7 Non-Obvious Reasons For Work Unhappiness

February 9, 2022
6 mins

Do you look forward to your workdays? Or is your job something you face with resignation – just aiming to survive the hours ahead?

If the thought of your job doesn't fill you with energy, if you don't look forward to the challenges you'll face or enjoy the time you spend with colleagues, it's time to deal with whatever's contributing to your dissatisfaction. 

Most of us expect to be unhappy if we find ourselves working in a toxic atmosphere, or if the rewards don't match the efforts we're investing. However, other factors can contribute to our feeling of dissatisfaction at work. Here are 7 of the most common.

1. Feeling that you’re stuck

Even when we enjoy the role we're in, most of us hope to see our career advance at some point. Looking forward to promotions or further development can keep us focused on overcoming work challenges and developing our reputations in the here-and-now.

On the other hand, when we see promises being postponed or disappearing it’s no surprise if we feel disappointed and even cynical. Regardless of how well-paid we are, a feeling of career stagnation can trigger a search for better prospects and future growth.

If you’ve been feeling stuck, the first step is to speak to your manager about your career goals and your desire for development. The outcome should be to clarify expectations: either to set a clear path to your next role or to confirm that no further development is planned for you.

Armed with this information, you can get ‘unstuck’ and decide on your course of action. 

Photo by Tim van der Kuip.

2. Feeling that you are not being stretched.

When we’re given no control over our work or workload, it’s not surprising that we can feel alienated and undervalued. Most of all when we dread the thought of another boring day stretching out in front of us.

According to Monster.com, statistics suggest that between 43% and 53% of employees are bored at work.

We all want a role that provides us with a degree of stimulation, and where our contribution matters. If we find routine tasks tedious, if every day is the same, if there’s no pleasure in a job well done, then we’re working to exist, rather than using our full potential.

Acknowledging that boredom is a cause of your unhappiness allows you to take action. Speak to your employer to explore opportunities for enriching your job, taking on more demanding tasks, or seeking development opportunities that will renew your enthusiasm.

And if there is just no way to change things up – simply acknowledge that it’s time to find something better.

Photo by Kevin Bhagat.

3. Feeling that you’re expendable

We all like to feel that we’re contributing to something greater than ourselves – to a team, to a cause, to society. The sense that your contribution could easily be provided by someone else, or even by technology, is deeply uncomfortable.

When you’re working remotely, this can become more of an issue. Lack of personal contact can give rise to the belief that if you complain or even suggest changes, you may be dropped and replaced by someone from anywhere across the globe.

You deserve to feel valued and appreciated. If you’ve seen evidence of others being treated as expendable, it’s time to take an objective look at your career options.

If you’d like some expert advice to help you find the perfect job for you, why not send a question to one of Wojo’s experienced career coaches? They’ll help you get started.

Photo by Sebastian Herrmann.

4. Feeling that your boss doesn’t value you as a human being

It’s a cliché that people don’t leave companies, they leave managers.  While this isn’t always the case, our relationship with our manager is fundamental to our satisfaction- or unhappiness at work.

Of course, we want to be recognised for our work performance. But we're not only workers. We're rounded human beings with many priorities, interests, and needs. We want to feel appreciated for who we are, not just what we deliver to the bottom line.

If you just can’t make that essential human connection with your boss, it could be time to move on to your next role. Just ensure that you focus on selecting your next manager, rather than your next job title or company

Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi.

5. Lack of connection with your colleagues

We spend so much of our lives at work that the impact of our relationships with our colleagues cannot be overstated. Even when the job is demanding, the hours are long and the conditions far from ideal, a great group of co-workers can make us look forward to each day we spend in their company.

On the other hand, a workplace with a toxic atmosphere, or where we don’t feel any connection to those around us can destroy any pleasure we may otherwise feel in our job.

If you’re feeling isolated from your colleagues, and your attempts at building positive relationships haven’t worked, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever feel completely happy and comfortable in your role.

Perhaps it’s time to search for an alternative where you’ll feel genuinely welcomed and respected as part of a team with shared goals and values.

Photo by Carl Hayerdahl.

6. Disconnection from your employer’s values and goals

Research shows that when an employee’s values are aligned with those of their employer, they’re more likely to become engaged in their work. The opposite is also true- when you’re not aligned with the values or goals of your employer, it’s unlikely that you'll feel passionate about helping them succeed.

Living and working in a way that isn’t integrated with your deeply-held values can never feel comfortable. Perhaps it’s time to consider whether looking for an employer which reflects them will be more beneficial for your career as you’ll be truly committed to contributing to their success. If you're looking for guidance about how to ensure your career aligns with your values, why not read one of the inspiring books that Wojo recommends to support you?

Photo by Elisa Ventur.

7. Physical environment makes you feel undervalued

We spend so much time at work that our physical environment can have a major impact on our morale. Even remote workers are impacted. If your employer expects you to work from home, but won’t provide appropriate furniture and equipment, they’re sending a clear message about how much they care (or don’t).

If the physical environment is contributing to your dissatisfaction, you have three choices. Stay silent, raise your concerns with your employer or start looking for a job in a company your overall well-being will be higher on their agenda.

Recognise any of these causes of unhappiness? Why not enlist the help of Wojo to equip yourself with the time and energy you’ll need on your journey towards your perfect career.

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