Depression in Sales (+ 3 coping tips)

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In this blog we will be discussing the issue of Depression in sales jobs. 

We will also discuss why people working in sales are prone to depression and what are some of the things that people in sales jobs can do to manage their mental health. 

According to the American Psychological Association, “sale’s is a stressful occupation.” Both stress and depression are common among salespeople and marketers. 

The job of a salesperson is largely about taking rejection, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.

In any given month, a salesperson will likely experience at least one rejection. For marketers, that number is even higher. Sales are a stressful occupation. 

When you’re on the phone with a customer who’s not interested in buying your product, it’s easy to feel defeated.  Marketing jobs and sales both are high-risk occupations for mental health issues like anxiety and depression. 

Even if you’re not selling anything, there are still ways that your job can negatively impact your mental health. A study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that employees who felt they had little control over their work lives were more likely to have symptoms of depression and burnout than those who felt they had more control over their jobs. 

This can be especially true if you work long hours or have no opportunities for advancement or promotion in your workplace. Another study found that employees who worked longer hours were more likely to experience burnout than those who worked shorter hours—and the same was true for employees who worked fewer days per week compared with those who worked more days per week. 

It’s no wonder that these two occupations are so stressful and a lot of people don’t even realize how much stress they’re under until they get out from under it and start enjoying life again. 

Depression is a mental health condition that can affect anyone, regardless of gender, age, or background. It is a debilitating disorder that can make it difficult to perform daily activities and negatively impact your relationships with others. 

According to the Center for Disease Control, depression affects over 7 million people in the United States each year. Depression is marked by the following symptoms:

  • Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day- either by their own observation or observation made by others.
  • Diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day.
  • Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia. 
  • A slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movement (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).
  • Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.

Depression symptoms also include extremely low mood and fatigue and is often accompanied by thoughts of worthlessness and hopelessness which can lead to suicidal ideation and even attempts. 

Depression related symptoms such as inability to focus, lack of energy, and hopelessness can impact a person’s ability to work and meet the demands of their daily lives. 

People with depression often struggle with low self esteem and self worth which can cause them to negatively assess themselves. They may fear rejection and abandonment from other people which may cause them to isolate themselves in a bid to protect themselves.

This social withdrawal can make it difficult for them to maintain social commitments and relationships as they might choose to push people away especially when they do not have the skills to communicate and manage their emotions and thoughts. 

While these are some of the ways depression impacts a person, the disorder itself can cause the quality of life of people who have it to drastically decrease and in extreme cases, if the disorder is left untreated, it can lead to suicide attempts and death. 

Why do people working in sales become depressed?

Sales as a career is high risk, high demand, and high payoff where the income potential is high, but so is the pressure to perform.

The causes of depression in sales and marketing jobs include:

  • Stressful deadlines and quotas. If you’re not making your numbers or goals, it can be extremely stressful and frustrating.  One may also have to be able to handle the stress and pressure of being accountable for your performance, as well as the pressure to produce results.  

Depression has many possible causes. One of them being chronic stressful life situations  that can increase the risk of developing depression.

Being in a state of continuous stress with these symptoms can lead to deteriorating health, continued low moods, decrease in productivity which can impact your occupational life and also cause strain in your relationships. 

These negative impacts can lead to feelings of hopelessness, dread, doom, and also feelings of worthlessness and the sense that one is a failure in their ability to cope with life all of which can be internalised, leading to developing depression and anxiety. 

  • Sales and marketing jobs are a great opportunity for those who want to establish freedom and flexibility in their careers.  Believe it or not, a sales career can be a lonely job.  With freedom and flexibility from being away from the office, you are out there on your own.  If you’re not comfortable with time management and working independently, outside sales may not be for you.
  • As with running your own business, it is up to you to generate revenue, develop relationships and drive a profitable business.  You are responsible and held accountable for the performance of your business as it directly relates to your efforts. 
  • Recognition is typically based on results and sales achievements rather than tenure or years of service.  The negative side of doing well is poor performance, which leads to pressure, stress, depression and job dissatisfaction. 
  • A challenging work environment could mean stress and pressure for some people.  Some people who cannot handle the challenging and demanding work of running a sales territory can also become depressed when not accomplishing goals and the pressure could be significant.  
  • They are often required to work long hours and make decisions on the fly. The job can be very stressful, which can lead to depression. The pressure of meeting expectations can be overwhelming for some people, especially those who have never been good at sales or marketing. 

