Unhappy With Your Job? How to Make Yourself Happier

iStock_000000158037XSmallI am in an odd place with my current job. I fought long and hard to get into the company I work for. I have made small changes throughout the course of my career with the company to make myself more comfortable in my job. I started two years ago and have worked my way into a spot that I thought would make me happy since.

It’s been a little over a year since I was able to meet my goal of being full-time and a regular employee in the company, and I have since realized that it’s not all I had cracked it up to be.

I spent the last few months very unhappy in my job. The lack of growth opportunities has been eating away at me, and I’ve been stuck in a limbo period of knowing I am more than able to do a job at a higher level, but having too little experience to meet the requirements of the job descriptions for positions I’m more interested in.

Being that I’m stuck at my job for at least the next six months, I’ve decided to make the best out of it by making myself happier in my job while also expanding my skills to prepare myself for another job. Here are a few ways that I have considered/have taken action to do that:

Confront the Issue

In order to make myself happier in my current job, I had to confront why it was that I was unhappy with my job. Part of it was the fact that, with the work we (as a department) are doing right, now, the job is fairly monotonous and repetitive. I have been doing a lot of data entry and I am not feeling challenged.

I confronted the issue by bringing my concerns to my supervisor in a positive way. I told her that I wasn’t feeling challenged and it was effecting my engagement on the job, but that I very much enjoyed working for the company and in the department and I wanted to keep myself happy.

Because I approached her, she began giving me some more challenging work. I still have to finish up the work that we are all doing, but at least I have some interesting work in there as well to help me get through the days.

If you are unhappy because your coworkers are playing office politics or maybe you don’t like your supervisor, find a way to discuss this with them in a positive way to rectify the issue. Sometimes just dealing with a problem head-on will help solve it.

Switch Jobs

This is, of course, a possibility if you are very unhappy with your current job and don’t see the ability to improve your current job satisfaction. Switching jobs by moving laterally doesn’t typically require any development, but it may satisfy you at work for the time being as you learn the new job.

Ideally, you switch jobs but stay within the same company if you haven’t been at the company for a long period of time. That way, you aren’t seen as a job hopper.

This method, however, can be a bandaid; it won’t necessarily increase your job satisfaction long term. When you get more comfortable with your new job, you may slip back into dissatisfaction.

Take on Projects

Projects are great for building skills that you may not be able to build in your day-to-day work, and offering to take projects on shows initiative, which is great for your job reputation.

Approach your boss and ask what projects can be done that you can start working on. A bonus of taking on extra projects is that you may end up becoming a subject matter expert in the project’s topic, which helps companies see you as more valuable.

I find that having low job satisfaction can have a lot to do with the lack of a challenge. It’s not always beneficial to quit your job if you are unhappy with it, so finding ways to make yourself happier can go a long way to help your career.


Unhappy With Your Job? How to Make Yourself Happier — 18 Comments

  1. Great job speaking up and asking for more challenging work. So many people complain and never do anything about it and just expect things to just change on their own. They won’t!

    I’ve found the more I’ve gotten to know my manager, the better my job has become and the more interesting projects I get assigned to.

    • I’ve seen that far too often in my short career and I didn’t want to fall into that trap. Your manager sounds like a good one!

  2. I was pretty unhappy with my job right before I left. I didn’t feel challenged and I was just short on patience in general. If I hadn’t been in the position to become self-employed, I would probably have started looking for something else.

    • Sometimes that’s the only logical way of handling things. You’re fortunate to have been in the position you were.

    • Definitely. I think doing both of these things helps your boss see what you want – you can’t expect anyone to just know. Nobody can read minds!

  3. Being unhappy at my work was actually the reason I got into long distance running. I needed goals to achieve separate from the workplace that were my own and created happiness for myself.

    • Wow, that’s pretty cool. I can’t run for 5 minutes straight, let alone long distances. I admire that you were able to channel job dissatisfaction into something productive and good for your health.

  4. I am in the same place of frustration. I’ve asked for more work, but because I’m hourly, I do not get compensated for the extra hours put in. Eventually, I realized how great of a deal they are getting for frustrating me so much. So I’m off to find a new place that will appreciate my want to be challenged.

    • I’m hourly as well, so when I put in more it’s on my own time and dime. Sometimes the company you work for just isn’t right, too.

  5. Thanks for writing this. It inspired me to write my own post about what I ran into a few years ago. That post can be found here http://dollarsanddebt.com/being-unhappy-at-the-job-and-ways-to-fix-the-problem/

    I added a note on my blog to include volunteer work. You don’t know where that may lead to more opportunities. And one thing I’ve seen some people do is burn bridges before having solid footing by leaving a job before having another one. I suggest they put in a couple applications or resumes a day someplace just to get some momentum out there; that alone may ease some of the strain knowing you are trying to make forward motion.

    • Thanks for writing about it, Bill. I don’t think volunteer work will help you with being more happy in the job you already have but it will help round out your resume and, as mentioned, lead to more opportunity.

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