10 Reasons You're Unhappy At Work, How To Fix Them & How To Know When It's Time To Leave

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woman unhappy at work

Finding a job you love is tricky. In fact, it's become normalized to feel unhappy at work. 

According to a 2019 Gallup survey, only 15% of adults worldwide feel that they are actually engaged in their work. This leaves an overwhelming 85% feeling unsatisfied with the job they show up for every day.

Feeling unhappy at work is not uncommon, but the cause of this unhappiness comes in many different forms.

If you hate your job, this list will help you discover what it is that’s driving you crazy. 

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1. You don’t feel valued. 

You feel like you are doing great things at work, but no one seems to notice. Feeling underappreciated isn’t fun in any situation, but it becomes especially frustrating at work because it leaves you feeling unmotivated.

Yes, your boss should express appreciation for you, but they might not always have time or remember to do so. Sometimes, you have to take matters into your own hands.

As you work, try to notice the things you bring to the table. Be aware of how you’re contributing, and take the time to value yourself. 

2. Your workload is overwhelming. 

We all have a limit, and while you might feel that you can manage everything work throws at you, it doesn’t always mean that you should have to.

Feeling overwhelmed at work could be exactly what is making you dread showing up every day. If this is the case, talk to your boss about a lighter workload or delegating tasks to your coworkers. 

3. You don’t have room to grow.

Some people are fine with doing the same job forever, but you’re a big fish in a small pond. For most people, growth and change are essential for staying motivated in their careers.

If you find yourself feeling stuck, this is a sign that you need a new opportunity to grow. Talk to your boss about taking on some more responsibility or trying out a new task. 

4. Your work-life balance is off. 

Do you wake up in the middle of the night panicked about an upcoming project or task at work? Do you have a hard time getting work off of your mind? This could be a sign that your work-life balance is, well, no longer balanced.

You deserve time for hobbies, friends, and family where you don’t have to worry about work.

There are many ways to improve your work-life balance, but one of the most effective ways is to unplug. Leave work at work by turning off notifications when you’re taking time for yourself. 

5. You feel like something is missing.

In a 2021 survey, Gloat “found a third (34%) of all American workers — including 46% of Black employees and 38% of Latinx employees — feel that their company isn’t utilizing their full potential.”

That’s a lot of wasted talent!

If you feel like your company isn’t giving you opportunities to do what you’re good at, take a proactive approach. Show them what you can do!

And if they’re still not giving you space to use those skills, it might be time for a job change. 

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6. Your work environment is toxic.

The environment in which you work directly affects your mood, confidence, and performance. Toxic work environments are caused by things like an incompetent boss’ behavior, tension among coworkers, and harassment.

Unfortunately, toxic work environments aren’t always fixable because they’re not in your control. However, talking with your human resources department can help create a healthier workplace.

If you’re not seeing improvement after talking with human resources, get out. No one wants to work in a place they don’t feel safe. 

7. You don’t have enough flexibility. 

One of the most frustrating things you can experience at work is feeling like you always have to be there. It’s disappointing to have time off denied or being told you have to find someone to cover for you if you're sick. It is also tricky to balance if you have a family at home or another job.

If you’re feeling frustrated about not having enough flexibility, talk to your boss about options for working from home.

Working from home might not always be an option, but in some cases, there could be opportunities for remote work at your company. It’s worth asking. 

8. You don’t feel passionate about what you’re doing. 

You started your job feeling excited to dive right in, but as time goes on, you might not have that same spark driving you at work.

People who love their jobs are passionate about what they do. They have a purpose and a plan. If you no longer feel passionate about your job, you probably feel a little lost.

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Making short and long-term goals can help you get your groove back on track as you start working toward something specific. 

9. You’re experiencing imposter syndrome. 

Imposter syndrome is the feeling that despite everything you’ve done to get to where you are in your career, you still don’t belong.

If you’re experiencing imposter syndrome, you probably feel like you're alone because it’s something that we don’t typically talk about with other people. However, feeling this way is more common than you’d think. In fact, many of the greatest minds in the world have experienced these same feelings.

If you’re feeling out of place at work, just remember that others are feeling that way and that you do deserve to be there. You’ve earned it! And you’re capable of doing great things. 

10. You have to deal with snarky customers. 

If your work involves customer service, you are no stranger to how difficult some customers can be. Dealing with one or two Karens a day might not be too bad, but constantly interacting with impatient, ungrateful people can really have a negative impact on your work performance.

If you find yourself getting beat down by customer after customer, it might be time to take a break or complete a task where you can have some time by yourself. 

Should you quit your job if you're unhappy?

The items on this list are fixable to an extent, but when it comes down to it these solutions are only temporary.

It’s time to look for a new job when your current job no longer meets your professional and personal needs. Because you work almost every day of the week, it is important to enjoy what you do. If you wake up dreading the day ahead, it’s time to move on to a fresh start.

Switching jobs can be scary, but the reward of leaving a job you’re unhappy with completely outweighs the nerves that come with trying something new.

Whether you’re leaving a toxic company culture for a better work environment or you’re diving into a brand new career path, prioritizing your own happiness is essential for feeling fulfilled at work.

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Susie Grimshaw is a writer for YourTango. Catch her covering all things love & relationships and entertainment & news.​