18 Helpful Tips For When You’re Not Happy At Work

Tips for when you're not happy at work

We’ve all been there – slogging through the day, counting down the hours until we can go home. But, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Being a happy employee doesn’t always mean changing your job or making a lot of big changes. Sometimes all it takes is a few small tweaks to start seeing results. I want to help you find those tweaks to make when you’re not happy at work.

This blog post explores some helpful tips to make you feel more satisfied with your job. Implementing these suggestions may take some effort, but they’re worth it.

Why is being happy at work even important?

Being a happy employee is important for many reasons. For one thing, unhappy employees are less productive employees.

Studies have shown that workers who aren’t satisfied with their jobs are less likely to be engaged in their work and to put forth extra effort when needed. They are also more likely to call in sick, resulting in more disruptions for the rest of the team.

Research proves that happiness at work directly and positively improves performance particularly in service industries where  employees are required to deal directly with customers.

RelSalas-Vallina et al., 2020

Additionally, unhappy employees tend to be less positive and upbeat, creating a negative work environment for themselves and their colleagues. Workers who are not happy are less likely to stick around, resulting in greater turnover rates and decreased stability for the company.

According to statistics, disengaged employees result in an almost $8 trillion loss worldwide – a figure that exceeds 10% of global GDP.

Collins, 2022

In sum, there are numerous reasons why it’s important for companies to foster a culture of happiness at work. By doing so, they can boost productivity, morale, and retention while creating a better overall working environment.

What to do when you’re not happy at work

Being a happy employee is not simply about getting a paycheck at the end of the week. It’s about finding satisfaction and enjoyment in your work. When you love what you do, it shows in your attitude and your performance.

It can be difficult to feel stuck in a job that you dislike. Whatever the reason, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Although, job satisfaction rates vary, they have unfortunately been on the increase.

In fact, a staggering 60% of workers are reported to be emotionally detached from work. Even more astonishingly, 19% are just plain miserable with their jobs. Specifically in the United States, half of the workers reported being stressed on a daily basis.

Collins, 2022

If you find yourself in this unhappy situation, there are a few tips to be a happy employee.

(1) Identify the reason for your unhappiness

First, take a step back and assess your situation. What is it about your job that you don’t like?

Maybe you’re not passionate about the work itself, or maybe you don’t feel like you fit in with the company culture. Maybe you’re not challenged enough in your current role, or you don’t feel like you’re making a difference. Perhaps you’re not well-matched with your co-workers, or you’re feeling burnt out from working long hours. Once you identify the source of your dissatisfaction, it will be easier to find a solution.

If you’re simply bored with your work, try to find new ways to challenge yourself and stay engaged. If you’re having difficulty getting along with your coworkers, see if there’s anything you can do to improve your relationships.

(2) Find a job you’re passionate about to be happier

Ideally, to be a happy employee you should find a job or career that you’re excited about and that inspires you. If not, it’ll be extremely difficult to find happiness in it.

Unfortunately, finding the ideal job is easier said than done. But, at the very least, remember to do some soul-searching before you take a job, and even if it’s not something you love, at least let it be a job that leads you there.

Having an ‘escape plan’ will make you a less unhappy employee and can make even the most mundane tasks more enjoyable.

(3) Set realistic goals if you’re not happy at work

One of the best ways to not be happy at work is to set unrealistic goals. If you’re constantly setting yourself up for disappointment, it’s going to be very difficult to find any happiness.

But if you set realistic goals, and strive to achieve them, you’ll be much happier with your job.

Click here for some expert goal-setting tips.

(4) Take some time off if you’re not happy with your job

If you’re feeling really unhappy at work, it might be a good idea to take some time off. This can help you clear your head, and it will give you a chance to relax and rejuvenate. Sometimes all you need is a little break from work to feel happier.

Being unhappy with your job can make the days feel long and make it tough to get motivated. As such, taking regular breaks – without quitting or slacking off – can make the job more bearable. Working non-stop will only lead to burnout.

Read also: Burnout from work: Signs, Causes & Prevention

(5) Talk to your boss if you’re unhappy at work

Communication is key in any relationship, including the one between boss and employee. If you’re unhappy with something at work, talk to your boss about it.

It’s possible that there are aspects of the job that they’re not aware of that could be causing your dissatisfaction. If your boss is unaware of your unhappiness, they will not be able to do anything to improve the situation.

In addition, if you don’t communicate your concerns, it may give the impression that you’re not invested in the job. Talk to your boss openly and honestly about your feelings. Discuss what can be done to make the situation better. With a little effort, it may be possible to find a resolution that will work for everyone involved.

Tips for being a happy employee

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.


(6) Don’t take your work home with you to be happy

One of the quickest ways to become unhappy at work is to take your work home with you. If you’re constantly thinking about work when you’re not at the office, you’re going to start dreading going to work.

Make a conscious effort to leave work at work, and focus on other things when you’re at home.

(7) Find a balance between work and play if be happy

It’s important to find a balance between work and play. If you’re constantly working, you’re going to burn out quickly.

Make sure to take some time for yourself every day, even if it’s just a few minutes. Go for a walk, read a book, or just relax.

Read also: 6 Expert strategies to recover from burnout

(8) Make friends at work if you’re not happy at work

Another way to become unhappy at work is to not have any friends at work. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, you’re going to start feeling isolated and lonely.

