Last Updated on January 14, 2021

8 Reasons Why You’re Unhappy at Work (And What to Do)

8 Reasons Why You’re Unhappy at Work (And What to Do)

Work isn’t great right now. Do you remember when you were so excited to get this job? But now, the excitement of change and accomplishment has worn off, and you find yourself in a general state of unhappiness at work…

Why are you really unhappy at work? There are plenty of reasons to be unhappy in your job role and it is easy to place blame on other people or things out of your control. What is the real reason, underneath your excuses and the feeling of just knowing you aren’t happy?

And why don’t you just quit? That is always the go to move, isn’t it? You don’t like your job, quit it and find another. But after a few jobs, you find that the problem isn’t the job, it is like no matter what dream job you get, you end up back here. Unhappy. Even if this job was your dream before, the crushing reality that it is not all you thought it would be is setting in. And in reality, not all of us can just quit our jobs and flit off and get their dream job, we have lives and responsibilities.

So I compiled a helpful list of all the top 8 reasons people are unhappy at work and what to do about it to help you move forward towards a happier life in your current job role.

1. You Hate Your Boss

Your boss, thou who decides thy fate doth hath the uncanny ability to rub you up the wrong way. Not everyone likes their boss, we all dream of this perfect boss who doesn’t micro manage and isn’t incompetent. But nobody is perfect, not even your dream boss.

Your boss controls your work environment, they organize work, define your job role and is your support network and back up if you reach a problem. If you have an issue with your boss, it’s time to take some responsibility and do something about it. You are not responsible for your boss’ behavior but you can control your reactions, actions and attitude moving forward.

If you walk into the office every day committing to hate your boss, there is no room for growth or amending fences. You need to decide to find a way to make this work, here are the 3 things you can do to help you take control of your happiness at work:

  • Discuss your issues with your boss and find a way you can both work together. Team up and create a plan so that you can both work and not vex each other.
  • Improve your communication skills with them. We all communicate in different ways, you need to find a way to see eye to eye. Find out how they communicate and learn to communicate in that way so that they will respond to you better because they feel heard and understood.
  • Step up. If you can’t reason with your boss and they keep shutting you down, find a way to work around them so you don’t have to rely on them. Take on more responsibility.

2. You Hate Your Co-Workers

We ALL have co-workers we do not like, they drive us up the wall in ways you couldn’t even imagine. Your happiness is dependent on your environment and, if you spend 40+ hours of your week in an environment that doesn’t make you happy, you will be unhappy.


Co-workers play a huge part in this, as social creatures, we crave social interaction and we are forced to socialize with our co workers simply by proximity. If we are surrounded by negative people who don’t make us feel good about ourselves, unhappiness and a drop in self confidence follows.

What can we do about this? We have two options when dealing with annoying co workers:

  • Change your attitude about them. Realize that the things your co-workers are doing that annoy you are just reflections of your own inner judgement. For example, Brenda from accounting tells lots of white lies and it drives you mad because you hate lying. That is an issue with your experiences with lying and not something you can control. You can’t control their actions (the white lies) but you can control your reactions (your very obvious eye roll and comment). Instead of responding negatively to them, change the narrative to a more positive judgement and release the negative one. Re-write who you think they are and see the other side of the picture. So when Brenda tells a small white lie, think about how she does it to make someone else feel better, even if she doesn’t believe it herself, she’s compassionate and focus on the good.
  • Avoid them. Some people are just incompatible, it can’t be helped and if you can’t change them or accept them for who they are, simply avoid them at all costs. Requests to move desks if you have too, find a way to not be around them if they are causing you this much pain and stress.

3. Your Job Isn’t Fun or Rewarding

Your job isn’t always going to be fun and games; and when it no longer becomes rewarding, you are going to feel unhappy. Human beings thrive on rewards and entertainment and we love competition. By making your work environment fun and rewarding, you will start to enjoy going to work.

How can you make your job more fun and rewarding?

  • You can try creating games for yourself to play, friendly competitions with your co workers (if you like them!)
  • Create a rewards system so if you hit a target or goal, you get a coffee from Starbucks or another small treat. An example of this would be, if you close 3 files by 5pm, you get to have a cocoa nib; or if you win today’s sales target, you get to have the victory trophy on your desk for the day.

4. You Don’t Believe in the Work That You Are Doing

This one is one of the core reasons you’re unhappy in a job role; you are living out of alignment of your core values.