What are some of the things that professionals in sales can do to manage their mental health?

There are ways to cope with depression and keep it from impacting one’s  job performance:

  • Take a break from work—even if it’s just for a few minutes, step away from your desk and take a walk outside or grab a cup of coffee with a coworker. Sometimes just getting away from the office environment can help lift your mood.
  • Exercise regularly is one of the best ways to combat depression because it boosts endorphins and helps release chemicals in the brain that make you feel better about yourself and your life overall. Research has shown that regular exercise can also improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety levels (which often go hand-in-hand with depression).
  • Eating healthy foods not only helps ensure optimal nutrition but also provides an energy boost that can help combat fatigue brought on by depressive symptoms like lack of motivation or difficulty concentrating on tasks at hand.
  • Talk to your boss about your condition. You may find that your supervisor is more understanding than you expect. If this seems like a scary option, know that many employers are legally obligated to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities related to depression.
  • Adjust your workspace since a comfortable workspace can make you feel happier and more productive at work. The American Optometric Association recommends adjusting the height of your desk or chair so that your eyes are level with the top of your computer monitor. You should also center your keyboard and mouse pad in front of you so that you’re not reaching too far in any direction—this will help minimize strain on your wrists and elbows, which can cause pain and fatigue over time.
  • Consulting a psychologist / professional at such times is the best solution to help one self in dealing with hard times.  

Depression can be deadly if it is left untreated. Many people can struggle with accepting the diagnosis itself while others may find themselves hopeful because of the validation that they aren’t just making up their struggle. 

If you have not been diagnosed, do not stick to self diagnosis based on your symptoms. Seek out professional consultations starting with your GP who can refer you to specialists in the field. 

Taking time to find a doctor who can help you with estimating the right dosage of medication and the right medical treatment can make the quality of your journey to recovery drastically different. 

Conclusion

In this blog we have been discussing the issue of Depression in sales jobs. 

We bhave also discussed why people working in sales are prone to depression and what are some of the things that people in sales jobs can do to manage their mental health. 

FAQ related to Depression in sales

Can sales make you depressed?

Yes, sales jobs can make one depressed due to barious reasons from- long working horse, chronic stress, faced rejections etc

Is sales the most stressful job?

Sales is considered one of the most stressful jobs. According to the American Psychological Association, “sale’s is a stressful occupation.” Both stress and depression are common among salespeople and marketers. 

Can sales affect your mental health?

Yes, a job in sales can impact one’s mental health. People in sales are faced with a challenging work environment could mean stress and pressure for some people. 

They are often required to work long hours and make decisions on the fly and the pressure of meeting expectations can be overwhelming for some people, especially those who have never been good at sales or marketing. 

Why is sales so tiring?’

Sales jobs are so tiring because of stressful deadlines and quotas. If you’re not making your numbers or goals, it can be extremely stressful and frustrating.  One may also have to be able to handle the stress and pressure of being accountable for your performance, as well as the pressure to produce results.  

References

NICK HEDGES. Deal with stress in sales. INC. Retrieved on 30th April 2022. https://www.inc.com/nick-hedges/how-to-deal-with-stress-in-sales.html

Why a Career in Sales: Pros and Cons. Sales Careers. Retrieved on 30th April 2022. http://salescareer.net/why-a-career-in-sales-pros-and-cons/6

10 Careers With High Rates of Depression. Health. Retrieved on 30th April 2022. https://www.health.com/condition/depression/10-careers-with-high-rates-of-depression#:~:text=People%20who%20work%20in%20sales%20are%20No.%2010,spend%20time%20away%20from%20home%2C%20family%2C%20and%20friends.

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