist advising progressive governments and worker organisations.

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