Try to make friends with some of your co-workers. You don’t have to be best friends with them, but it’s nice to have someone to chat with during breaks or at least someone you can tolerate.

(9) Have an attitude of gratitude to be a happy employee

It’s easy to focus on the negative when you’re unhappy at work. But it’s important to remember to be grateful for what you have and all that you have achieved.

Even if you’re not thrilled with your job, there are probably some things that you can be thankful for. Maybe you have a great boss, or maybe you love your co-workers. Whatever it is, make sure to focus on the positive.

Read also: 11 Key ways to develop an attitude of gratitude

(10) Don’t be so hard on yourself if you’re not happy

It’s important to remember that you’re not perfect. If you make a mistake, don’t beat yourself up over it.

Everyone makes mistakes, and it’s essential to learn from them. But if you’re constantly berating yourself, it’s going to be very difficult to find any happiness at work.

Additionally, it’s easy to compare yourself to your co-workers, and feel like you’re not good enough. But, everyone is different, and has their own strengths and weaknesses. Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on being the best that you can be.

Read also: 10 Key reasons why being a perfectionist is bad

(11) Make it fun to be a happy employee

If you can find a way to make your job more enjoyable, it will be much easier to be happy with it. Maybe you can start a hobby during your lunch break, or listen to music while you work.

Try to choose an activity that wouldn’t affect your productivity. Whatever it is, find something that you love and do it.

Read also: 16 Tips to increase your personal productivity in no time

(12) Be patient if you’re not happy at work

Sometimes it takes a while to find happiness at work. If you’re not too unhappy, don’t give up right away. It might take some time to adjust to your new job, or to find a way to make your job more enjoyable.

But if you’re patient, you just may eventually find the happiness that you’re looking for.

Helpful tips for when you're not happy at work.

Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.

Benjamin Desraeli

(13) Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or unhappy at work, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There’s no shame in admitting that you need help, and your co-workers will probably be more than happy to lend a hand.

(14) Find a mentor at work

It can be helpful to find someone at work who can help guide you and offer advice. This person can be a great source of support, and they can help you be happier with your job.

(15) Adjust your schedule to be happier at work

It’s important to be proactive about your happiness at work, and making small changes to your schedule can make a big difference. If you find yourself regularly feeling stressed or unhappy at work, take a close look at your schedule and see if there are any changes you can make.

Perhaps you can arrive a few minutes early each day to ease into your workday. If possible, consider taking a different shift or working hours.

(16) Decrease your work hours

Decreasing your work hours may be the best way to improve your situation if you’re unhappy at your job. Though it may seem like less work would lead to less money, in the long run, it could actually lead to more money if it means you’re happier and more productive when you are working.

Decreasing your hours could also lead to a better work-life balance, which is beneficial for your mental and physical health. If you’re interested in decreasing your work hours, talk to your boss or HR representative to see if it’s possible.

You may find that they’re open to the idea and that it could be a win-win situation for both you and your employer.

(17) Quit if you’re not happy at work

Sometimes the best solution is to just quit your job. If you’re really unhappy, and nothing seems to be making it better, then it might be time to move on.

It’s not always easy to find a new job, but sometimes it’s necessary for your physical and mental health. Also consider switching to a different role within the same company. If you’re open to new ideas, and willing to try new things, it will be much easier to find happiness at work.

(18) Explore other causes for your unhappiness at work

If you’re not happy at work, explore other external causes before assuming that the problem lies with your job. There could be a number of reasons why you’re feeling dissatisfied, and it’s important to rule out as many other possibilities as possible before making any major decisions.

Are you getting enough sleep? Are you feeling sad or dissatisfied in other areas of your life? How is your mental health? Are you eating a balanced diet? Do you have enough time for hobbies and relaxation?

It’s also worth considering whether there are any problems with your working environment, such as a lack of natural light or noise pollution. By exploring all of the potential causes of your unhappiness, you’ll be in a better position to identify the root of the problem and find a solution that works for you. Speak to your health care provider if you’re constantly feeling sad or dissatisfied in other areas of your life.

What makes a person happy at work?

Many things contribute to a person’s happiness at work. A supportive and positive work environment can make a big difference, as can feeling like one is making a meaningful contribution.

Having a sense of autonomy and feeling trusted to do one’s job are also important factors in job satisfaction. In addition, salary and benefits play a role in happiness at work.

When all of these factors come together, it can create a situation where someone is not only happy with their job, but also feels engaged and motivated to do their best work.

According to research, one of the most significant factor for employee satisfaction was managers or team leaders. This emphasizes the critical role of leaders in organizations.

Collins, 2022

Read also: 19 Reasons why leadership is important in the workplace

Final words on helpful tips for when you’re not happy at work

Although I can’t guarantee happiness in the workplace, following these tips should help to increase your overall satisfaction. What have you found to be most helpful in making you happy at work?

Do you have any other tips for happiness in the workplace? Let us know in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you. Happy working everyone!

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So, what exactly is a workaholic? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a workaholic is “a person who works compulsively.”

However, recognizing the problem is only half the battle. The next step will be finding a way to strike a balance between work and the rest of my life. Read more

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Collins, L (2022) Job unhappiness is at a staggering all-time high, according to Gallup, CNBC

RelSalas-Vallina A, Pozo-Hidalgo M, Gil-Monte PR. Are Happy Workers More Productive? The Mediating Role of Service-Skill Use. Front Psychol. 2020 Mar 27;11:456.ated topics

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