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The Mission of Finding Happiness at Work

09/26/2015 08:53 EDT | Updated 09/26/2016 05:12 EDT
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Creative coworkers doing high five at the office, in the sunset

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Photo courtesy of Careergasm

Sometimes the best thing you can do for your health is quit your job.

Sarah Vermunt is a career coach who says she sees it all the time: people who are ill because they are so unhappy in their workplace.

As the founder of Toronto-based Careergasm, she says she helps people find clarity in what changes they need to make by giving them a "hug and a kick in the ass at the same time."

In this episode of Her Story, find out how Vermunt helps people find happiness at work and the toll it can take when you're not:

When it comes to work, a lot of us get caught up in the momentum. Many people are driven, have goals and want to be successful.

So when people are unhappy at work (especially if their job looks great on paper), they find it hard to leave.

It wasn't surprising when Vermunt told me that most of her clients are afraid to quit because they're hung up on how others will react.

"They think that people are going to think poorly of them when they leave," she said. "That prevents a lot of people... from moving forward into something that feels better."

It makes sense. With social media, not only is your personal life being documented, but so is every job.

Vermunt said people also tend to stick with jobs they hate for so long because they feel like there's value in pushing through and commonly, the phrase "quitters never prosper" is brought up. But Vermunt disagrees.

"Quitters really do prosper and it's one of the best kept secrets out there," she said.

Vermunt said the stress of it all can weigh on people so much, that it makes them physically sick; it was something that I had experienced myself.

I was in a job that was not a right fit. I was so unhappy that I dreaded getting out of bed to go to work. I would linger outside the building once I arrived to delay the start of my day. I would come home feeling ill.

Vermunt said she's been there too and assured me there is scientific evidence that links your emotional state with your physical well being.

Dr. Simon Rego confirmed there's been more than 25 years of research supporting this connection. As the director of psychology training at Montefiore Medical Centre at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, he explained things like stress, depression and other psychological processes can take a toll on your health.

"The presence of depression can worsen the course of even people going through cancer treatment," he said. "Even on a smaller scale... a prolonged period of being sub-clinically depressed or having sad, intense episodes can certainly have an impact."

Vermunt said she's seen clients with a wide range of physical manifestations ranging from stomach issues to difficulty sleeping to body pain.

The solution? It's not as easy as up and quitting, but more so, figuring out what people truly want.

"I'm a big believer in clarity first, strategy second," said Vermunt. "That's really important because if you don't get the clarity piece first... you might actually be building a strategy in the wrong direction."

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