We all spend way too much time at the workplace to not be happy at work. We also have more professional options available to us than any generation has ever had. Unquestionably, your parents, grandparents, and more distant ancestors had less choice in how they earned a living, particularly if they were women, under-represented minorities, or citizens of developing nations. That doesn’t mean you should just be happy that you’re living in the modern era and satisfied with whatever job you have. It does mean that you should get clear on what you want to do professionally and seek out a situation that is aligned with that.
When You're Not Happy at Work, Seek Guidance
If you’re not clear on what you want to do, seek guidance from those you trust, such as family, friends, or mentors. As needed, there are also myriad assessments and career professionals available to help you, from PathWise and many others. To be clear, it’s almost impossible to be in a good place professionally if you don’t know yourself – your values, interests, strengths, and personality type. Focus on that first.
If you are clear on what you want to do but your work situation isn’t aligned, dig into what’s missing. Is it the company culture, the job content, the advancement potential, your manager, your colleagues, something else? Again, talk it through with those around you. You can also use our PathWise Location Check survey to evaluate your current situation in a structured way.
Bear in mind that very few of us are fortunate enough to have our “dream career” or even a “dream job.” You should be pragmatic, as every job includes good days and bad days, and every situation is going to have its pros and cons. The grass won’t necessarily be greener somewhere else. You should certainly consider what it would take to better align your current job with your ideal view and discuss that with your manager or with someone in your employer’s HR group. Some of the changes you’re seeking may be feasible in the near term, while others will require some patience. But if your current job is never going to align with your professional interests, you should be actively evaluating other options, whether with your current employer or elsewhere. Don’t just suffer in silence, because if you’re not happy at work, it will invariably negatively affect your personal life. It could have a modest effect or a more significant one. As just a few examples, work-related stress or dissatisfaction can be a major cause of mental health issues and relationship conflicts. Take ownership, get the help you need from family, friends, or career professionals, develop a plan, and get to it. Best of luck to you!