If you’re unhappy at work, there’s a good chance that your career dissatisfaction will be affecting other parts of your life too. When you dread going to work, you find yourself worrying about upcoming tasks, or your work becomes your online priority, it’s a sure sign that something’s amiss.
If your career isn’t living up to your expectations or your job has become tedious and boring, it’s easy to tell yourself that ‘no-one enjoys their work’, or that it’s just a ‘means to an end’. However, everyone deserves to enjoy their job, and everyone has the potential to find a role they love, too.
In fact, transforming your career disappointment into job satisfaction could be easier than you think. Take a look at these six common reasons that can lead to professional weariness or unhappiness and find out how to fix them now:
1. Too Much Stress
Although stress can be a normal part of life, too much stress can have catastrophic consequences. As well as affecting your emotions and mood, stress can have a negative impact on your physical health too. You might experience a range of symptoms when you’re overburdened with too much stress, including headaches, chest pain, and difficulty sleeping.
When the symptoms of stress are caused by your work, it’s often referred to as executive burnout. One of the primary causes of this is overwork. If you routinely have too much to do or you don’t have the resources available to undertake your role, stress is inevitable.
However, this is a situation that can be resolved. Approach your supervisors and explain, as dispassionately as possible, why your workload is unrealistic and provide viable solutions that will improve the situation. If your bosses are supportive, they’ll take action to resolve the situation. If not, it could be a sign that you need to look for a new role elsewhere.
2. Imposter Syndrome
If you’re not confident in your own abilities or skills, you might feel that you don’t deserve your role or that you’re likely to be sacked at any minute. Even if your fears are unfounded, they can have a very real impact on you. People who experience ‘imposter syndrome’ often work excessively in a bid to make up for their perceived shortfall or experience high levels of anxiety. In addition to this, you might minimize your achievements or even attribute them to someone else because you don’t think you’re capable of achieving them.
In many instances, people with ‘imposter syndrome’ have high levels of self-doubt or lack self-esteem, although this might not be evident to their colleagues and managers. On the contrary, someone with ‘imposter syndrome’ could excel in the workplace and be considered an industry leader, despite how they feel about their professional accomplishments.
Learning to recognize your own abilities is key to overcoming imposter syndrome, but this can be hard to do alone. Working with an experienced therapist can help you to establish the tools and techniques you need to be able to analyze your own professional performance accurately and objectively. Similarly, a therapist can help you to find effective ways to boost your self-confidence and own your achievements.
3. Lack of Promotion
Even if you enjoy your current role, you might be looking forward to the day when you’re promoted to the next stage of your career. If you have a five- or 10-year plan, for example, you might be expecting to climb two or three rungs of the career ladder within this timeframe.
However, if your progress appears to have come to a standstill, you might be feeling demotivated, disappointed, and dissatisfied. To remedy this, you need to find out exactly why you aren’t being offered a promotionand take steps to remove any barriers.
If you don’t have the qualifications to proceed to the next stage of your career, for example, this could be one reason why you’re being overlooked. To reach the top in a business environment, you might want to consider enrolling in MBA– this blog post from Suffolk University, discusses the value of an MBA online program, so you can make an informed decision.
Alternatively, you might be missing out on promotions simply because of a company’s structure. If you work for a relatively small business, promotion opportunities could be few and far between. If so, moving to a larger company with more chances to succeed could be a way to kick-start your career.
4. Low Salary
When you feel you’re being underpaid or taken for granted, it can be hard to feel content at work. Even if your income is sufficient for your needs, not being paid what you deserve is a common reason for career disappointment.
Firstly, you need to assess whether your current salary is below the market average for your role. If it is, you’ll have a good case to take to your boss when you ask for an increase. If you’re earning an average wage for your role and experience, you’ll need to determine why you think you should be paid more and justify your reasons to your employers.
Managers won’t always offer a pay increase but, when prompted by an employee, they will often acquiesce to demands. If a low salary is affecting your job satisfaction, talk to your employers in a collaborative and positive way. By telling them what you believe your salary should be increased to, you can find out whether they’re willing to meet your expectations.
5. Lack of Purpose
If your job has meaning or a wider purpose, it can contribute to a sense of fulfillment. When you feel that what you’re doing is worthwhile, it has a big impact on how you feel about your role. In contrast, if you don’t feel that your job role contributes on a wider scale or makes a difference to society at large, you might yearn for more fulfillment.
In reality, all jobs have a wider purpose and meaning, although it doesn’t always feel like this. The trick to improving your job satisfaction in these instances is to find out what you think makes a job meaningful. From there, you’ll be able to set about making changes to your professional life.
You might decide that you want to change your career and work in an industry that has a direct impact on people in need, for example. Alternatively, you might want to modify your specialism so that your role has a positive impact on society. If you work in business, for example, a career with a sustainable company could be your next step.
Another way to add meaning and purpose to your role is to introduce new facets to your job or work with your employers to contribute to the community. Many businesses launch charitable initiatives, for example, and this kind of activity could help you to feel that what you’re doing has a positive impact on others.
6. Unsupportive Colleagues
The people you work with have a significant effect on how happy you are in your role. When you get on with your colleagues and have fun at work, it can send your job satisfaction soaring. In fact, many people love where they work because of the people they work with, even if they’re not too keen on their actual job role!
Of course, this can work in reverse too. When you’re surrounded by unsupportive colleagues or are stuck in an unpleasant working environment, it can ruin a job that you previously loved. While legal action can and should be taken if their behavior warrants it, there are other ways to deal with a generally unsupportive team or a lackluster sense of camaraderie.
You might want to ask your boss to fund team building activities and events, so that departments have the opportunity to bond professionally. Similarly, hosting social events can be a way for people to get to know each other outside the office, which can help to develop rapport.
Some workplaces are competitive, which can lead to an unsupportive environment. If this applies at your workplace, be sure to let your superiors know about the impact their management style is having. By switching to team targets, rather than individual goals, for example, a more collaborative environment can be cultivated, and colleagues will feel happier and more supportive.
How to Be Happy at Work
The vast majority of people need to work and it’s something you’ll spend a considerable part of your adult life doing. Due to this, it’s important to find a career and a workplace that has a positive impact on your life. Now you know what some of the most causes of job dissatisfaction are, you’ll be able to identify the aspects of your role that are getting you down.
What’s more – you’ll have a clear idea of how to fix them. As a result, you hold the power to enhancing your job satisfaction, creating a happier working environment, and transforming your role into something that enhances your life.