What To Do When You're Unhappy at Work

By Indeed Editorial Team

March 30, 2021

Throughout your career, there may be times when you feel content with your job and other times when you are thinking about moving onto a new role. While resigning is one way to get out of a challenging situation, there are many other ways you can improve your workday. When reflecting on your job, it's important to get to the root of what may be making you feel less than satisfied with your work. In this article, we share 15 reasons you might be unhappy at work and what to do about each one.

Related: How to Tell Your Manager You Are Unhappy

Why it's important to do something when you're unhappy at work

When you're feeling unhappy at work, it's important to do something about it right away. This way, you can get back on track to enjoying your job. Life is too short to work at a job you dislike, which is why it's crucial to make sure your current job is the right fit for you.

While looking for a new job is a solution, there are other ways you can improve your feelings toward work. The first step is learning why you might be feeling unhappy in your current situation. The sooner you do this, the sooner you can start to figure out solutions and begin to feel happy again.

Related: 10 Ways To Have a More Positive Attitude at Work

Reasons you might be unhappy at work

If you're feeling unhappy with your job, it could be due to one of these reasons:

You're feeling bored

When you're feeling bored at work, this could mean you are ready for a new challenge. Ask your manager if you could meet to discuss your responsibilities. During this meeting, let them know that you are hoping to try something new. If you have a specific task or project in mind, feel free to share it with them. Your manager might be happy to pass along some of their responsibilities, especially if they are feeling busy with work.

Related: 13 Productive Things To Do When You're Bored at Work

You're working long hours

Working long hours can become tiring after a while. If you find that your work hours keep increasing, try to figure out why this might be. Sometimes, it may simply be due to a busy season at work. In these cases, try to find ways to push through these times, and remind yourself that you won't always be this busy. Other times, you may need to figure out ways to organized and prioritize your workload. When you find ways to work smarter, you may find that you can leave the office earlier.

You dislike the company culture

If you find it challenging to get along with your coworkers, then you may want to look for a new job. In the meantime, try to find ways to make your work environment more pleasant for yourself. Try to interact with people who bring you joy. You may even find that you get along with colleagues in a different department better. In this case, see if there is an opening within this department.

You lack motivation

You may go through periods where you need an extra boost in motivation to get things done. When you need to get challenging or tedious work done, try to find ways to improve your attitude. One way to do this is through mindful thinking. Instead of thinking about how long a project is going to take, try to live in the present and take it one step at a time.

Another way to improve your motivation is to practice healthy habits. Exercising, getting enough sleep, eating healthy and doing things you enjoy outside of work are all great ways to energize yourself. You may find that when you treat your mind and body right, you'll feel more awake and ready to take on the day.

Related: 4 Simple Ways To Maintain Motivation for Career Success

You're feeling stressed

Stress can get in the way of your happiness and health. When work is becoming too stressful, you need to start finding ways to lower your stress levels. One way to do this is by having an honest discussion with your manager about your workload. Let them know you may need some extra time on your projects. If your work environment is stressful, then you may need to talk to human resources. They may be able to make some meaningful changes. Finally, practicing deep breathing and meditation may help you calm your mind.

You need a break

Now might be the time to take a few days off from work. Spend these days doing exactly what you want to do. For some people, this is traveling. For others, it's finally getting caught up on other projects. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it is something that helps you decompress from work. Taking vacations regularly can help you get back into work feeling rested and recharged. Remember, when taking time off, turn off your work-related notifications.

You need a better work-life balance

If work is getting in the way of your personal life, you may need to make a change. Try to find ways to be more productive at work, so you can leave the office at a reasonable hour. Likewise, when you are away from work, make an effort to turn off all of your notifications. By setting these boundaries right away, you can enjoy your personal time without having to return an email or answer a business call.

You want to move forward

One reason you may feel unhappy at work is that you are ready for bigger and better things. Now might be a good time to apply for a promotion. See if your work has any current openings. If you find there is little room for growth at this company, it may be time to start searching for new opportunities. When you find a job that aligns with your skillset and experience, work may become more fulfilling to you.

You're unsure about your performance

Getting feedback from your employer may help you start feeling better about work. When you have a good understanding of how you're doing, you'll know what you are doing well and what you can work on. If it's been a while since your manager has discussed your performance, ask if you could meet with them. During this conversation, they may even help you create new goals to work toward. This conversation can give you a fresh outlook on work, and feel excited to work toward your goals.

Related: Giving and Receiving Feedback: Definitions and Examples

You need a change

If you've been working in the same job for a while now, you simply may be ready for a change. While looking for a new job is one solution, there are a few other things you can do to make work more interesting again. For instance, see if you can work on a new project. By trying something outside of your comfort level, you can develop new skills. Even just rearranging your desk or packing yourself more exciting lunches can liven up your day. Making an effort to get to know your coworkers better can also improve your morale.

You want a raise

When you're feeling underpaid for the value you bring to a company, start thinking about asking for a raise. Before having this conversation, come up with a list of reasons you deserve a raise. For instance, if your responsibilities have increased since working here, this can be a perfect time to bring up this topic. When asking for a raise, choose a time when your manager is in a good mood and has some free time. This can increase your chances of getting that additional money you deserve.

You need different responsibilities

After doing the same kind of work for a long time, you may be ready for something new. See if you can take on different responsibilities. Think about which skills you have developed while working at your current job, and determine what kind of projects you'd be well suited to do.

You wish you had a better employer

If your employer is making it challenging to enjoy your job, this could be a sign you need to look for a new job. While you search for a new company, there are a few things you can do to improve your happiness. The first thing to do is invest your attention toward people you enjoy being around. Try to connect with coworkers who have a positive energy about them. Then, try to focus on your work. By finding ways to stay focused, you can learn to ignore your employer.

You want others to hear your ideas

Learning to speak up at meetings is one way to have others hear your ideas. Before sharing your ideas, try to fully develop them. This way, people can understand that you are serious about this idea and that you have some research to back it up.

You want learning opportunities

If you are someone who enjoys learning, then your happiness is dependent on the opportunity to explore and research new things. See if your employer would be willing to support your learning activities. For instance, you could see if they would send you to a conference or lecture. Likewise, you may want to inquire if they would reimburse any continuing education courses.

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