Why You Might Be Unhappy At Work

By Taylor Berman
Nov. 30, 2022
Articles In Life At Work Guide

Find a Job You Really Want In

The average adult spends most of their time at work for most of their adult lives. Spending 25 to 30 years working means doing something you should love, but unfortunately that’s not the case for most people.

If you are unhappy at work, know that you aren’t alone, and around half of the country’s population is in the same boat.

But, it doesn’t have to stay this way. While work will always remain, well, work, everyone deserves to find a job that makes them happy.

Key Takeaways:

  • Having troublesome coworkers who don’t pull their own weight or gossip can make working unbearable.

  • Being bored at work and feeling stuck in your current position with no where to go can lead to being unhappy.

  • Working for a company that has good company culture and having a good work-life balance can help make work better and you happier.

Why You Might Be Unhappy At Work

Why it’s Important to do Something When You’re Unhappy At Work

Being unhappy at work can lead to being unproductive and dreading going into work everyday. Hating going to work can make your work-life balance suffer because you are bringing the stress and unhappiness into your personal life.

The first step to turning your work situation around is to figure out what makes you unhappy. The sooner you find what is making you unhappy, the sooner you can go back to being happy and work and doing something that you love.

10 Possible Reasons You’re Unhappy at Work

Identifying why you are unhappy at work is the first step towards finding a solution. There are many reasons you may be unhappy in your job, but here are some of the most common reasons people are unhappy at work to help you get started.

  1. Troublesome coworkers. Having a coworker who has a sub-par work ethic or a coworker who refuses to be a team player can lead to endless amounts of stress and frustration for those they are working with. It causes delays, errors, and issues, which all affect productivity.

    To be happy in a position, you need coworkers who have a similar work ethic to your own, and you will also need to be able to socialize and get along with these coworkers.

    Coworkers who like to gossip, coworkers who create cliques, or coworkers who always complain are people you will not want to socialize with. These are people who can make it challenging to develop camaraderie among team members and affect the overall morale of employees.

  2. No performance reviews. Feedback is vital in any job, especially if you are looking to improve the overall quality of your work. If you aren’t getting feedback, it can be nearly impossible to know how well you are working and what you need to improve on.

    This can leave you feeling left in the dark, and it can cause feelings of unhappiness in the workplace, as you are unsure of how to better yourself.

  3. You’re feeling bored. Humans require entertainment. Our brains are wired to seek out stimulation constantly, and when it doesn’t find this stimulation, we’re bored.

    When you’re bored, you’re more likely to become distracted, reducing productivity in the long run. So, not only will you find work tedious, but you also won’t complete tasks to the best of your ability.

    Boredom can also lead to feelings of emptiness in life, making it feel as though nothing can capture your interest. Disinterest and feelings of emptiness are noted as common symptoms of depression, so while boredom may seem like an inconvenient emotion, it should be taken seriously. And if you find you’re bored often, it could be why you are unhappy in your job.

  4. Don’t respect your boss. We all could share horror stories of particularly bad bosses we have had, but there is a difference between a boss you don’t want to be friends with and a boss you don’t respect.

    While it can be a boss’ job to deliver bad news, make difficult decisions, and dole out discipline when necessary, bosses are still people you should have respect for.

    You should view them as intelligent, dependable, and responsible people who want what is best for their employees at the end of the day. You should be able to identify traits in your supervisor that make you say, “Oh, that’s why they’re in charge.”

    If you, for one reason or another, cannot view your boss in this light, you will not be able to find lasting happiness at work. After all, work can feel a bit like a circus if you have a clown running the show.

  5. The company has an uncertain future. There are few things scarier than when your employer’s future seems uncertain, primarily as that draws into question your future with them.

    If the company feels like it may go bankrupt or feels like you could get a pink slip at any time, you will experience heightened anxiety daily, making it nearly impossible to be happy at work.

    It can also be hard to do good work when your future in a position is murky. When it is possible that things can go downhill quickly, it’s harder to find the motivation to do good work, as it all may not matter in a few weeks.

