What It Really Means When You Dream About Work

Many of us know that dreams can get really strange sometimes. While we go to sleep every night in hopes of finally getting that good night's rest we've been hoping for all day, things don't always pan out the way we want. Instead of falling into a deep slumber and awakening with a new outlook on life, with glowing skin, and looking about 10 years younger, you had the weirdest dream of your life –- and now you're just confused. You might have woke up questioning all of reality as you know it, disoriented for a few seconds asking yourself if what you just dreamed was real or not. While many of us hate that feeling (unless dreaming we're marrying, say, Ryan Gosling or Leonardo DiCaprio), it just means the dream was extremely vivid -– and that you probably have a pretty creative mind!

Even if you did wake up questioning your entire life, you might also be curious about the significance of your dream. While people tend to have widely differing opinions about dream analysis in connection to the human brain and psychology, it's pretty clear that we dream about things we know about –- particularly things that we're thinking about or that we've recently seen. Just like we may find ourselves in a full-on space odyssey dream after watching a "Star Wars" marathon, dreaming about work means it's most probably been on your mind a lot -– and it has several deeper meanings, too.

Dreaming about being at your own workplace

The most common career-oriented dream is simply dreaming about being at your own workplace. Whether you dreamed about typing away on your laptop at your desk as usual, chatting with your co-workers over by the water cooler, or listening in on a meeting as part of your day-to-day, it is extremely common to revisit the scenario you find yourself in five days a week. In reality, many of us spend more time at our jobs and with our fellow co-workers than we spend with our closest friends, and sometimes even family. Sure, we all want to have much more exciting dreams –- going on a submarine expedition in the deep sea would be a welcome escape — but if we dream in order for our brain to process day-to-day information, it makes sense that our minds gravitate to our jobs.

If you dreamed of a regular day at work, chances are, you are extremely devoted to your career (via AuntyFlo). Dream expert and author Kelly Sullivan Walden explained to Fast Company that this kind of nighttime slumber means that work is "important to you." This kind of dream is "common with entrepreneurs" and can help "you become better at your job," but it can also leave you feeling like you just need rest. Still, this dream gets you to "work through situations and get an edge on how to do better" when at the office in real life.

Dreaming about working somewhere else

A very different kind of dream you might have had could have involved working at a different place altogether. You might have awaken extremely confused from this kind of dream, wondering for just a moment if you're still an accountant –- or maybe a doctor now? Once you came to, you probably scratched your head at the meaning. Here's everything we know about dreaming of being on the job or at a workplace that isn't your own.

Anything that feels unusual, out of place, or uncanny in your workplace dream is fair game for analysis –- and has a much deeper significance than you think. As Sullivan Walden told Fast Company, "pay attention to the bizarre ... if a hippo comes into your office wearing roller skates or something else completely out of place, it could be a clue to how you may be more successful." Recommending anyone who just had a weird workplace dream to "think about how it may help in some way," Sullivan Walden's point may lend an unexpected meaning to dreaming about working in another place. If the dream was positive and you felt happier than ever, it may mean that your subconscious mind is trying to tell you that a move to another job (or city!) might be what you need right now. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a negative dream at another workplace might mean you feel very attached to your current job, and fear losing it.

The meaning of dreaming about being a boss

Ah, the classic dream about being an authority figure — this kind of dream is common. Some dream about being a police officer, others instead find themselves dreaming about being royalty, or even an alien attempting world domination (yes, dreams get weird). If your authoritarian dream was about being the boss of a company, then that has a deep meaning attached to it about how you see your current life.

While you might think that dreaming about being a boss means you have a high self-esteem and self-worth when it comes to your abilities at work, it may also mean you are unsatisfied with your current life or position. In fact, you may feel like you have outgrown your role at your job, and might think that you deserve a promotion after years of hard work. This kind of dream can also relate to money troubles, and feeling like you want a step up in life. Moreover, dreaming about being a boss means you do not feel like a boss or authority figure in your current life –- you might feel like you want more responsibility to be placed on your shoulders, and want more power and a say in the big decisions at your company. If any of this sounds familiar, further analyze the dream and think about how to change your work life for the better with real-life actions.

Dreaming about being fired or quitting

Last but not least, we have a kind of dream that many of us would classify as a nightmare — getting fired by your boss. You might have awaken from this dream in complete panic, with an elevated heartbeat, and major cold sweats. Once you finally calmed down and realized that it was all just a dream, you probably started to wonder why your brain decided to make that turn in the first place.

If you dreamed you were fired, like most other nightmares, the significance is attached to a real-life fear you have in your subconscious mind. Just like dreaming of being alone might signal a fear of abandonment, dreaming of being fired might mean you fear not being good enough, not being seen as capable enough, or you're simply concerned about disappointing others (via Bustle) –- in this case, your boss. This dream might also be attached to something real that's happening at your workplace right now. Did you recently get into a debate with your boss that showed you don't see eye to eye? Did you make a mistake at work that you fear will come back to haunt you? Similarly, this nightmare might just mean you fear not having enough money, or you have some kind of financial stress right now.

Conversely, dreaming about quitting is just the opposite — it means you crave freedom, and are starting to feel weighed down by your current career.