If your job role doesn’t match up with your core values, then you will be miserable. If you value helping people and you work in program coding, you will struggle to be happy, unlike someone whose values problem solving.

It isn’t impossible to enjoy your job if your values don’t align with your work. You could reason that by doing program coding, you are helping someone, be it your co-workers or the people who will eventually use your project. You can always flip your perspective.

Learn what your core values are and find a way for them to align with your job role, in doing so changing the motivation that drives you to do your work. For example, to help people or to problem solve.


And if you can’t, maybe it is time to start to consider a career change into a job you have always wanted to do secretly, deep down.

5. You Feel Stagnant in Your Job Role and You Are Bored

Your job isn’t going anywhere and you feel like you are wasting your time on this earth, feeling utterly unfulfilled. We love being safe and secure but we also love progression, we get bored of the same ol’ same old, we want new challenges and things to do. If you are just pushing through papers, day in day out, you will become unhappy so what can you do about it?

  • Apply for a promotion or ask for new challenges from your boss.
  • Mix up your attitude, find ways to make it more fun and exciting.
  • Shop around for a promotion at another firm.

6. You Are Underpaid

You feel underpaid for the work that you are doing and it is making you feel unhappy because all the hard work you are putting in isn’t being appreciated enough. If it was, you wouldn’t feel underpaid.

Let’s ask the hard question, are you really being underpaid? Or do you just feel unappreciated or overworked? Maybe it is because you have taken on additional responsibilities and you feel like you aren’t being rewarded accordingly.

People who are unhappy because they feel underpaid are stressed about money, they are working hard and it is going unnoticed and unappreciated.

The key component at play here is stress. Increasing bills and expenses in their personal life, general life stresses, more and more work is coming in and it is being unrewarded and you feel like you need a reward for handling all this stress. And you do, but you have been purchasing stress relief for a while and you need more money to pay for more stress relief, as more stresses get dropped into your inbox each day.

If you feel underpaid, it is because you don’t love your work and it’s is not worth the amount of stress for your salary. Have you heard that famous quote:

Working for something you don’t care about is called Stress. Working for something you do care about is called Passion.

Here are things you can do to spark happiness when you are feeling underpaid

  • Reignite your passion with your work, find meaning in it and see the results that you are creating. Every day you come in and you make a difference somehow, start to see how it’s affecting other people, and start to appreciate yourself for doing it.
  • Ask for a raise. Simple but often never done option.
  • If you are being underpaid and if there is no room for a raise (and you have asked), then I suggest finding ways to reduce your stress levels. Trying things like guided meditations, exercise or stress relieving hobbies can reduce the feeling of being undervalued because your life is suddenly so much more than just working for money.

7. You Are Overwhelmingly Overworked

We all get burnt out from work sometimes as work comes in flows of business. And at some point, you crack and the pressure and stress gets to be a little too much; especially since you have sacrificed your personal life just to try and keep on top of this ever increasing workload.

If you feel overworked, you need to learn some self-care so you can keep on top of the burnout:

  • Stop helping out unnecessarily, at least until you feel under worked. Start saying no to anything that isn’t vitally important.
  • Find a way to automate or reduce your workload. Delegate, hire new staff, get programs into to automate parts of your job role.
  • Keep on top of your mental health, make sure you are doing the necessary things to keep it in check, whatever your process is (or find a process and implement it).
  • Set boundaries. Work shouldn’t be your life, if you say you are clocking off at 6, you clock off at 6. Set hard boundaries because this technologically advancing modern world will push them. If you finish work, don’t check your emails, leave the office, go do something recreational to help you relax and rest, I advise going on a walk to let your head relax.

8. You Are Feeling Really Unappreciated at Work

One of the core driving elements in humans is our need for recognition and if it goes un appeased, you will feel unhappy. You can try and force appreciation out of your co-workers and bosses, like a child with their 10th crayon drawing sticking it under their parents noses and gladly proclaiming what they have done. But that is never as satisfying as it seems and the validation received is not authentic enough, it feels hollow and empty.

So what can you do about it since you cannot control anyone expression appreciation of your hard work?

Be the change you want to see in the office. Create an initiative to show everyone else they are appreciated, I bet that half of your office feel unappreciated.

Start a culture of appreciation and gratitude, start thanking people and noticing their hard work. Go out of your way to make someone else feel appreciated, the more you do it, the better your environment will become.

With all things, Expectation equals Manifestation. If you treat everyone with appreciation and make an effort, they will most certainly make an effort to appreciate you back. Someone just has to start the chain, why shouldn’t it be you?


