3 Work Personalities that Are Actually Signs of Depression

June 17, 2020 Mahevash Shaikh

What you think is a work personality may actually be a sign of depression. After all, depression makes life hard and work is no exception to the rule. I have noticed that there is a general assumption that a depressed person at work can be identified by a "Debbie/Donnie Downer" attitude, also known as someone who is always putting out negativity. But depression is a lot more nuanced than that. In fact, it manifests differently for every person.

Nasty Work Personalities That Result from Depression

Owing to honest self-assessment and some serious observation of coworkers and clients, I have noticed that people exhibit certain unpleasant behaviors that seem to be negative work personalities but are actually signs of depression. These are some of the most problematic ones I have noticed:

  1. The apathetic one -- People with this work personality doesn't care less about the kind of work they do or what you think of them. And they let you know it by being just as unconcerned about praise as they are criticism and feedback. "Robotic" might as well be their pet name because they seem to have no feelings when it comes to work. It's easy to seriously dislike someone who is apathetic because it's hard to like someone who just doesn't care. However, apathy is not always an attitude problem. It is also a sign of depression -- and I know this because I personally struggle with apathy. 
  2.  Anger issues -- Another work personality is that of people with anger issues. Basically everything irritates them to the point of unwarranted anger. I've noticed this personality in myself and colleagues, and it is difficult to be comfortable or frank around such people. Anything could set them off, after all. Luckily, with the help of healthy coping mechanisms like deep breathing and learning patience to respond instead of reacting, mild to moderate anger issues can be managed. For severe cases, people should consult a mental health professional
  3. Two words: incorrigible goof -- All of us surely know people at work who seem to excel at making mistakes in their job. Don't think they are being careless or doing it on purpose. Blame it on depression, brain fog in particular, and try to be empathetic. Most of us with depression are doing the best we can, and every person's support counts. Stress could worsen the problem, so if you need to point this out to someone or accept it yourself, being kind and non-judgmental is crucial. Most importantly, do not lose hope as brain fog can be cured to a certain degree. 

And the Work Personality Winner Is Apathy

While all of the above are hard to deal with, I believe apathy is by far the worst of the lot. There are few things worse than being completely indifferent towards the work you do. And this applies not just to the people you work with, but also to you. Apathy makes life seem bland and colorless, and in particular, it has no business showing up at your job. 

Watch the video below to know how I try to give my best at work despite often experiencing apathy due to depression.

What is the work personality you've encountered that could result from depression? Would you consult a therapist for these issues? Please let me know in the comments below.

APA Reference
Shaikh, M. (2020, June 17). 3 Work Personalities that Are Actually Signs of Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Mahevash Shaikh

Mahevash Shaikh is a millennial blogger, author, and poet who writes about mental health, culture, and society. She lives to question convention and redefine normal. You can find her at her blog and on Instagram and Facebook.

June, 19 2020 at 5:43 am

I'm a combo deal of all three. This is a scary realization.

Lizanne Corbit
June, 23 2020 at 4:38 pm

I love that you took some very common work "personalities" and showed how they could be tied back to/caused by depression. I think the one that might surprise people the most is the "goof", but there is so much truth to this. I would say it even reminds me of how often times it can actually be those who go out of their way to be silly or make others laugh who are they themselves struggling. Wonderful, honest, and insightful post.

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