In this card the swords are said to be representative of a cage. This means that the woman pictured on the eight of swords card is truly ensnared. The idea that this card attempts to capture is that of the catch-22 situation. No matter where the woman goes, she will be injured. If she could struggle free from her ropes and bindings she would be able to find a way out. However, knowing that there are swords around her has her scared enough to not move. This prevents her from making any judgment which leads to a forced inaction, accomplishing nothing.
The eight of swords, as applied to romance, usually means that you are in a situation where you too have been forced to remain complacent in a situation. Literally thousands of situations could apply here, but just for one example, it could mean that you have two obligations, one to your lover and one to someone else that is important to you. Attending your partner's engagement would make them happy, but make you unhappy because you failed someone else, but attending the other engagement would make your partner unhappy and thus, you unhappy as well. There is no getting out of a situation like this so you must pick the lesser of two evils.
This card, when applied to money, generally means that you have two different engagements with money as well. The eight of swords suggests that there are two or maybe even several more different things that you want to spend money on. Such a situation might be that you need to pay for concert tickets and a rental car, but only have money for one. If you pay for the car, you won't be let into the show, but if you pay for the show you will have no transportation there. This is one example of millions that could apply, but in a situation like this, you usually have to be forced into inaction as the card would suggest.
When this card is applied to your career situation, this is the kind of situation that can get sticky. You have two choices in regard to your career, and each will harm you in some way. You are unable to decide which to choose from, but you will have to choose something in order to come to a resolution. Inaction is only an option for so long. Look at the cons of each and decide which the worst thing that can happen is and then go with the other choice.
Last but not least, when the eight of swords is found in the health and happiness area of a spread, then this usually means that you are at an impasse in regards to your happiness and cannot seem to get past it one way or the other. No matter what you do, it will lead down a dark road, and this thought in itself can be depressing. Sometimes it can help to think ahead to the future and decide whether the decision you make now will bother you in ten years. If that is so, then there is cause for worry. If not, then try not to think about it. Worse things can happen.