Are you Really Unhappy at Work?

Are you Really Unhappy at Work?

Individuals often speak about being unhappy at work? When they do so, it frequently is a broad statement that seems to incorporate and color all aspects of their job. If you fall in this generally unhappy category, it might be useful to consider how you are you defining your situation? What does the word “unhappy” actually mean to you?

Take a few minutes and make three columns on a sheet of paper. Title one “Unhappy about,” one “Tolerable,” and one “Happy about.” Think about what fits where. Consider your salary, benefits and other perks, your office space, your boss, your colleagues, your commute, and the content and meaning of the work you do. Is your position boring or overly challenging, stressful or too routine, a stepping stone on your career path or a dead end?

Think about the three columns for a few days and add items as they come to mind. When you feel the list is complete, do some analysis. Start with the “Unhappy about” column. Is it the longest column, or are there only a few items there. Is there anything that can be changed from negative to positive?  For example, if your two hour commute is killing you, is it possible to begin thinking about moving once your lease is up? If your salary seems inadequate, can you have a conversation with your boss. If you are bored, can you speak with your supervisor about assuming more responsibility?

Many experts tell us the happiness is a choice, and it may be. Are there choices you could make that would help you rearrange your columns? Do you actually have some control over the situation, but have failed to act? If so, why?  What can you do to  move an item from one column to another?

At the conclusion of your analysis,if the “Unhappy about” list is still long and the items seem impossible to fix, it is time to start looking for a new position. Life is too short to have each work day colored by unhappiness.

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