There is nothing worse than waking up from a stressful dream about misplacing those expense reports at the office and then hearing your alarm go off, only to realize that now you have to go to real work.
According to a new survey, between 50 and 80 percent of us dream about work. From running late to getting stuck in the elevator, these are the bizarre ways our subconscious tries to tell us something about our professional life.
Psychologist and dream interpretation expert (yes that's a real thing), Michael Lennox, explained the meaning behind the notorious sex-with-a-coworker dream, particularly sex with a coworker you do not feel any physical attraction to. "It takes on a completely different perspective when sex is introduced as a symbol of integration," said Lennox. Basically, the dream insinuates that you want to bring some aspect of your coworker's personality or work ethic into your own. You may want to emulate his or her timeliness, public speaking skills or knowledge of SEO.
Many people are familiar with the dream where you show up to the office, sit down at your desk, start reading through emails and suddenly realize you're naked.
According to psychologist and author Ian Wallace, this dream may symbolize a vulnerability at work, as well as a concern for how you are perceived in the workplace. Lennox expanded that there may also be an element of feeling like a fraud or imposter at work, and worrying that "I will be seen for who I really am. And that will be terrifying."
This common dream consists of the dreamer running from someone or something in the office. According to Wallace, this may suggest that you are in pursuit of something in the office that is under threat. Or, as Lennox said, you may feel like you are being chased by your work responsibilities: "At work generally people are feeling pressured to perform and so the pursuer then becomes the relentless, never-ending demands of the job. You're just constantly being chased by the demand to attend to everything that you have to do."
If you're regularly having dreams where you feel unprepared for a big work presentation or task, you may be nervous about an upcoming event at the office where you will be judged for your performance. Someone may also have a dream where he or she is unprepared for a large test in high school or college, even if they are not in school anymore. According to Lennox, college and high school "are the first places where we learn about responsibility and accountability. [The dream] will often recur when we're faced with the same sense of pressure in our current waking life."
According to Lennox, elevators signify the transition between creative and uninspired thinking. Or, as dream expert Lauri Quinn Loewenberg purported, getting stuck in an elevator that moves erratically, including sideways or experiencing random drops, may mean that you're stressing that your career is not progressing.
If you have dreams where you lose control of your car on the way to work, or about the bus or train swerving off course, Wallace said this may mean the path towards success in your career feels out of control.
Dreams about violence in the workplace may signify a feeling of disempowerment at the office. According to Lennox, a dream about murdering your boss may really be about "righting a wrong, of feeling like you're able to respond to feelings of being dominated or controlled or dismissed." Lennox said that this visceral release in our dreams allows us to continue to work under an oppressive thumb in our waking life.
In this dream, you may find yourself wandering around the office, searching for the bathroom. Or, you may finally find the bathroom, but then find that the door does not lock or there are no walls. This feeling of exposure may reflect your need for more strict boundaries with colleagues in the office. It may also indicate that your basic needs are not being met by your working life, or that you are having a hard time expressing those needs in your waking life.