Fear of Work – Ergasiophobia
Ergasiophobia is not quite so simple as me not wanting to do housework as many people though and those who have this phobia may have found themselves in situations where if they make a mistake, someone’s life or livelihood is at risk.
What occupations came to mind? Police, surgeons, firemen, financial advisers, psychologists, doctors, nurses, bomb disposal experts… all come springing into my mind, simply because mistakes in these professions can be very costly for either yourself, or someone else, or their family, property or livelihood.
How does Fear of Work start?
- Perhaps from having made a mistake and then dwelling on that mistake and repeating it over and over in your mind…
- Maybe hearing how someone else made a mistake and dwelling on it, instead of focussing on how they resolved their mistake…
- Perhaps an overbearing or paranoid person forced their paranoia upon the worker so that all confidence was completely undermined
- Think for a moment about the occupations I’ve listed above, and how if any one of these people makes a serious mistake, it could have a devastating outcome for all concerned. This can play on the person’s mind and then their fear transfers across to the fear of going to work, or doing the work. What if you were a surgeon and the scalpel slipped? Or one slip while defusing a bomb means the difference between your life or death…
Prevention is better than cure
By this I mean that if you have any influence over someone’s job, please ensure that you do more confidence-building than confidence-destroying of the person in the job. Parents often worry about perfection, instead of guiding a child calmly through mistakes and treating those errors as feedback instead of failure. Feedback allows us to correct our course and still retain our dignity. Telling someone they are a failure can mean that they don’t know how to correct the course of action or how to get over something because one’s focus and concentration can become centred on how bad they feel or how much went wrong, or how much they have let you down. Be sure to say something like “it’s okay; you were doing your best. Take a deep breath and think about what you could do differently next time?”
Everyone needs to learn resilience and the only way to do this is to make errors, get feedback and make corrections, with a calm detachment, and that needs to start as a child along with encouragement and praise.
There is no failure there is only feedback
Treatment for Fear of Work
- Firstly, a thorough assessment is necessary, as someone with a fear of work may also be suffering a generalised anxiety disorder, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. For all of these mental illnesses, relaxation training has been shown to be helpful, along with cognitive therapy where thought patterns can be modified to give a positive emotional impact.
- An incident may have occurred in the past and if it is in conscious memory, hypnosis may be the way to go to help resolve this phobia.
- Timeline Techniques may be useful along with the Trauma/Phobia technique, to rewrite the old movies of the past, and install new and positive movies and their positive sound track, for the future.
- For some people, they may change careers and some people would do this rather than address their fear of work.