All of these issues can also be resolved by you quitting your job and finding a greener field. Sometimes your job just sucks, your boss is just unworkable, no matter how positive you are, people are always unappreciative and negative and you really are underpaid.

What If You Hate Your Job But Can’t Quit?

There is a difference between being unhappy in your job role and hating your job which makes it much harder when you want to quit and you can’t. Not everyone can just quit their job whenever they feel like it, even with some savings hidden away, you have bills to pay, a social life to maintain (when you can get one!) and people who rely on you. But you HATE your job, you wake up in the morning and you really wish you could wake up as somebody else in an alternate timeline.

Here are our top 3 things to do when you really hate your job and can’t quit.

  1. Change departments or job roles within the business. Shop around, see if there is another role that would be more suited to you or that you would actually find more interesting.
  2. Change your attitude. You attitude controls your reality, if you wake up and decide that you hate work, you are not going to have a good day. Change your mindset from negative to gratitude. Make a list of all the reasons you are grateful for your job, it may take a while, but the more reasons you find the be grateful, the easier it is going to work will become.
  3. Apply for other jobs, there is nothing stopping you from quitting your job if you have another solid job lined up and if it’s making you THAT miserable. No amount of money is worth the struggle to your mental health.

Final Thoughts

Remember that happiness is completely within your control. How you handle outside influences trying to wreak havoc on your happiness by putting you down and making you feel unworthy is completely up to you.

You can’t always let every comment bounce off you like water off a duck’s back, but you can control the environment you are in, the attitude in which you face adversity, and you control what you think. Make an effort to learn to see things in another way because even if you quit and go to a greener grass, not everything will always be “perfect”.

More About Leading a Fulfiling Career

Featured photo credit: Mimi Thian via

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Jade Nyx

Qualified Life Coach

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Last Updated on November 17, 2021

How to Get Promoted At Work: 5 Proven Strategies

How to Get Promoted At Work: 5 Proven Strategies

We’ve all heard about the Great Resignation, but what about the Great Promotion? Over four million people have quit their jobs, which is nearly three percent of the workforce in the United States.[1] And on a global scale, nine million employees from over 4,000 companies have sent in their letters of resignation.[2]

The entire workforce is ready to take on new challenges and find new opportunities. But that doesn’t mean that all of them are looking for a way out. Many are trying to find a way up. If you’re one of them and want to learn how to get promoted at work, then this article is for you. I will be talking about five strategies on how to get promoted at work.

1. Build a Relationship With Your Boss

Establishing a relationship is essential to getting promoted. Think about it. Would you go up to a perfect stranger and ask them to marry you? If you said yes, you might need some dating advice or at least some helpful reading material.

Getting the yes takes time because you can’t rush a relationship. The same goes for your boss. Don’t make the mistake of walking up to them and saying, “Hey! I want a promotion!” Instead, ask them for feedback, seek out their opinion, and engage in conversation. Find out what makes them tick, and then figure out ways that you can connect with them. If you want the promotion, then get to know the promoter.

You can excel at your job and be top-level in your industry, but getting a promotion is more than an evaluation of your performance—in many ways, it’s about your ability to be personable. You might want to grab that corner office on the 19th floor, but you can’t get there if you don’t make your boss want to bring you along for the ride. Give them a reason to want your company—not just your talent.

Professionalism is still key. But if you take the time to look up from the task list and get to know your management, you’ll be able to leverage those connections during the interview process and in your new position.


2. Find Out What Skills You Need

We’ve all heard it said that the early bird gets the worm. Well, the same is valid for business. It’s not enough to get to work on time, do the bare minimum, and work for a paycheck. If you want to get that promotion, you need to find out what skills and qualifications your boss is looking for—and learn them before you sit in the interview seat.

When you take the time to over-prepare for the job, this shows your potential boss two things: 1) you’re willing to be wrong, and 2) you’re willing to make it right. Being teachable makes you stand out above the crowd, and when you show people that you’re willing to work hard and take the initiative, they’ll see that there’s no limit to what you can do.

So, before you apply for that promotion, look at the skill sets required, take an online course, and learn more than you need for the position. Gain an edge over the competition by getting ahead of the curve. This will make you irreplaceable and the best candidate for the job.

