Back in the days when we were in college, we were counting the days to graduate, land a job, get paid, and start a fully adult independent life. But later on, we came face to face with the reality of working life and career so we tell ourselves, “this is not what I signed up for” or “this is not what I thought it would be like”.
You then spend a year or two in a job and you begin to feel unhappy, you move to the next, then another one. At that point, and after a few jobs, you begin to realize that the problem isn’t really one specific job that is making you unhappy but rather a series of unhappy career path.
Firstly, and to put some facts straight, if you are expecting yourself to be 100% happy in your job then you are wrong. Working life is not meant to be easy, fluffy, or happy all the time. It is normal that we get waves of frustration and that sometimes we feel drained and demotivated. But reaching a point where you wake up every morning not wanting to go to work is an alarming sign that you are really unhappy. So, how can you draw the line between acceptable and occasional low-mood and deep unhappiness with work? And why do we tend to feel that work is more of punishment than a reward?
Here are some reasons to reflect on.
- You are not passionate about the career you are pursuing.
We don’t want to sound too cliché but loving what you do for a living makes a lot of difference. When you are in the wrong job, pursuing the wrong career, or don’t even know what it is you are passionate about, you will definitely end up unhappy. Doing something you love makes it all easier for you at work. It makes you handle stress differently and cope better with the downtimes at work. But if you are in a job just for the paycheck, expect things to be a bit tougher for you. In stead of just doing the work, you either have to find ways to make your job more interesting, for instance, learn or read more about it, or pursue another career that you feel will fit your personality better.
- You are not evolving and feel stagnant in your job.
While stability is important, progression is of greater value. You can have a stable job but if your role is not progressing and you feel stagnant you will eventually resent this job. Routine is the biggest enemy of motivation; find things you can add to your role or a way to do things differently. You can also ask for a move to a different department where you can learn something new.
- You are surrounded by office drama.
If there’s one advice you need to follow when it comes to dealing with coworkers, it is to keep it as professional as possible. Be nice and friendly but don’t get too personal. Most office drama happens when you leave room for gossip, small talk, and when you get too personal with your workmates. Keep your communication with your colleagues as limited to work as possible. It wouldn’t hurt to joke around of course, but don’t get too involved.
- You hate your boss.
The perfect scenario is when you and your boss get along well, it is like living the dream. But what if this is not the case? You need to understand well enough that how things are with your boss play a vital role in every other aspect of your job. So, you need to find a way to make things work better. To begin with, you don’t have to really love your boss, but at least keep hatred aside. Find a way to get along together. Communicate better and avoid being the employee who constantly complains. Also, consider more flexibility and less argument.
- You don’t feel appreciated.
Reward is the biggest motivation but if you are expecting a clap of hands or a ‘thank you’ for every single task you do, you are wrong. As humans, we all need recognition, but also don’t be too desperate for it all the time. As a tip, make your big accomplishments shine more, and don’t seek validation on your day-to-day little accomplishments. Start by cultivating this culture at your office. Thank people around you for their hard work, and eventually, it is going to spread as a culture. Also, for your big accomplishments you can highlight them in circulated emails where you copy your manager and those who worked with you on the project thanking them for their role.
- Being overwhelmed and overworked all the time.
Having tough, loaded weeks every now and then is expected at work sometimes. However, when working around the clock and on weekends becomes business as usual, this is an alarming sign. In such cases, you need to talk to your direct manager so that you find solutions together. Also, consider delegating tasks to a team member. Sometimes we tend to get overworked because we prefer doing everything ourselves that we end up with more than we can handle.
- You feel underpaid.
This is one of the most common issues a lot of people face at work. When it comes to how much we get paid versus the amount of work we do, the only thing that makes it a bit more tolerable for us is whether we love the job or not, or in other words, what other benefits we have apart from the financial aspect. Try to discuss the possibility of a raise with your manager or consider a shift to a new department or even find a new job.
Our final words to you:
- If finding a job is not happening for the time being, try to make the best of what you have.
- Work on yourself and upgrade your skills.
- Think of new work dynamics or something to add to your role that makes it more interesting for you.
- Work more on your interpersonal skills.
Found it useful? Read more tips and career advice here.