Anxiety dreams are never pleasant. I haven't been inside a classroom since 2011, and I'm still having nightmares about showing up for finals I've never studied for. As an adult, stress dreams about work are somehow even worse, since that's the space in which you spend most of your time to begin with. Who among us hasn't woken up in a cold sweat after subconsciously arriving at the office naked, or getting lost on the way to the bathroom, or showing up late no matter how early your corporeal dream body got on the train?
First and foremost, dreams don't predict the future, which is good news for folks who are terrified that their dreams about getting fired portend impending unemployment. Still, dreaming about the pink slip could be a sign you need to de-stress. Work dreams are indeed related to anxiety over work, which makes dreaming about getting fired all the more difficult — studies show that 65 percent of women and 43 percent of men wake up from work stress dreams feeling even more anxious about their job performance which can be its own vicious cycle. But dreaming about getting fired can also have to do with stress unrelated to work, like anxiety over another major life event or feeling out of control. Here are some explanations that may help tamp down a getting-fired dream freakout: