What to do when you’re unhappy in your job

Your job is a huge part of your life. If you work 9 – 5, you’re actually spending 2,000 hours a year at work. Once you factor in the typical time spent commuting to work (around 192 hours a year), that’s about 25% of your total time spent at work. Now, for someone who doesn’t enjoy what they do, that’s a lot of time wasted. Unfortunately, nowadays everybody is ‘living for the weekend’. People assume that not loving your job is normal, and that everybody feels that way. But that’s not necessarily true.

Career change may seem like a daunting prospect, but it doesn’t have to be. The fact is, if you’re unhappy in your job, then there are steps you can take to help you find your ideal path.

 

1 FIND THE PROBLEM

To begin with, you have to identify the problem. If you don’t know exactly what it is that’s making you unhappy, you’ll struggle to find the right career and role for you. Ask yourself, ‘What’s making me unhappy?’ Some reasons suggest that you need to find a different career path altogether, whereas others simply suggest a change of company might do the trick. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of reasons people can feel unhappy in their jobs:

career change

For those of you who think you might need a total change of career, then you can move on to point 2. On the other hand, if you’ve realised that the issue is not with your choice of industry or profession, but rather with the company you’re working at, then you can skip to point 3 below.

 

2 FIND YOUR MOTIVATION

Once you’ve identified the underlying issue behind your unhappiness, it’s time to find the right career path for you. We can give you plenty of advice on how to reach the answer, but when it comes down to it, this is an area that requires genuine introspection and thought. To get started, here are some questions you can consider:

  • What would I want to do if money wasn’t an issue?
  • Do I work best alone or in a team environment?
  • What am I good at?
  • Do I need clear structure or can I take initiative and deliver results autonomously?
  • What projects have I enjoyed working the most on. Why?
  • What kind of role would I want to tell my family and friends about?

Giving honest answers to these types of questions can help you to narrow down your options. What’s more, doing online career tests can help to give you some ideas based on your personality and skills about the kind of career that’s right for you. Although they aren’t definite, these tests from 123test and What Career Is Right For Me are a great place to start for some ideas.

career change

 

3 FIND THE RIGHT COMPANY

For genuine career satisfaction, you have to be working with the right company. Every business has its own unique company culture and norms, so don’t lose hope and think that you’ll never find a job you’ll love.

Naturally, the first step involves figuring out what your values are. Once you’ve done that, you can start to shortlist companies based on how well they match your values. For example, if you’re an environmentalist, you’ll struggle to be completely happy working for a company that never recycles. If you’re somebody who likes to go on holidays every year, you’ll need to leave companies with poor or no holiday plans aside.

You can usually find out more about a company and its values by looking at their websites and social media presence. Before applying for any roles, make sure you thoroughly research each company to ensure you’ll be happy working there.

 

Let us know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below!

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