10 things more stressful than work

Work Stress Hardleers via Flickr

It's the great American pastime. Everyone does it. Some even revel in it. No, it's not baseball, reality TV, or even social networking: The great American pastime is complaining about work.

The way people constantly bitch and moan about work stress, a*****e coworkers, workplace bullies, and bad bosses, you'd think there's nothing worse on God's green Earth than having to drag our sad butts out of bed in the morning and sit in a cubicle five days a week.

Well, guess what? There are loads of things that are at least as stressful as work is. I know what you're thinking. If that's the case, then why don't people whine about them as much? How should I know? I'm not a shrink.

What I do know is this: Just about everything on this list is out of your control. On the other hand, what you do for a living is more or less up to you. Ironic, isn't it?

10 things more stressful than work

Relationship problems. There aren't many things more stressful or painful than problems with your spouse or significant other, and they can drag on for years and years. Even a bad roommate or trouble with a family member or close friend can be really stressful.

Not working. If you've ever been fired, canned, downsized, laid off, terminated, booted, dumped, ousted -- whatever you want to call it -- you know that not working is way worse than working.

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Money trouble. Can't pay the bills, bad investments, IRS is after you -- I don't think I need to elaborate on this one, especially these days.

Living with pain. Tens of millions of Americans live and work in chronic pain. It's rarely discussed as a workplace or business topic and I don't know why. Joint pain, back pain, sciatica, migraines, it's a long, long list.

Trouble with your kids. I have friends with kids they can't stand. No kidding. They're mean, screwed up, and even worse, won't get out of the house. What are you supposed to do? After all, they're your kids, right? You're supposed to love them. Not only that, you blame yourself and spouses blame each other. It's a real mess.

Health issues. Even if you're not in pain, chronic or undiagnosed health problems for you or someone close to you can be devastating. Probably half the population lives with diabetes, heart disease, sleep disorders, cancer, mental illness, or any number of diseases that are nearly impossible to get rid of.

Problems in bed. When your sex life is great, you never think about it. When it sucks, it's hard to think about anything else. And that's the truth.

Legal trouble. Ever gotten hit with a DUI, sued in superior court, embroiled in an ugly child custody battle? There's almost nothing worse than getting into a legal mess, whether it's civil or criminal, or brought by the DA or someone you used to sleep with. And they can drag on for years and years.

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Bad neighbors. You can choose your job, what you do for a living, even where you work, but you can't choose your coworkers or your boss. It's the same thing with where you live. If you buy a house and get stuck with crappy neighbors who wreak havoc on your peaceful existence, you're basically screwed.

Home construction problems. Ever build or remodel a house or have something really bad happen to your existing home? Chances are you've had a bad contractor and got stuck in some nightmare home construction problem at some time in your life.

While I do believe that far too many people create their own workplace stress, if you don't manage it well or it turns into burnout, it can kill you. So, in all seriousness, if you're in trouble, get help. Really.

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