Thursday, July 5, 2012

Back To Work

Warehouse, Green Logistics Co., Kotka, FinlandWarehouse, Green Logistics Co., Kotka, Finland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Work Dream Themes:

        On my last post I discussed the fairly common dream of being back in school.  This post will look at a dream that is perhaps even more common--the dream about being at work.  Typically, dreams about work will have the similar themes of school dreams.

        In the work dreams the dreamer may be unprepared for something that is supposed to occur, be late for work, be dressed inappropriately (or not at all), be unorganized or unable to perform work duties, be lost in the workplace, be confused about circumstances at work, or some other difficulty.  The dream events are often accompanied by frustration, apprehension, fear, embarrassment, or distraction.

        The dream locales may be actual work places, variants of places we have known, or places that are totally alien to us but accepted in the dream as our place of work.  The people in the dream may be known to us, but often there are also others we may not be able to identify.

        In my current state of three years of unemployment, I typically dream of my previous job.  Sometimes however I dream of past jobs.  In the past when I was employed my work dreams were often about jobs I had held prior to the job I was holding at the time of the dream.

My most recent work dream:

        I don't remember much detail, but I am at the warehouse job where I was the general manager.  We have recently moved to a new location and have been there for a few weeks.  The owner of the company comes to visit and I realize that since we moved I have not been in the new warehouse, but have only been in my office.  I know little about what is going on with the operation I am supposed to be managing.

        When my boss arrives we make conversation and I try to avoid talking to him about the business.  Inevitably he starts discussing the new warehouse.   I bluff my way through the conversation, but feel very guilty that I have not been doing my job and I'm afraid that he'll find out.

          We go into the warehouse.  It is very large and old looking.  There is much merchandise on many rows of shelves that go beyond my field of vision.  This is a massive and somewhat disturbing place.  My boss seems very happy and friendly as he walks by my side.   A long line of men wait at a door and I know that they are waiting to apply for jobs.   My boss and I come to a long table where a number of celebrities and important people are seated, but I'm not sure who any of them are.  I lead my boss and those at the table to go to the head of the line that is waiting.

         After I wake up I feel neither positive or negative about the dream.  I am somewhat perplexed, but beyond that I don't think much about the dream and forget most of it.

My typical dream of work:

           This recent dream is a good example of the type of work environment where I am.   The places are usually warehouses or meant to be warehouses.  They are large, old, and not particularly well lit.  There is often a great deal of material goods--usually merchandise--although sometimes the warehouse is mostly empty or totally empty.  The warehouses always feel strange and eerie, yet I almost always feel like I belong there and have an awareness of familiarity.

           Many times I am either alone in the warehouse or with just one or a few other people.   Sometimes there are many people who are engaged in various activities or merely meandering.   If other people are present I usually only know a few of them.

             In the dreams I often feel lost or unprepared.   Sometimes I may be trying to find something that has been lost.  Often what I'm looking for is money that has been lost.  Other times I maybe trying to get something done, but I become distracted by other activities or because I don't have equipment that I need.

              Even though the nature of the dream involves frustration and other negative feelings, I almost always maintain a sense of calm through the dream.  I rarely wake up from these dreams feeling upset in any way and often feel a sense of confidence and optimism with only a tinge of uncertainty about the state of my life.

               Dreaming about work makes sense due to the fact that we spend so much time working or have done so at certain times of our lives and the activity has usually been so vital to our daily existence.

               Do you often dream about work?   Are your work dreams generally good or bad?   What do you think dreaming about work signifies?


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  1. I don't dream of work, mostly I dream about my problems and wake up frightened. I have given up trying to make out what my dreams mean.

    Hope you had a wonderful 4th July.

  2. I've worked from home for fifteen years, so it's hard to say if I'm dreaming about work. I do often dream I'm published though. Guess there is balm in Gilead in dreams.

  3. My work dreams and school dreams are also similar in that I'm never prepared. Either I'm behind at my old job, or show up at a class final without ever having opened a book. Julie

  4. Yvonne -- Work dreams are often problem dreams as well. Perhaps dreams are rehearsals for dealing with the real life problems. Once you can cope with the problems in the dreams real life may be easier to deal with. That's one theory I have.

    Em-- Dreams may be preparing the way for your realities to come.

    Julie -- I don't know what the unpreparedness is all about. Work, school, or whatever it's a common theme. Maybe it's a role-playing mind game of one of our greatest fears or maybe a rehearsal of the scenario so we'll be better prepared for unpreparedness.


  5. Yes, I often dream about work but since my work is at a school, they get mixed up! Sometimes I am working a school I attended as a child and sometimes I am a child in the school where I work. Often my work dreams involve my boss -- her expectations of me or interactions that generally find me lacking. My work includes a lot of stress but I am an adrenaline junky so I usually handle the real job world quite well. Not so often in my dreams....
    I suppose that I am working out some of my insecurities - what do you think? I am a respected and hard working employee but I want to be perfect - therefore I am not so perfect in my dreams - and I live with it.

  6. I've had a couple of 'at work' dreams in my life, in the most recent I had to make a customer a sandwich, (I work in a deli), and there was a rat in the sink, sitting on a tray with the last bun..(I have no idea why the tray of buns was in the sink!)I had to get the bun to make the sandwich, without letting on to the customer that there was a rat right beside it..I can't remember how it turned out, but I woke up thinking, "That was effed!" Years ago I kept a dream journal, and there are some super crazy dreams in it..I should dig it out of the box it's in and look some of them over.
    I love this blog Lee!

  7. Very interesting exposition. I usually don't dream about work, thank Lord!
    I used to dream a lot about school though, and I still do, especially high school. School has always been to me much more important than work.
    The curious thing is that I have stopped classifying dreams as good or bad since realized that dreams are messages; they are not meant to scare me, but to tell me something, however inconvenient the message may be.
    I don't know what dreaming about work might mean. I think it depends on each single case and I'm not enough acquainted with you. But I was always able to interpret my school dreams pretty easily, especially the ones about my professor of Green and Latin.

  8. Very cool insights (and nice blog)! I'm working as a jeweler's apprentice, and we use a chemical acid mix called "pickle" to clean jewelry. My most recent work dream consisted of a whole pool of pickle, and my co-workers and I had to dive in to collect our pieces! It was a strange one.

  9. I dream about work, even though I have been retired for 4 years now. When will it all stop?

  10. Gracie -- Since work often defines much of who we are and our bosses are usually people we may want to please and sometimes fear to some extent, I think it's very possible you are trying to work out insecurities and address fears that you might have about work.

    Eve -- The rat dream is kind of disturbing but understandable. You should dig out that old dream notebook.

    Jay -- I too wouldn't classify most of my dreams as good or bad, but more of messages of interest and instruction. I am rarely disturbed by my dreams and rather enjoy them.

    Raquel -- Your dream seems like a logical type of dream for you to have.

    Susan -- I don't know that I will ever stop dreaming about work or school. They were significant times for most of us therefore I think it logical that our dream lives would spend time in these situations.



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