How to Deal When You Feel Like Throwing In the Towel at Work

I received another question today from a potential career coaching client who stated “I give up, I can’t do this anymore – HELP!” I see this request often, which is sad to say. As much as we want to believe that things have improved, I would say they have not when we look at workplace unhappiness. As I’ve reported before, the levels of engagement have only risen 1% in three year (Gallop, 2015); while hiring has picked up and jobs are becoming more available, workplace behavior seems to have ‘stalled.’

Some responsibility lies on employers while the other half lies on employees to monitor their own behaviors, to be more empathetic, and not come from an “I” framework at all times. Feeling as if you want to give up is not a fun space to be in and there are ways to effectively deal with the situation when you feel like throwing in the proverbial towel:

  • First off, do nothing right away. Making any types of decisions or taking actions when under stress and pressure can lead to them being irrational and could cause the situation to be worse
  • Next, breathe and deeply; this will help to calm both your mind and your body so now you can ..
  • Take stock of the situation, looking at it not just from your perspective but from those involved. This is not as difficult and, while we can’t know what is in someone else s head, we can look from an outsider’s viewpoint. You can take the slant as if you were being asked by a friend to give your opinion on the situation. Being fully aware of the events that occurred, and the parts each ‘actor’ played, helps to resolve the emotions that can get in the way.
  • Assess your emotions and how they may be leading you to feeling so defeated; look at what other situations you might be facing (i.e. sick parent, dog, child, etc). that might be heightening your emotions. I see people who are dealing with multiple issues, leaving them with little left to face their battles.
  • Mind-map options and solutions for dealing with what’s on your plate, giving each a priority listing for what needs to get done first, second, etc. Having adequate information is critical to making good decisions. Remember to keep breathing as you do this.
  • Practice self-care – do some form of exercise daily, meditate for two minutes, color, garden. journal, take time to do nothing; any and all, or more, will help you to have more energy, be happier, and take the control back in your life.

So remember when you feel your work has taken control over your life, and you want to ‘throw in the towel,’ that YOU are the one in control and not the other way around. Changing your attitude and actions can positively affect the situation; following the steps above can give you a variety of options (not often realized when under intense stress) to decide on how you want to handle your work and feel happier. Only you can decide on which path to follow.


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