Career Advice

10 Signs You Take Your Job Too Seriously and How to Fix It

Yes, it’s important to take your job seriously. However, some people cross the line. They live and breathe work. Sadly, this can have negative consequences on their professional growth, mental health, and even physical health. 

Quick fact: 85% of US workers say that job stress affects their mental health

But how do you know if you’ve crossed that line? I’ll give you 10 signs you take your job too seriously. I’ll also give you some tips on how to stop taking your job so seriously. So let’s go!

10 Signs You Take Your Job Too Seriously

Here are 10 signs to tell if you’ve gone way over the work-life balance

  1. You have no time for yourself 
  2. You ignore the need for rest
  3. You do all the work
  4. Everything is about your career
  5. You can’t turn off work thoughts
  6. You only talk about work
  7. You let your work affect your mood
  8. You feel undervalued by everyone
  9. You quickly assume things
  10. You become judgmental

1. You have no time for yourself 

This is one of the sure-fire signs you take your job too seriously at work. You spend every hour of every day glued to your desk. You go to work early and you go home late. 

Even when you’re at home, in the market, or on Christmas day, you constantly check your email and other work-related responsibilities. And of course, the thought of a vacation is a big NO-NO. 

If you’re like this, then you need to pull yourself away from work. Plan some time for yourself. During the weekends, you can relax in your bed, spend time with friends and family, or go out with a loved one. This will do wonders for your mental health. 

Pushing yourself up on your to-do list could mean less stress, better health, and a better overall quality of life. Taking time to relax and de-stress can mean an improvement in your mood, brain function, and

Read More: 15 Great Tips On How To Not Waste Your Weekend

2. You ignore the need for rest

Besides not having any chill time, someone who takes work too seriously also doesn’t see the need for rest. They spend long hours working too hard. They work through the late hours of the night and always lack sleep. When they get back to work early the next day, they go right back at it. They are someone who never leaves the desk. 

But the truth is, if you want to be a better employee, you need rest. Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, a Researcher and Author, wrote a whole book entitled ‘Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less’. Here is a great excerpt from his book:

Rest is not this optional leftover activity. Work and rest are actually partners. They are like different parts of a wave. You can’t have the high without the low. The better you are at resting, the better you will be at working.

So know when to stop and rest. Make sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep. Even during the day, you can stand up from your work for a few minutes and stretch or walk around. Use your mealtime to take a good break. 

3. You do all the work

Do you feel responsible for your co-worker’s work as much as yours? Do you always agree to do their work for them? Are you trying to carry your whole team on your back? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re taking work too seriously. 

To counter this, you need to speak up. Tell each co-worker that they can’t keep relying on you to do their work for them. Sure, it’s good to be a team player. But that doesn’t mean you have to turn yourself into a doormat. If you’re honest with them, then you won’t have to stress about their work. You can focus on your own. 

Read More: Is Your Coworker Always Asking For Help? 4 Tips To Deal With Needy Coworkers

4. Everything is about your career

Someone who takes work too seriously unknowingly focuses all their goals on their career. When someone asks about their future goals, it’s all about work, work, work. There’s not a single goal set for their personal life. 

If this is you, then you need to step back and reevaluate. Work is not everything life has to offer. You need to find a healthy balance between your professional goals and your personal goals

Here’s what Christ and Kristine McDonnell, the CEO and Director of Operations for McDonell Consulting Group, have to say. 

To be successful in life, you want to set both professional and personal goals – but your personal goals should be identified first. Why? Because those are the goals that define what is the most important to you and will probably reflect your true core values.

5. You can’t turn off work thoughts

OK, you might not be doing anything work-related. But you’re still taking it too seriously if you can’t stop thinking about work. Even when you’re enjoying your personal time, thoughts about work pop up every other minute. When you’re about to go to sleep, you either can’t help being anxious about the day’s tasks or the next day’s tasks. 

The worst part is that this habit is hard to quit. I mean, it’s difficult to control your thoughts a lot of times. One good way to fix this is to give your mind something else to think about. It can be planning time away with your loved ones or starting a new hobby, such as painting. Exercise and meditation are also great ways to quiet your racing mind. 

Read More: How To Stop Overthinking And Relax

6. You only talk about work

What is your #1 topic when you meet up with friends and family? If you can’t talk about anything else but work, that probably means that your life revolves around it. 

Don’t be that kind of person. Pretty soon, people will get bored talking to you. Instead, shift your conversations to a range of topics. You’ll find that it’s more enjoyable to talk about your family, your favorite movie, and what your friends are up to instead of talking about this task, your boss, and slacker Joe who has a desk next to yours. 

7. You let your work affect your mood

When someone can tell how your day went when you return home, then you probably don’t have a healthy work-life balance. If a slight inconvenience at work happens, you complain through the whole night. If you’re stressed and anxious about work, you become grumpy with your spouse or children, or you find yourself crying alone in the parking lot. 

How do you fix that? A good habit to work on is to leave your work behind the moment you exit the building. Don’t think about it. Drop all your disappointments and stresses of the day. Switch gears and focus on aspects of your life outside of work. This way, even if you had a bad work day, you can still have some positivity for the rest of the day. 

Read More: “I Hate My Job So Much It Gives Me Anxiety”: 10 Actions to Consider

8. You feel undervalued by everyone

So far, all the signs I’ve mentioned are obvious indications that work is your entire life. But here’s one sign that’s harder to spot – when you always feel undervalued by your employer, managers, coworkers, and even those outside of work. 

Why is this a sign that you’re too serious about work? It’s because you demand respect for what you’re doing. You complain whenever someone undervalues or dismisses what you do. 

Cal Axe from tells us how we can get rid of this feeling.

Don’t work for respect alone. You might find temporary motivation using that strategy, but lasting success is doubtful. Instead, work to improve yourself, or towards a good cause, or to serve others.

9. You quickly assume things

Another one of the easy-to-miss signs you’re taking work way too seriously is if you assume the worst all the time. Your boss didn’t smile back at you – does he hate you? You didn’t receive praise for your work like the last time – did you do a bad job? Your request for a salary raise wasn’t approved – are you going to get fired?

This will only lead you to a spiral of anxious thoughts, which can affect your mood and overall health. So try to avoid being quick to assume things. If you can’t help, tell yourself that assumptions are not hard facts. If something really bothers you, ask the person about it. It’s always good to communicate openly. 

10. You become judgmental

If you spend all your waking hours at work or if you always do overtime work, you’ll start to notice your coworkers who don’t work as hard and long as you. Worst, you’ll start to judge them. Why don’t they work as hard as you? How are they earning the same as you and they have a better life?

Well, chances are, they just know how to have a healthy work-life balance. But if you don’t know that, you’ll start to grow bitter towards them and the company you work for. And bitterness is never good. I heard someone say, “Bitterness only affects you. It doesn’t bother the person you’re bitter about.” And this is very true. 

If you don’t want to be judgmental and bitter, you need to take a step back from work, spend your free time doing something you love, and know that work is not everything life has to offer. 

Final Words

Are you someone who’s working all the time that you don’t have time for anything else? If you’re not sure, then look into the 10 signs you take your job too seriously. If you identify with one of these signs, work your way to change it. Remember, you need a healthy work-life balance for your own good. 

About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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