    Furthermore, there’s a heightened level of stress placed on you. When it seems like one bad mistake could mean the difference between a company’s success and failure, you feel like you have more weight on your shoulders.

  6. You feel stuck. Humans like to find meaning in what we do, and when we cannot find a reason for doing work, it becomes challenging to get anything done.

    Because of this, dead-end jobs are horrible to work in, as it is challenging to find motivation. If you feel as though you are not advancing in your career or simply going in circles, it can be hard to find a reason to complete work to the best of your ability.

    If a promotion feels like it is entirely out of the question, you could lose the motivation to do quality work, and it can make your work feel like it doesn’t matter. This lack of fulfillment and drive can lead to severe unhappiness in the workplace.

    You must find a reason to do work, whether that be because it will help you hone a particular skill, help you advance your career, or help you gain a promotion or bonus. If you cannot find the motivation to get work done, you will feel stuck and unhappy.

  7. Your work isn’t valued. When you put all of your efforts into completing a task and doing good work, it is natural for you to want that work to be appreciated. When your work is not valued as much as you think it ought to be, you can be left feeling indignant and taken advantage of.

    This can be incredibly discouraging and makes it that much harder to complete good work next time when you know it may not be appreciated.

  8. You’re underpaid. Money is one of the main stressors in adult life. If you don’t feel like your salary reflects the work you do, not only can that make you feel undervalued, but it can also add to the stress you have outside of work.

    If you cannot pay bills, make purchases, and put away savings, you will feel higher levels of stress both in your personal and professional life, leading to overall feelings of dissatisfaction, anxiety, and lack of success.

  9. You dislike the company culture. Not liking the company culture can eventually lead to being unhappy at work. It could be the work schedule, dress code, or even your coworkers themselves that you dislike.

    If leaving the job is not an option, try to interact with the coworkers that make you happy and bring you joy. Try meeting new coworkers from different departments if possible. You may find that you like them more. Another way to improve your company culture is to see if there is a way to adjust your schedule so it makes you happier.

  10. You need a better work-life balance. When work starts to get in the way of your personal life, it can make you unhappy pretty quick. If you are bringing your work home with you, or you are staying late and coming in early can affect your work-life balance. Another thing that can upset your work-life balance is getting work calls or emails off the clock.

    To help get a better work-life balance is to set boundaries to only do work during work hours. You can also make the most of the hours that you are in the office so you don’t have to bring any work home, or stay late to help make your time after hours truly yours.

Leaving a Job That Makes You Unhappy

While there can be solutions to the above problems, many of them are signs that you may not be working with the right company. There comes the point when you decide you can no longer work at a place that makes you unhappy, and it is time to look for a new opportunity.

  • Know if you are financially stable to quit. Often, people are unhappy in a position for a long time before deciding it is time to move on, whether it be because they are hoping things will get better, or they are worried about entering the job market again, possibly losing a stable source of income.

  • Figure out your next steps. When considering leaving a position, it is essential to evaluate your next steps. Are you going to remain at your current job until you have a new one lined up, or do you have enough savings to support yourself while looking for a new job?

  • Figure out the reasons you want to leave. What exactly is making you leave this position? Try making a list of things that led to your being unhappy, and do your best to find a workplace that does not have these issues. For example, if you had difficulty with your work being undervalued, try finding a company that emphasizes the importance of the work you would be doing.

  • Quit the job that makes you unhappy. Changing jobs can be intimidating, especially with the worry that you might be leaving a position, only to end up in something worse, where you’re even less happy. But you, just like everyone else, deserve to find a job that makes you feel satisfied, valued, and respected.

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Taylor Berman

Taylor Berman is a key contributor to the Zippia content team in charge of editing, fact checking, and maintaining content relevance over time. She enjoys writing articles that help people with their job search and creating stories that inspire people. Taylor earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relation with an interest in communications media from Indiana University Of Pennsylvania.

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