3 Not So Obvious Reasons You're Unhappy at Work (Hint: It's the Exact Opposite of What You Think It Is)
So we all know that there are a laundry list of reasons why 9 out of 10 people hate their jobs. And if you happen to be one of those people, I'm sure you can easily rattle off what some of those reasons are. While working for a horrible boss or being forced to do boring work every day are among the top reasons people usually mention, more often than we realize (or care to admit), we may actually be the ones causing our own dissatisfaction at work.
For years and years we've all been taught that if a job makes you unhappy you should leave it, because it's obviously your boss' fault or your coworkers' or your mom's. But, what if you actually have more control over your happiness at work than you think? How would that change things for you?
I'd be willing to bet that you know at least one person who is a serial job hopper. He gets a job, finds an issue with said job, and before his work email is completely set up, he's already on LinkedIn to find a new gig.
Yes, there are many valid reasons for wanting to leave your job, but if your main reasons always seem to be centered on the fact that your coworkers don't "get" you or that you're bored (again) and not sure how to stay motivated, it's time to take a long hard look at the man (or woman) in the mirror and be honest about the root cause of your unhappiness.
Since it may not be easy at first glance to see beyond your dissatisfaction, here are 3 questions you should ask yourself about your current job.
1. Am I setting the right goals?
Everyone knows that goals motivate us. Whether you want to lose weight, learn to cook, or speak a new language, the first step is to set a goal. Having a goal is what determines your next steps and helps you stay on course when you feel like giving up. But, in order for you to be successful in actually achieving your goal, you have to make sure you're setting the right ones.
Just because your coworker wants to become the supervisor of the group or cover a large client, doesn't mean that has to be your goal too. If you are chasing a target that you don't genuinely want in the first place, then every move you make toward it will feel like a burden and eventually weigh you down. Have you set goals for yourself at work? If you haven't, you should. Just make sure they are in line with what you genuinely want.
2. Am I building a following at work?
When I think back to the best work environments I've had over the years, they were always on teams where I felt supported - not only by my boss, but also by my coworkers. Having a group of people who encourage you to be your best, look out for your best interest and provide a good laugh every now and then goes a long way in making your work environment a bearable one.
Growing a group of "followers" isn't something that should be relegated to social media. It's also not something that comes without a little bit of work. You have to be friendly and show up as someone who is worthy of support and collaboration. Are you likable and a team player? These are some of the qualities you need to become popular at work. And anyone can tell you that working around people you actually like is one of the most crucial aspects of work happiness. It doesn't have to (and most likely won't) happen overnight, but make an effort to build relationships at work every day and you will see your followers grow along the way.
3. Am I being authentic?
Above all else, one of the major ways people sabotage their own happiness at work is by not being real with themselves. Any time you are doing, saying or being a way that is not in line with who you really are, you will naturally feel uncomfortable. It may seem simple to fix, just be yourself, but in a lot of cases, this is the most difficult.
When you're in an environment where you have to change how you talk, act, dress and think just to fit in or not rock the boat it can be very scary to break away from the status quo. However, think about what you stand to lose of you don't. Take a moment to think about who you are outside of work and who you are when you're there. Of course in some instances you can't use the same language or dress the same in both places, but who you are - at your core - shouldn't be extremely different.
Work is a fact of life for most people. This is why the goal should be to make it as enjoyable as possible. After all, we spend 1/3 of our lives at work and it would be so disappointing if you spent all that time pissed off.