6 Ways to Overcome Job Dissatisfaction

Employee happiness is on the rise. The CNBC/SurveyMonkey Happiness Index from November 2019 indicates that 85% of workers are satisfied with their jobs, with the happiest industries being Construction, Real Estate and Technology.

While the news is overwhelmingly good, 15% of employees still remain dissatisfied with their workplace experience.

What Are the Factors in Job Dissatisfaction?

Happiness is subjective and the core reasons behind one person’s bad experience versus another’s are many, yet some factors continue to rise to the top when employees complain about their workplace experience.

  • Dislike of their boss
  • No opportunity for advancement
  • Interpersonal conflict with co-workers
  • Lack of work life balance
  • Feeling that their work is not meaningful or fulfilling

If you find yourself stuck in a role that feels like it’s sapping your will to live, take heart. While you can’t wave a magic wand and make all your job stress disappear, you are still in control of your perceptions and how you manage your response to your workplace situation. Read on for tips to find more happiness on the job.

Finding Happiness at Work:

The way you view your circumstances has the power to influence your day-to-day experience. If, however, you are stuck in a situation with an unethical, exploitive or abusive employer, the best thing you can do for yourself is get on the job hunt ASAP. If you're simply dissatisfied and want a better experience at work, keep reading.

Most workplace unhappiness can be improved by taking action to shift your mindset. That doesn’t mean condoning other people’s bad behaviors, but it does mean taking ownership of your attitude and response to an unsatisfactory situation. Start with the steps below to begin shifting your mindset.

  • Seek Intrinsic Motivation: Don’t look to external sources for a reason to love what you do. At the end of the day, happiness is an inside job and it’s up to you to find your motivation. Before the day begins, find one thing to excite you about the day. That can be anything from leading a team meeting to having lunch with your coworkers. At the end of each day, take a few minutes to recap the day in your mind and pick out two or three good things that happened that day. Again, it doesn’t have to be anything Earth-shattering, just something positive that can help you acknowledge what you accomplished today.
  • Avoid Negative Coworkers: There’s a saying that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time around. If you spend the lion’s share of your working hours surrounded by haters and naysayers, there’s a good likelihood that they’re rubbing off on you and you may be unhappy by osmosis. Dissatisfaction is contagious and negative people are always looking for something to be miserable about. Seek out connections with coworkers who are happy with their jobs, are on the way up in the company, and have an ability to stay positive in stressful situations.
  • Take Responsibility for Your Development: If you’re bored or feel that your job is unfulfilling, it’s time to take charge of your growth. Talk to others who are succeeding and find out what knowledge, advice, or skill recommendations they can share with you. Start leveling up your skill set by taking classes, getting involved with committees, or volunteering in a role where you can learn on the job.
  • Stay in the Loop: Communication is crucial for being happy at work. If you’re constantly in the dark about what’s happening at the office, it’s impossible to feel a sense of connection with your boss, coworkers or company. Proactively seek feedback from your manager and coworkers. Get to know your boss and understand what’s expected of you. It’s also your job to communicate to your boss when you’re unclear, if you have need of assistance or if you want to put yourself out there for future advancement opportunities. Communication with coworkers is also essential for deepening connections at work. Take time to listen to your peers, solicit feedback, and get to know them as fellow human beings.
  • Create Your Own Work Life Balance: The workplace can be stressful. You may have a mountain of projects, with looming deadlines staring you down. Maybe you're working longer than a traditional 9-5 shift. If this sounds familiar, you need to design your own work life balance experience.
    • Meditate, even if it’s only 5 to 10 minutes a day: Science shows that short periods of meditation are still beneficial. If you must, wake up a half-hour earlier each day - it will be worth the inner peace you gain.
    • Eat healthy, balanced meals: Lack of proper nutrition is at the root of fatigue, impatience and grumpiness. Eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water, and don’t skip meals because you think you’re too busy to eat.
    • Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep: Like nutrition, lack of sleep can lead to mood slumps and depressive, frustrated feelings.
    • Get Moving: Take a walk around the office or get outside for 15 minutes. Movement can help awaken the body, fight off fatigue and get you into a more positive mindset. Block out time for exercise in your daily schedule. This can be in the form of streaming a workout class at home, going to the gym to taking a bike ride with friends.
    • Treasure your time off: Make the most of your weekends, vacation days and holidays. Vow to make screen-free time a daily priority and disengage from the work-related tasks like email at the end of the day. Believe it or not, the work will still be waiting when you return – right where you left it.
  • Smile, Laugh, and Roll with It: When you’re having a tough day, put it all in perspective. Bad days happen, so find someone who gets it and laugh about it. When you hit a bump along the way, roll with it. All challenges pass and tomorrow is another day and another chance to start fresh.

While you can’t always control your circumstances on the job, you have the power to choose how you perceive and respond to your work environment. No one likes their job one hundred percent of the time. The good news is that it’s possible to learn how to love your workplace experience – even when you don’t always like your job.

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