The term ‘job’ generally refers to an economic-based role or position for which one is paid a salary. With that said, it is easy to conclude that many individuals are shackled to their economic roles in an everyday grind in pursuit of economic independence. Simply put, three out of every four employed people are only working to make ends meet, and not because they like their jobs. We’ve all experienced ‘the Monday blues’ – that depressed feeling on Monday morning when you realize the weekend is over and the mountain of work on your desk is still there. However, some people experience these blues every day. The following pointers will help you realize if you’re on your way to becoming an economically shackled drone:

1. No Time for Family

If your case is serious, then at one point or another your spouse has woken up quite shaken, swearing there’s a stranger in the bed – namely, you. Or your child has stared at you quizzically when you tried to explain that you are his or her father or mother. If you’re becoming a stranger to your own family, only seeing them on weekends and missing out on birthdays and anniversaries, then it’s about time you evaluated your priorities, because your job is killing you.

2. Lack of Sleep/Insomnia

If you spend nights staring at the clock wishing morning would come just so you don’t have to lie sleepless any longer, then your job is already murdering you. Relying on sleeping pills to induce rest and spending the office hours sipping on cup after cup of coffee with bloodshot eyes is a sure sign of work-related stress. Burnout is on the rise as a top danger in the workplace, and if this doesn’t worry you, then you might be too far gone.

3. Frequent Illnesses

Lower-back pain, flu, migraines, arthritis, neck strain, ear infections – the list goes on. If you’re constantly in the doctor’s office for one reason or another, then a thorough check-up might trace all this back to your workplace. Sitting long hours at your desk in gravity-defying postures or being hunched over your computer for days at a time could cause you to suffer myriad ailments. Stress manifests itself in different ways in the body, leading directly to illnesses. Your job may be paying for your health insurance, but it might also be the main reason you use it!

4. Absence of Reward for Your Effort

If you’re genuinely a high achiever – always meeting deadlines, increasing sales, being punctual, providing ideas that grow profits for the organization – yet at the end of the month your paycheck hardly reflects the effort you put into your work, then you’re experiencing a reward imbalance. Studies have shown that this type of imbalance quickly translates into frustration, and the end result is burnout and, in extreme cases, mental illness. If you ever feel seriously underappreciated, then maybe it’s time to move on to greener pastures.

5. Being Too Busy About Nothing in Particular

This is probably one of the worst ways your job may be killing you, because it will be a slow and painful death. If your work demands that you remain seated over long periods with hardly any time for breaks, more often than not you’ll end up snacking on junk food. This lack of inactivity paired with increased intake of processed foods will eventually lower your metabolism and increase your waistline, and can lead to serious problems such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension and heart disease.

how to deal with work stress
6. Sexual Problems

The pressures of the workplace may eventually kill your sexual buzz, too. Stress, overexposure to fluorescent bulbs and time away from home are proven factors that lead to a decrease in sexual function. Such issues may eventually render you infertile or impotent if they are not addressed as soon as they are noticed. Female employees may suffer miscarriages and premature deliveries as a result of long periods of standing or heavy lifting. If you are experiencing these problems, your job may be destroying the relationship you have built with your partner.

7. Lack of Concentration and/or Boredom

Studies have shown that even periods of short-term stress can take a serious toll on the areas of the brain responsible for learning and memory, and this degeneration of brain cells may accelerate the effects of old age such as dementia and amnesia. Meanwhile, high levels of tedium can actually increase the risk for strokes. Lack of concentration and boredom kill general productivity and inhibit mental clarity. In the long run, these two factors can culminate in mental disorders.

These are some of the main ways that your job may be sending you to an early grave. This shouldn’t simply make you paranoid and worried – instead, you should make an evaluation of all the above-described signs. If more than four of these are part of your personal experience, then you may need to make some adjustments. Life is too short to justify being cuffed to a desk just because bills need to be paid. Think outside the box, weigh all the pros and cons, and make the healthy choice. There’s a Chinese saying that goes, “If work were a good thing, then the rich would have bought all of it for themselves.” Take time off and give equal attention to other things that make your life enjoyable, well-rounded and worth living!