Common reasons for unhappiness at work

We spend one third of our time dedicated to our job and this does not account for the additional hours we worry about work or the quick email that has to be sent before going to bed. 

There are some external factors that may cause this unhappiness, such as poor leadership, a toxic company culture, low pay or long hours. However, unhappiness at work can also come from within and this is something we have control over.  

In this article, I want to share some common reasons why people feel unfulfilled at work as well as small steps we can take to better the situation. 

Lack of purpose 

Circumstances allowing, it seems we no longer do a job just for the money. We are looking for a purpose or contribution in some way. Especially in large corporates, employees can feel like they are not necessarily adding value and therefore feel misaligned with what they do on a daily basis. 

No room for progression 

We want to be recognised and appreciated for what we do. Nothing is more validating than a promotion, new responsibilities and acknowledging feedback from the top. Often, people feel stuck in a job due to the absence of a clear career path. 

Major event changes priorities

Becoming a parent and other life changing events often make us re-assess what we consider as important. They may also change our willingness to sacrifice and degree to which we can be flexible. A healthy work-life balance may become even more important. Unhappiness occurs if the employer does not meet the needs of their staff. 

Personal values don’t align with company values 

We all have internal values that are the most important drivers in life. A value may for example be ‘autonomy’. If work feels controlling, supervised and dependent, the value of autonomy gets ignored and we therefore get a sense of unfulfillment. 

Quitting the job can be an option and is sometimes the right way forward. However, there are less drastic steps we can take to better the dissatisfaction in the workplace. 

Getting clarity on what makes us unhappy

Unhappiness can show up in different forms. I remember feeling queasy in the office environment, which I eventually left for good. However I wasn’t quite sure on why I was so unhappy. It is worth reflecting on work and pinpointing what exactly doesn’t sit right, in order to take action accordingly.

Talk to your manager

Your manager may not be aware about your personal circumstances and how you feel about work. Therefore, it may be a first step in the right direction to have an open and honest conversations about things that would make work a better place for you. 

Speak to a trusted colleague 

Sometimes we just need to vent and vocalise our anger, sadness or whatever emotion it is one experiences. Trusted colleagues can relate and know the environment in order to judge the situation. They may be able to give advice or bounce ideas on actions to take. 

If this content resonates and you would like support with a similar topic, let’s connect and have a chat. 

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