OK, so you might not enjoy every second of your job…
But although there can be down days in any role, it’s absolutely vital to figure out exactly why you’re unhappy sooner rather than later. That way, you can see if the problem can be solved, or if the issues you’re having are the red flag you need to resign and find the right role for you elsewhere.
To help you improve your day-to-day, here are five reasons you’re unhappy at work (and our advice on how to tackle them):
You’re taking things too personally
So you’ve spent hours on a project/assignment/presentation, only for your manager to point out that something’s not quite right. We know what you’re thinking; ‘why waste my time if the idea wasn’t going to work?’
But don’t be so quick to react. Although criticism can feel like a personal attack, in most cases it’s actually given to help you improve. In fact, it may even be essential to your success.
And once you understand the importance of negative feedback, you’ll be able to use it to turn your weaknesses into strengths. You could also get the insights you need to turn a good idea into a great idea.
And if you still disagree with what’s been said? Dig deeper. By seeking out specific details, you’ll be able to pinpoint exactly where you went wrong, and come up with tangible solutions.
You haven’t set the right goals
Let’s face it, life’s better when you have something to reach for – whether it’s learning something new, saving up for a holiday, or earning a promotion at work.
So what happens when you don’t have any goals, or worse, you don’t have the right ones? Well, aside from suffering a lack of motivation, you could also be heading in the wrong direction – whether it’s because your goals are impossible to meet, or you set them without thinking about what you really want.
Sure, Sharon from Sales might be want to be a manager, and the Finance team might be interested in exceeding their profit margins next month – but none of these goals have to be yours.
So don’t set meaningless targets for the sake of it. Instead, ask yourself where you want to be professionally, and put together a career plan with small, doable steps to help you get there.
You’re not being yourself
Feeling happy at work often comes down to how much you’re able to express yourself.
And if your job involves doing things that don’t align themselves with the real you, you’re likely to feel far less comfortable doing it.
But although there’s likely to be a certain status quo you’ll have to adhere to (leave the PJs at home), that doesn’t mean you can’t bring parts of your real self to your work. And doing so will make you a lot happier in the long run – and could lead to a much healthier work/life balance.
Whether it’s through expressing your opinions in a meeting, standing up for your beliefs, or simply decorating your desk – being who you really are in the office could have a massive impact.
If making these changes still doesn’t make a difference, it could be indicative of a wider issue. It’s all too easy to bring your unhappiness at home to work with you – so be honest with yourself if you think your personal life is negatively impacting your profession.
Your achievements aren’t recognised
Getting recognised for everything you do isn’t always easy – especially if you’re part of a large team.
This means that you might feel like you put your all into every task that comes your way, only to be rewarded with…nothing.
But before you jump to conclusions, ask yourself if you’re taking on more than you need to. It’s easy to say yes to everything in the hope that it’ll impress, but if it’s not absolutely essential or in line with your objectives, it might be worth delegating.
Because let’s face it – your managers may not even have visibility on each task you carry out, especially if they can’t see the results.
And if saying yes too often isn’t your problem? Try taking matters into your own hands. Keeping your manager in the loop is a great way to instigate positive feedback – by highlighting all of your major projects, successes, and results on a regular basis.
You’re being impatient
What’s worse than having your idea rejected? Having it taken on board only to be forgotten about six months down the line.
You know good things come to those who wait (sayings never lie), but it’s hard not to lose hope. Or worse, not feel confident putting your ideas forward again.
But this doesn’t mean your manager didn’t genuinely love your proposal; it just means that they may be working on aligning a million other puzzle pieces that make up the business – many of which might need to be in place for your idea to come to fruition.
Of course, no amount of ‘I’ll get to that ASAP’ is likely to reduce your frustration levels – but before you get too hung up on it, try to be as patient as possible. Rearranging your timelines could be all it takes to boost your motivation.
And if not? Ask yourself if this is the only part of your job that’s getting you down. Because if your problems span wider than a long wait, it might be time for a change.
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