Do you wake up on Sunday morning already dreading going into work the next day? Does the thought of walking into the office make you sick to your stomach? Does your unhappiness at work seep into your personal life?
It's time for a change.
The first thing you need to do is identify the problem. Here are some reasons why you're miserable at work (and some tips for finding happiness again!).
1. You're Not Challenged Enough
When you're not challenged at work, you become bored, disengaged, and even complacent. This can result in resenting your role over time.
If you feel like you're not living up to your full potential, manage up and find new projects to tackle. Take on new assignments, present new ideas, and volunteer for more opportunities. Be proactive in finding new challenges.
2. You Feel Overwhelmed With Your Workload
On the flip side, if you're miserable at work, you might simply be overwhelmed. This can result in excessive stress, anxiety, and irritability.
If you feel like there's not enough time in the day to complete all of your work, think about how you can manage your time and tasks better. Take an online course, watch a free webinar, or read expert articles on good time management practices. Sometimes all you need is to organize yourself better.
Also, learn how to say "no." Packing on unnecessary work will burn you out and make things worse.
If you still find yourself overwhelmed, it might be a good idea to have a tactful conversation with your manager. Explain that you've taken steps to increase your efficiency in your role, but still find yourself extremely overwhelmed with the amount of work you're required to do and you're worried you'll eventually become burned out. You might be able to work together to find a solution that works for both of you.
3. You Haven't Upskilled Yet
Feeling like you're not as on top of things as you used to be? Does it seem like all of your co-workers are getting promotions and raises except for you?
If you feel like you're falling behind, it might be time to upskill.
It's important to constantly stay relevant in your career and keep up with your industry. Think of it this way: A company is a wheel that's always moving forward. The employees of that company are the spokes on the wheel. When the wheel moves forward, the spokes change position, moving around from top to bottom repeatedly.
If you're not moving forward with the company by upskilling and staying on top of industry trends, you'll find yourself on the bottom of the wheel, miserable and vulnerable. It's your job to keep moving forward with that company and keep pushing to be the top spoke on the wheel.
4. You're Not Working On Projects That Energize You
We all have to do things we don't necessarily like or enjoy once in a while. You might hate talking on the phone, but your job might require you to hop on a call with a client every so often. That's just life. Plus, it's important to push your boundaries, get out of your comfort zone, and see what you can accomplish.
However, if you're not spending the majority of your time working on projects that energize you, it can be draining. So, if you love building websites and you're spending 90% of your time on the phone with clients, you probably won't feel very satisfied at work.
If this sounds like you, think about ways you can manage up and make your role more focused on the projects you love doing. Think about new projects, present them to your manager, and volunteer to do them. If you can prove the value of you doing these projects, you might just find yourself in a customized role.
However, if there's no room for improvement here, you might want to consider finding a new job. Life's too short to spend your time doing things you hate!
WARNING: Before you hand in your two weeks' notice, make sure you consider these things first.
5. Your Work Environment Doesn't Work With Your Personality
You might not realize it, but your work environment might be affecting your happiness. If you have an introverted personality, working in a loud, open area might be distracting and mentally exhausting for you, which can negatively impact your performance.
On the flip side, if you thrive off of collaborating and connecting with others, working in a quieter atmosphere might set back your creativity and energy.
When you're working in an environment that consistently makes you uncomfortable, you're unproductive. And when you're unproductive, you're unsatisfied. This is why it's so important to understand your workplace personas and interaction styles and do your research on the company so you know what kind of work environment to expect. Even if you work remotely, make sure your work environment is having a positive effect on your mental health and productivity.
6. You Don't Have Friends At Work
If you have a full-time role, you're likely averaging 40 hours a week on the clock. That's a lot of time. If you spend all of that time in isolation without any real social interaction or work friendships, it can lead to loneliness and even depression, which can hinder your work performance.
Make an effort to build personal relationships at work. Be warm and welcoming, and make an effort to strike up conversations in the break room. Invite people to join you for lunch or to grab drinks after work. Ask about their weekend, find common interests, or simply start by talking about what's happening at work.
7. Your Work Environment Is Toxic
If you're in a toxic work environment, it can impact both your personal happiness and work performance. Evaluate what's happening at work. Is there excessive office gossip? Do you have a bad relationship with your manager? Are people stabbing co-workers in the back in order to keep their jobs? Are others treating you, or someone else, inappropriately?
These are only a few signs of a toxic work environment, and all of them can be reasons why you're miserable at work. If any of this sounds like your current workplace, first try to address it with the main offender(s) in private. If it's affecting your work performance, you need to make that clear. They might not be aware of how their behavior is affecting others.
If the issue persists, mention it to management. And if it still continues, you might want to consider looking for a new job elsewhere.
Life is too short to be miserable at work. Don't wait another year to be happy! Evaluate your situation and take steps to improve it today.
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.