Is your job stressing you out to the point that you feel unhappy at work? When you get to the office to start your day, are you already counting down the hours until it’s time to go home?
Millions of people feel unhappy at work for a variety of reasons. But instead of trying to figure out the source of their unhappiness, they allow their negative feelings to fester.
Don’t Give In To Your Unhappiness
For a lot of people, their first instinct when they are feeling miserable and unhappy at work is to quit abruptly. Even worse, they leave their job without a backup plan.
While there are obviously some situations in which the degree of happiness is so great that an employee has no recourse but to leave, it is still better to exhaust all options before reaching that point.
The key to happiness at work is targeting the problem and finding concrete solutions
Whether you are feeling anxious, lonely or just unsatisfied while at the job, we have identified 10 reasons why you might be unhappy at work along with solutions that could help you increase your job satisfaction.
1. You prioritize money over happiness
Problem: Very few of us would say “no” to a big fat paycheck. But on the other hand, there really is plenty of truth to the old adage “money can’t buy happiness.” Some people switch jobs for the prestige and higher salaries only to realize they miss the genuine enjoyment they got out of their previous work. In other cases, you might have a good-paying job but work such long hours that you never get to enjoy that money.
Solution: Find the right balance. While you need to eat and pay rent, you also need to enjoy your work. If you absolutely dread it, be willing to take a pay cut as you search for something that is truly fulfilling.
2. You do things because you “have to,” not because you actually want to
Problem: You come into the office and work on tasks that feel meaningless and inconsequential. You ultimately do it because you are asked to, but if you were given the hypothetical option to decline the task, you would do so in a heartbeat.
Solution: Seek out a job that truly reflects your values. If you keep having to ask yourself, “Why am I doing this and is it really benefiting anyone?” you are likely in the wrong place.
3. You are not given any opportunities to advance
Problem: You are at a job where it is either extremely difficult to climb up the career ladder, or simply not possible. At the same time, requests for a pay raise are always declined.
Solution: You might need to spend some time marketing yourself to your boss. Provide clear explanations for why you deserve a pay raise or promotion by explaining the irreplaceable qualities that you possess. Otherwise, it is best to move on to another company where professional growth opportunities truly exist.
4. You feel overwhelmed with your workload
Problem: You are given one task, and suddenly your supervisor dumps another mountain of papers on your desk. You are practically suffocating as a result.
Solution: Take things one at a time and prioritize your tasks. This means focusing on your organizational skills and setting deadlines. Likewise, recognize that you are a human and not a robot and that unless your boss is truly evil, you aren’t going to be expected to finish everything at once.
5. Your career goals are not clearly defined
Problem: You’re at a job, and you’re just doing the bare minimum, going through the motions, and even just phoning it in. Chances are, you haven’t figured out what you want out of your particular job or even career.
Solution: Take a notepad and a pen and jot out some of your short and long-term career goals. To simplify the process and make it more concrete, determine what work-related goals you want to accomplish in these next 12 months.
It may be to get a promotion, move to another job, or reach a certain measurable level of productivity.
6. Your work schedule doesn’t offer much flexibility
Problem: Your work hours don’t allow you to do things that are important to you like drop your children off at school in the mornings. Or, if you are a student yourself, you don’t have enough time to finish assignments and study for exams.
Solution: Find time to meet with your supervisor and figure out if you can compromise. For instance, coming into work later but also leaving at a later hour or working a few hours on Saturdays.
7. Your boss micro-manages you
Problem: You consider yourself a responsible, productive employee, but your boss frustrates you by always trying to exert control and telling you what to do.
Solution: The root of the problem could be that your boss isn’t entirely sure what you are up to. Solve this by taking a proactive approach. Let your manager know what your agenda is over the course of the next few weeks and even months and when they can expect whatever it is you are delivering.
You can also share these plans with colleagues. The result could be greater autonomy and breathing room to complete your projects.
8. Your ambitions are misguided
Problem: You are a highly ambitious employee, but you feel miserable and unhappy at work because your ambition is either leading you nowhere or is even alienating your colleagues.
Solution: There is nothing wrong with being ambitious, but it must be done for the right reasons or motivations. You should want to help your company succeed in using your talents and drive, but you should understand that it is not a zero-sum game.
In particular, success isn’t about dragging colleagues down in the process. It is about leading and bringing everybody up with you.
9. You spend more time on the mundane processes than the actual job itself
Problem: You attend hours upon hours of boring meetings. You also spend a significant amount of time combing through emails. Beyond this, you don’t feel like you are actually accomplishing any of the work.
Solution: The good news is that half of the people in the room agree with you 100% that most meetings are a huge waste of time. If it is an option, try to work together to convince your supervisors that the fewer the meetings, the better.
If this falls on deaf ears, do your best to make the meetings as productive as possible. This means coming to meetings prepared with information, facts, figures, etc., and giving colleagues a reason to contribute.
10. You aren’t making friends with co-workers
Problem: You come to your job every day and work with colleagues that you don’t really know. As a result, you feel lonely and unhappy at work.
Solution: Break out of your shell. You might not necessarily become best friends with all of your co-workers and, in fact, some might even irritate you. But try to develop a friendship with at least a couple of them. This could mean grabbing some beers after work or going out to a movie.
Having a colleague who is also a friend can increase your confidence in your job, and they could be useful when you need a helping hand.
So if you want to find happiness at work, realize that it is not an impossible mystery or puzzle.
It is just a matter of identifying your problems and finding an approach that helps you succeed in eliminating whatever it is that is making you unhappy at work.