Working Through Depression: Ask Noah

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Q: I've had four careers in the last five years. I've been very unsatisfied and wonder if it's less to do with the jobs and more to do with depression. I quickly lose all interest in the jobs as soon as I begin working. I'm presently feeling a familiar anxiety that in the past would have had me running. I feel I need to stick this one out. Do you have any tips for me?

A: Labor is a precious commodity. A considerable amount of our waking hours is spent at work, and this not so subtly shapes the type of person we become.

Why do we need consistency in our careers?

The economic reasons are self evident; work allows us to support ourselves and our families. Beyond the economic benefits, professional stability strengthens self esteem, validates purpose/ego and keeps us feeling in control of our futures.

Job security provides one with the ability to loudly declare status and rank; "I do___ for a living!" Game. Set. Match. Point.

Folks who have issues solving their quest for professional identity frequently feel plagued by a sense of confinement. They often feel that their personal windows of opportunity are being closed.

Your "need to stick this one out," indicates an understanding that your habit of leaving careers is not working. The restlessness (or anxiety) is understandable. It is your history and the familiarity you have with this emotion, makes it attractive to give in to.

What if you strengthened your tolerance level, fighting the desire you feel to run and stayed the course instead?

Tips for Staying the Course:

1. Define your bliss. Whether professional or personal; what energizes you!

2. Examine your personal relationships. Is quitting your 'modus operandi' there too?

3. Reframe your anxiety. Don't be fearful of your 'jump ship' ways. Getting curious rather than panicky will yield unlimited personal growth.

4. Give yourself permission to distance yourself from the anxiety. This includes any plan or activity that allows your anxiety to pass. This will prevent you from running.

If you're isolating yourself, or your anxiety is causing you extreme physical or emotional distress, seek the care of a mental health professional. They can not only relieve your immediate discomfort, but also set you on a path to further explore this difficult psycho-dynamic issue.

Your history does not have to repeat itself. You've already come to an understanding of your maladaptive behaviors and are seeking methods to combat them. The insight you are showing is itself corrective.

I wish you the best, and do not hesitate to write me back regarding your progress. I look forward to hearing about it!

Please send all questions and comments to Ask Noah at

Have a profitable and peaceful week,


This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
Noah Kass is a psychotherapist specializing in addiction, relationship issues and work stressors. He has been Clinical Director at The Dunes: East Hampton and Realization Center in Union Square. Mr. Kass was a frequent guest on MSNBC's "The Dylan Ratigan Show," featured in a segment called "Kass' Couch" and regularly blogs for The Huffington Post.