A stressed girl in front of a laptop holding her head with 'my job is making me depressed' text overlay, indicating job-related stress.

My Job is Making Me Depressed But I Can’t Quit: What To Do Next

Last updated on February 15th, 2024 at 01:02 pm

You know it’s Monday even before opening your eyes. It’s not the bright morning light peeking in through the blinds that gives it away. It’s that sinking feeling in your gut and the dryness in your mouth. Your mind echoes the same heavy thought with the same persistence, “My job is making me depressed.”

You’ve found yourself in an all too common scenario for the modern worker. The grinding gears of the corporate machine, the relentless pursuit of deadlines, and the constant pressure to be productive have you feeling trapped in a cycle of despair, and it might seem like there is no way out. Different emotions are swirling inside you: bitterness for the job that’s draining you, guilt over what may seem to be ungratefulness for steady employment, especially considering the current market.

But it’s not about being ungrateful. It’s about feeling engaged, esteemed, and satisfied in your role, which currently might feel as distant as a dream. You spend a significant portion of your life working. It’s not too much to hope that this substantial chunk of time leaves you feeling fulfilled rather than empty. However, the reality is different. The ghastly truth is that you’re drowning, but you can’t just get out of the water—you need this job.

Yet, it’s crucial to understand that the predicament you’re in is not a life sentence. Many have walked this rocky path, and there are strategies and tools to help navigate these difficult times. Just because quitting isn’t an option today doesn’t mean you’re forever bound to an eternity of unhappiness. There are ways to recapture joy and rekindle your occupational passion—even in the most challenging job scenarios.

Know the Cause of Feeling Depressed at Work

First of all, we should identify where the pain is coming from. Could it be a heavy workload, a toxic workplace culture, an absence of growth, or possibly something even more personal that is simmering underneath?

Identifying what particular aspects of your job are pulling you down is the first step toward addressing them. What’s the primary source of your sadness? Is the workload more than you can manage with your current skills or working hours? A workplace can often breed toxicity becoming a wedge between you and your peace of mind. Or is it a feeling of stagnation and missing out on possible opportunities that cause your unhappiness?

Sometimes it’s a combination of reasons; other times, it’s a single factor that outweighs everything else. Take a silent pledge at this stage to not deflect any uncomfortable truths. Your journey towards a better, brighter work-life balance begins with accepting and acknowledging the situation that’s causing your current distress.

But what if it’s hard to nail down the causes on your own? Or suppose your depressive symptoms are too overwhelming and paralyzing that analyzing them feels like work. If that’s the case, it’s important to remember that seeking professional help is not only okay but a brave and necessary step towards your well-being. Psychologists, therapists, and counselors are trained to help you address this exact kind of situation, and guide you to overcome the challenges you’re facing.

Strategies to Avoid Being Depressed at Work

Shifting Perspective

Reframe Duties

Even when your day-to-day tasks seem boring and repetitive, remember this, you are valuable. You’re developing skills—organizational, leadership, patience —that could just be the stepping stones towards your career goal. There’s always a purpose behind every task, a silver lining to be discovered. And sometimes, all it takes is a shift in mindset.

Set Small, Achievable Goals

We sometimes set such high, out-of-reach goals for ourselves that the pressure almost crushes us. What if we turned that approach on its head? Next time you’re swamped with work, instead of getting overwhelmed, segment your tasks. Small, achievable goals. And every goal you achieve, no matter how tiny, celebrate it.  These smaller achievements are your building blocks to bigger successes and can do wonders for your motivation.

Focus on What You Can Control 

At times, despite our best efforts, things might not go the way we want. And that’s alright. It’s important to understand and accept that not everything is within our control. What you can control, is the effort you put in, the creativity you bring, and the lessons you learn from each experience. So, let go of what is beyond your reach and focus on your own journey. Celebrate each step and even each struggle as they shape the person you are today.

Building Wellbeing

Prioritize Self-Care: Healthy Habits Improve Resilience

To flourish in your job, maintain a robust performance, or even simply survive through that challenging project, you need to be fit- physically and mentally. You need to build healthy habits and create a routine that comprises regular exercise, quality sleep, and a little mindfulness.

