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Dream Jobs and Job Nightmares — Work-Related Dream Analysis

October 30th, 2009

During this week leading up to Halloween, a holiday designed to let you live out your secret fantasy or nightmare for the evening, I have been plagued by weird dreams about work. I decided to do some research and  it turns out that bizarre work-related dreams are very common. But what do they mean?

According to self-proclaimed dream analysis experts, if you are dreaming regularly about your job, it’s a good sign that your subconscious is trying to tell you that you’re overworked or feeling overwhelmed by career issues. This is why I have now scheduled an overdue vacation so I can start dreaming about Caribbean beaches instead of gray conference rooms.

Have you ever awakened from a twisted office nightmare that makes you fear for your sanity? After researching dream interpretations, I discovered that there are several very common work dreams. I bet you’ve had at least one of them. Read on for interpretations of what these job-related dreams may be telling you about your waking life.

5 Most Common Work-Related Dreams Explained


desk-sex-boss1) The Dream: Sex with Your Boss

I might as well cover the most exciting (or potentially horrifying) dream first, right? If you’ve been living in shame and confusion about sexy-time dreams involving your vile boss, you’ll be relieved to know that you’re not alone. Many people dream about sex with a boss or authority figure at the office.

The Dream Interpretation

Maybe your boss just happens to be hot. Maybe you have a suppressed fetish for pinstripes and comb-overs.

On the other hand, sex in dreams can also be a metaphor. You may dream of sex with someone that you feel a strong chemistry with — even if the chemistry is strictly professional. Or your boss may represent something — authority, success, control. Your dream of hooking up with the boss may indicate that you want to connect with the part of you that he/she represents.

Years ago, my friend T. was troubled by a dream of very satisfying sex with her then-boss, who was not particularly attractive and about as far from T’s usual type as humanly possible. For weeks, she had trouble looking him in the eye without blushing. Actually, after hearing about the dream, I got a little giggly in his presence myself. We decided that the dream symbolized her eagerness to please her new boss (and to have him please her with a positive performance review).

2) The Dream:  Killing  Your Boss

But what if your dream self is more interested in homicide than hot sex? Have you ever dreamed about harming or killing your boss?

The Dream Interpretation

The straightforward interpretation here is that your dream self is acting on strong feelings of dislike or envy toward the boss in question.

Another interpretation is that your dream murder victim represents a part of you that you resent or hate. Maybe your boss represents a nightmare version of the future you. Then again, it’s possible that you just played a rousing version of Shag, Marry, Kill before bedtime.

naked-with-briefcase3) The Dream: Naked at Work

In this dream, you’re going about your business at the office when you suddenly realize that you’re completely naked. Oops.

The Dream Interpretation

There are a couple of potential reasons for your public dream nudity. The most common interpretation is that your nudity symbolizes feeling caught off guard. Perhaps you are currently overwhelmed with responsibilities or feel unprepared for a particular project or presentation.

If nobody else in your dream seems to notice your pantslessness, your subconscious may be trying to tell you that you are blowing your fears out of proportion and you’re the only one who thinks you’re out of your depth.

Alternatively, if the discovery of your dream nakedness makes you feel ashamed or  horrified, your subconscious may be reflecting feelings of vulnerability or embarrassment surrounding a secret that you’re keeping.

pajamaswork

4) The Dream: Late/Unprepared for a Presentation

You arrive at work only to discover that you are late or unprepared for a major presentation. Often, you are also underdressed (see above, although pajamas often come into play here too).

Sometimes, the dream you is  mortified to realize that you completely forgot that the project/presentation/job in question ever existed. People often have similar dreams that take place in school settings — arriving late to take a test for a class that you forgot you were taking, for example.

The Dream Interpretation

This is a classic anxiety dream. Perfectionists are often troubled by this type of dream. Your subconscious is likely processing anxiety about a work issue, resulting in weird dreams about pajama-clad Powerpoint presentations.

These are the dreams that have been plaguing me. I jerk awake out of dreams about suddenly remembering a huge and important project on the day that it’s due. Faceless clients are anxiously awaiting some deliverable that I have forgotten all about. Yesterday, I leaped out of bed before dawn, determined to find a way to solve this terrible dream crisis. It wasn’t until the coffee was brewing that I realized I was freaking out about a nonexistent project.  My anxiety about my several real-world deadlines — which I have been juggling fairly effectively even if my sleep has suffered — showed up in my dreams. At least I got an early start on my day.


youre_fired5) The Dream: Getting Fired

This one seems pretty easy to interpret in the current job market: you dream about losing your job.

The Dream Interpretation

It’s possible that your anxiety about losing your job is simply showing up in your dreams. When you spend your days listening to rumors of lay-offs and stories about the terrible job market, it’s hardly a surprise if those themes start to appear in your dream world, though it would be nice if you could at least escape all that noise in your sleep.

The “you’re fired” dream could also be a sign of fear of rejection or an indication that you subconsciously want to end some relationship or situation (work or personal) in your life. Maybe you secretly fantasize about  leaving your job or escaping from your cubicle.

Or maybe you’re just tired of your boyfriend, your apartment, or your wardrobe. One way or another, your dreams are probably telling you that it’s time to make some kind of change in your life.

So what work-related dreams have I left out? Share your freakiest and most disturbing work-related nightmares if you dare. Happy Halloween!

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4 Comments
Loretta Perry

I found this article to be really interesting because I have of late been having very strange dreams about my “day” job. I love what I do but I guess like everyone the stress gets to me even when I take extra precautions to keep it at bay. Thanks for the information to show me that I am not alone and it is not an uncommon thing. I guess as Career Coaches we tend to think these things shouldn’t be part of our world, but they are.
I really enjoyed reading your post.

Ruby

Thanks for sharing this article, quite interesting!

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c.k

i had a dream that “i am getting my desired job” and also in the morning at 6.30 or 7 am what its mean or its just my blunt imagination pls help my email id is teddy.in@gmail.com

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