3. Volunteer for Tasks

Volunteer for things that no one else wants to do but are a perfect fit for your skillset. You might be looking for a position in tech, but if you’re great at sales, then volunteer for sales events. Show potential employers that you’re irreplaceable by showcasing your talent through volunteering. Your goal is to be the first person that comes to mind when opportunities arise.

When you show people that your expertise is deeper than the surface of your resume, you’ll be one step closer to getting that promotion. Your boss will see you coming from a mile away—and they’ll want to hire you on the spot. This is especially important if your company has begun hiring internally for positions instead of looking outside of the organization. If this is the case, then it’s about proving yourself more than just on paper.

4. Get an MBA if It’s Required

If the job you want requires an MBA, then go back to school. Yes, it’ll take time, and yes, it’ll cost money. But think about it this way—what’s the cost of an opportunity?


If you want to make your boss regret not hiring you for a position, then go back to school and get that MBA. It shows drive, ambition, and dedication—all highly valued qualities in this competitive job market. It also gives you connections with other people who have more experience than you and can help you get your foot in the door. Plus, getting an MBA will provide you with access to a network, and that’s one of the most valuable assets for future career opportunities.

5. Be a Team Player

It’s no longer just about you, it’s about how well you can work with others. When you can highlight your flexibility, adaptability, and resiliency, you give potential bosses something to talk about—and the subject will revolve around you.

Companies want to hire people who can get along with others, not someone who complains about everything.[3]

Remember, being a team player is more than just being a nice person. It’s about having the ability to adapt, solve problems, and work together as a cohesive unit. And the best way to show how well you can work with others is by practicing in your current role. Make your team look good, and you’ll shine.

Is That All There Is to Getting a Promotion?

Now that’s I’ve covered some basic strategy ideas, I’ll try to answer some of the most popular questions surrounding the topic of getting a promotion at work. Here it goes!

How Can I Get Promoted Quickly?

Every company has its own culture and way of doing things, but some skills are transferable to most companies. Skills like communications, leadership, experience with technology, and behavioral intelligence will carry over from one role to the next while also giving you more knowledge about how your company operates on a day-to-day basis.


Networking is also an essential skill that you can learn in life, and it’s no different when it comes to finding a promotion at work. It doesn’t matter if you’re introverted or extroverted, everyone can benefit from having strong professional relationships with their co-workers, supervisors, managers, and the CEO.

If you want to get promoted quickly, the best thing that you can do is to brush up on your transferable skills. Stand above the crowd by showing versatility and the ability to lead across multiple departments.

What’s the Best Way to Get Noticed by My Boss?

For someone to notice you, it means they have taken an interest in what you do on a day-to-day basis and how you are performing in your position. Once you notice that certain people are taking an interest, then it’s time for you to make sure they know what you’re doing and how well it works for the team.

Presenting your ideas at meetings is a great way to get noticed by higher-ups, as long as those ideas will help the company grow. You can also start to showcase your work on a more public platform, such as a blog or a newsletter that you write and distribute every month.

The best way to get noticed by your boss is to think outside the box and fill a need with a practical solution. If you’re social media look like it hasn’t been updated since the eighties, then ask if you can start a TikTok channel for the company. Show your boss that you are quick at fixing issues and bringing the business to the next level.

Where Do I Find Out About New Promotions at Work?

One of the best ways to find out about new promotion possibilities is by simply asking. If you don’t feel like your current position accurately reflects who you are as a professional or if there’s an opportunity that seems like it might be more suited for someone with your experience and expertise, then ask!


Your boss will be more than happy to let you know if there are any opportunities available, as well as how your resume might stack up against the other candidates. You could also search online hiring platforms, your company’s community board, or Google.

I’m Afraid to Ask for a Promotion. What Should I Do?

If you’re afraid to ask for a promotion, one of the things that you might want to do is to find new ways to showcase your skills and talents. Even before you apply, you can start taking steps to prepare your resume, stand out as a winning candidate, and gather information about the position.

You can also speak with supervisors about what opportunities are available at the company and what skills are needed in the future. And if you have a mentor, bring up the topic with them and see if they can help give some insight into how to get promoted. These ideas will get your name in front of people looking for someone just like you.

Final Thoughts

Getting promoted doesn’t have to be a mystery. There are specific actions you can take to move up the corporate ladder. It can be a challenging task, and it’s not the same set of challenges and obstacles for everyone. But with these five proven strategies on how to get promoted at work, you’ll be able to get ahead and land that promotion you’ve always wanted.

Remember what your goal is, and take it one step at a time. You can do this!

Featured photo credit: Christina @ via



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