Can’t hold a job due to anxiety?

This blog post will answer the question, “Can anxiety make it difficult to hold on to a job ?” and cover topics like what is anxiety? What are the features and symptoms of anxiety, reasons that cause work-related anxiety, effects of work-related anxiety, and ways to deal with work-related anxiety.

How to hold a job with anxiety?

Anxiety often hampers various aspects of an  individual’s life. Anxiety is sometimes stigmatized in many social contexts, the most possible reason for this could be that individuals with any physical or physiological ailments can be laid off their responsibilities temporarily but anxiety is not “visible” .

However due to the persistent symptoms of anxiety  it might get difficult for an individual to hold on to a job. Some ways to hold a desirable job despite baffling with anxiety could be : 

  • Speaking about the emotions one is experiencing with another individual or professional
  • Taking regular breaks from work.
  • Avoid taking an overwhelming number of responsibilities that might increase the possibility of experiencing anxiety in various interrelated domains. 
  • Seeking help to deal with the  severity of the symptoms. 
  • Indulging in pleasurable activities. 
  • Counting on the positives of life. 
  • Re-evaluating ones negative thoughts that triggers emotions of anxiety.  

What is Anxiety?

Problems and resulting stress are a part of every individual’s life, which are usually accompanied by some common emotions like confusion, feeling at the edge, a sense of helplessness, and recurrent negative thoughts which can collectively be seen as an individual experiencing what’s commonly called as Anxiety. 

Every human has their unique ways of dealing with these difficult situations and the following emotions, some try to adapt to the circumstances and find the best and most comfortable solution while others try to find an escape route for the same, in both cases the main aim is usually to get over the uncomfortable emotions of anxiety. 

However, when these emotions of confusion, helplessness, and negative thoughts are excessive, persistent, and irrational affecting the individual’s ability to carry out the basic life functions and routines anxiety takes the form of a disorder. 

According to a survey carried out by The Anxiety Disorders Association of America, while 40% experience ongoing stress or anxiety in their daily life only 9% of individuals are diagnosed with Anxiety disorder. 

What are the symptoms of Anxiety?

The main features and symptoms of anxiety are:

  • Apprehension, 
  • confusion, 
  • Feeling on edge,
  •  a sense of helplessness, 
  • repeated negative thoughts, 
  • muscle tension, 
  • palpitations and 
  • difficulty breathing

What is work-related anxiety? 

Work Anxiety can be referred to the anxiety stemming from various environmental and situational factors associated with work or the workplace in that matter. 

While simple events like not being able to find an important file can trigger emotions of anxiety it is not unusual for some major events to make individuals feel temporary or long-lasting anxiety. 

Considering that the need for a higher standard of living is one of the most prioritized needs among humans these days they believe they are spending much of their time working for optimal and favorable outcomes. 

Not overlooking the fact that when things don’t turn out to be favorable in this long race of growth and success can leave individuals with an overwhelming feeling.

Each individual has a different threshold to stress and emotions of Anxiety. However, some very well known and researched reasons that might cause Work-related anxiety are :

  • Workplace bullying 
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Need to maintain  cordial relationships with coworkers
  •  Long working  hours
  •  Overly high workload 
  •  Lack of guidance for a task
  • Experiencing a lack of  fairness
  • Feeling a lack of control over the work environment
  • Low or lack of  rewards and reinforcements  (not enough pay, benefits, etc.)

What are the Effects of Work anxiety? 

The emotions of Anxiety do not only take a toll on anyone’s domain of an individual’s life but have its effects on all interlinked and related domains of a person’s life resulting in an overall drop in daily functioning. 

some of the most common effects of work anxiety are : 

  • The first and most evident effect is displayed in the form of reduced job performance and quality of work
  •  There is also a disbalance in the cordial relationships between coworkers and superiors.
  • Individuals usually carry all their stress and negative emotions of work back home which disrupts their personal life.
  • The most intimate relationships also get affected. 
  • Work anxiety may cause  problems with concentration, fatigue, and irritability
  • The need to turn down uncomfortable emotions also leads to turning down opportunities. 
  • Reduced job satisfaction or burnout is amongst the most common effects of work anxiety. 
  • Individuals also deal with feelings of uselessness and hopelessness which in turn leads to experiencing reduced  achievement and goal setting 
  • Taking fewer risks and more likely to plateau in your career
  • Experiencing job loss and feeling isolated.
  • Developing clinical levels of anxiety (e.g., a diagnosable disorder)
  • Seeing effects on the organization if you are an executive
  • Experiencing a  reduction in social skills and working as a team. 

What are the ways to deal with Work anxiety? 

Many favorable and healthy strategies can be used to cope with work-related anxiety :

Tell your employer

  • The first and the most effective way is to convey how you are feeling to your employer and seek help when offered by them. This is only possible by shadowing the thoughts of being labeled as weak upon sharing one’s feelings. 

Stay away from the identifiable triggers

  • It is safe to say that anxiety is contagious in nature and more environment and situation-driven, keeping distance from identifiable triggers can help in avoiding work-related or workplace anxiety. 

Take a break 

  • It’s important to understand that spending most of your time at work might disrupt an individual’s work-life balance. It’s necessary to take some time off from work and indulge in pleasurable activities to restore a balance between work and personal life. 

Concentrate on the positives 

  • Try to list out and concentrate on the positives of work and personal life.

Examine and re-evaluate  the negative thoughts 

  • Examine and reflect upon the negative thoughts that you entail, this could be done individually or with the help of a peer review. This not only helps in giving a different angle to a perspective but also helps identify irrational thoughts and feelings.


It’s natural for humans to experience anxiety from time to time be it at work or any other social setting, however, if your work or workplace is a significant source of causing persistent anxiety it might be an indication of a problematic workplace.

 Toxic work culture, unhealthy pressures, are major sources of work-related stress and anxiety. Rather than assuming that the problem is within you, considering things about your job that make you unhappy and cause you stress might help relieve you from the uncomfortable emotions. 

If you’ve tried to manage your work anxiety, either through coping strategies or other treatments, and yet haven’t found any favorable outcome, it might be time to consider changing positions and work or even changing the jobs themselves and find something that suits your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Why does work give me anxiety? 

Work-related anxiety can be caused due to many environmental and situational factors, many of which could be increased workload, discrepancies between the ideas and goals of the employee and employer, disbalance between the needs of the company and skills of the employer, and lack of rewards and reinforcements. 

What are the symptoms of work-related stress? 

The most common and significant symptoms of work-related stress are : 

  • Fatigue.
  • Muscular tension.
  • Headaches.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Insomnia.

How to manage work-related anxiety?

Some ways to effectively manage work-related anxiety are : 

  • Talk about your feelings with your employer and seek help.  
  • Take some time out from work and do activities you enjoy.
  • Examine your negative thoughts and have a peer review of the same. 
  • Focus on your positives in life
  • Re-evaluate your goals and needs with the requirements of your job. 

Can anxiety be cured permanently? 

The mechanism of anxiety is unlike that of any other physical or physiological concerns experienced by an individual in that the use of regular medication can not be a one-stop solution for it. Anxiety is said to be a part of an individual’s genetics that cannot be cured completely.

Can I get fired for experiencing work-related anxiety? 

According to the Federal Law, no employee can get fired for experiencing work-related anxiety or having a diagnosis of Anxiety disorder. In addition to this in cases of extreme pressure and emotional stress experienced by the employee provides them with the right to file a complaint against the company.