Not Happy with Your Job? Here are 6 Things You Can Do

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Yoevelyn Rodriguez10
Eating my way through New York City.
July 23, 2024 at 11:33AM UTC
If you don't like your job right now, it might make you feel better to know you're not the only person in this situation. Researchers found that a staggering 70% of people hate their jobs according to a Gallup survey. And if you're part of the other 30%, chances are high that you still deal with miserable coworkers in the office. But what do you do when you aren't happy at work?

6 steps to take if you’re not happy at work.

The reason you're not satisfied at work could be obvious to you — your manager’s incompetence, for example. But other times, even though you might have an "ideal job", you could still find yourself unhappy. How do you bring a little sunshine into your work life?

1. Examine your circumstances.

Figuring out why you're unhappy at work may need some introspection because the cause of your unhappiness might not be clear. And understanding what part of your job makes you dread going to work will need examination. 
  • Do you feel there is no path to further your career development?  Do you feel your work doesn’t get recognition?  Is it the company's culture you hate? Or is it your position?  Did you choose the wrong career?
Identifying the causes of your discontent at work will help you manage them better.

2. Project your trajectory five years into the future.

You know the reason for your dissatisfaction at work. Now, all you need is perspective to help you decide on how to proceed. You could tally up the pros and cons of staying where you are versus the pros and cons of making a move to change the situation. This is an exercise, and you don’t need to feel pressured to make a decision yet. Create a mental picture. See the ramifications of the choices you're about to make affecting you for the next five years.

3. Figure out what you would like to do with your career.

You made a five-year projection. You also weighed the pros and cons of staying in the same state versus making a change. If you decided to stay with the company, now is the time to think about actions to take to bring happiness back into your work. Start looking at other departments for viable career options.  But, if you find that you need to leave the company altogether, what else do you see yourself doing for a living now? Will these changes be drastic and need more schooling? Or are these changes within the same industry, requiring minimal training? 

4. Compare and contrast your options.

“OK, I get it. But how do I make my miserable job happy?” you ask. Realize you aren't stuck in this situation with no way out. Knowing this should be a major boost to your confidence. And, after narrowing down your options, see them side by side. Compare schools or companies you believe are a better fit and make a choice. The notion of having a choice should brighten your outlook.

5. Set yourself up for success.

Start to organize the logistics of your next move. You figured out whether you need more schooling, a transfer or a major move to another company. Take this information and sit down to develop your plan of action. Also, during this stage, you may decide to talk to your boss about your situation. Speaking to your manager before you make a move will depend on whether you need her cooperation to move forward.

But how do you tell your boss you're not happy with your job? There's no one single answer to this question. And depending on your personality, this talk could be uncomfortable, liberating or both. What you want to consider in detail is how you're going to manage the conversation itself. Talking in person is definitely the way to go, but before you do it, know exactly what you want to say and how to say it. Practice in front of the mirror if you have to. Or, call a friend and have her pretend to be your boss. You're trying to anticipate your boss's reaction and figuring out how to react in return. 

6. Take action

Put in place the strategic moves you’ve laid out in the previous steps with confidence. Moving to another department or company doesn't guarantee a happier role. But knowing you're capable of changing your career's direction may be enough to bring joy at work. So, go ahead. Enroll in those new classes, get help polishing your resume, and contact recruiters. You're now six steps closer to leaving a bad job and finding happiness.

How do you know when it's time to leave your job?

You'll know it’s time to leave when going to work in the morning is so repulsive your brain fights to make you stay at home. The negative impact of having a job you hate will spread to other parts of your life. You could develop depression, and, if the reason you hate your job is a toxic manager, you could even get PTSD. Why would you allow that level of stress to take hold of your mental well being?

Most of us are not happy at work. And, while pursuing happiness is an inalienable right of humans, it isn't an easy endeavor. We go through trials, bumps and metamorphoses on our way to achieving joy in our work lives. And realizing a particular job is not for us is part of discovering what makes us happy. Don’t feel defeated if you find yourself in the wrong place career-wise. If you're willing to reach out of your comfort zone for a while, you'll find your way into more fulfilling work.

This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.
Yoevelyn Rodriguez was an editorial fellow at Fairygodboss with a Master of Science from Florida International University and a Bachelor's in Business Administration. She has also completed her certificate in marketing research and now uses her education to empower women in business.

What advice do you have for anyone unhappy with their job? Share your tips and experiences in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members.

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