Seek Support: Your Trusted Network

Remember how a simple “you got this” from a mentor could lift your spirits even on the most challenging days? That’s the magic of a supportive network. Emotional support from trusted colleagues, friends, or family can be your trusty shield against workplace stress. So, next time you’re struggling with a problem, don’t hesitate to reach out. No one is an island, after all.

Explore Creative Outlets: 

Optimizing the Work Environment

Have you ever noticed how refreshing a lunch break can be when you’re engrossed in an interesting book or enjoying a K-Drama episode? That’s you finding an outlet for stress. Embrace it! Exploring these creative outlets doesn’t just offer a temporary escape from work’s realities, it lets you channel your stress into something rewarding.

Optimizing the Work Environment

Communicate Concerns to Your Manager

Remember the time you misunderstood a project brief thanks to an ambiguous email from a co-worker? It led to many overtime hours, and the frustration seemed unbearable. If this sounds all too familiar, I urge you not to stay silent. Having open conversations about work-related issues not only alleviates unnecessary stress but also reinforces a more supportive work culture. Approach your manager or team lead, flag the concerns, and brainstorm solutions together. Remember, avoiding the problem won’t make it disappear, addressing it will.

Set Boundaries

We’ve all known a ‘work bulldozer,’ a colleague determined to hand out their tasks to everyone but themselves. Here’s where I recommend channeling your inner assertiveness. Setting boundaries might feel uncomfortable initially, but it is crucial for your mental well-being. Learn to say ‘no’ when overwhelmed or when a task strays far beyond your job role. Remember, kindness can sometimes be mistaken for weakness. It’s better to be respected than to be taken advantage of, wouldn’t you agree?

Networking Within the Company

Think about the colleague who always seems to know the right people in the right teams and always seems to be involved in exciting projects. Pretty smart, huh? Networking isn’t merely chatting about weekend plans by the coffee machine. It’s about building professional relationships, seeking mentors, and maybe even finding a new team that aligns better with your career aspirations. Don’t burn bridges; you never know where a path might lead you.

Taking Charge: When Changing Job is Possible

Transitions might seem scary at first, but sometimes, they are the only way forward. If your best efforts to improve your work environment still leave you struggling, it might be time to contemplate a change.

Acknowledge the Possibility of Seeking New Opportunities

After investigating internal improvements, you might find yourself at the corner of a critical decision. When your career affects your well-being negatively, it could be worth considering the leap to explore new opportunities.

Of course, take time to reflect and analyze your options. But in the end, remember: You have the power to architect your destiny, and there’s no shame in prioritizing your mental and emotional well-being.

Practical Tips to Prepare for a Career Transition

If you’ve made up your mind to pursue a new job, consider these practical steps to smooth the journey:

  1. Update Your Resume: Highlight your achievements and experiences, ensuring your resume stands out to potential employers. Make sure it’s tailored to the roles you’re targeting.
  2. Save Money: While looking for new jobs, try to gather financial security for the transition period. Be prepared for unexpected expenses.
  3. Research New Companies: As you send out your resume, carefully review the details of potential employers, their culture, and work ethos to gauge if they align with your values.
  4. Leverage Your Professional Network: Build your portfolio on LinkedIn, engage in meaningful networking, and take advantage of your connections to discover new opportunities.
  5. Encourage Calculated Career Moves: Align Positions with Personal Values Rather than making a rash decision and hastily jumping onto the first opportunity that comes your way, ensure well-being remains your top priority.


  • Work-life balance
  • Company culture and values
  • Opportunities for growth and development

You have the power to improve your situation, even if quitting isn’t an option. With the right strategies and a proactive mindset, you could definitely improve your situation. Don’t sell yourself short—celebrate your resilience, your journey, and every tiny step towards a better work-life balance. If you find significant value in this content, subscribe to SMIAT Blogs and explore the diverse range of topics to thrive in both your personal and professional life.

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