This is Why You Lack Job Satisfaction (+ 5 Ways to Change That)

Lack Job Satisfaction? These 5 Steps Will Help You Stop Hating Your Career
by Avery Johnson
Photos Diana Zapata | January 12, 2016
Job satisfaction doesn't have to be a mystery. With these five tips, you can evaluate and improve your current work situation (without necessarily needing to find a new job).
The average American now works about 47 hours per week. That is roughly 2,350 hours per year if you count—and take—two vacations. I stopped my math here before adding up how many hours of our lives we spend punching the time clock because really, this isn’t about our time. 

It’s about our health. It’s about our happiness. It’s about our lives.
The truth is, much of our days, our purpose, and our identities revolve around not who we are, but what we do.
The truth is, much of our days, our purpose, and our identities revolve around not who we are, but what we do.
When we meet someone new for the first time, how often do we strike up a conversation surrounding how we make our living? We spend our childhood days in school dreaming of what we want to be when we grow up: doctors, lawyers, The President.

And then we blink, toss our caps in the air at graduation, and embark on our Real World adventure. Suddenly, we are nothing more than the writer, the accountant, the waiter, the unemployed.

Though we are much more than just our job titles, we realize how much significance we, and society, place on our jobs. So why spend your precious days doing anything less than what you’re truly passionate about? The truth is, unless we are finding meaning and purpose in our careers, or using the gifts and talents we have been given, we may not find contentment in the workplace. And that's when we start Googling "find a new job."

If you wake up dreading Mondays, find yourself frustrated with your weeks, and discover you’re feeling sluggish and unmotivated both in the workplace and outside of it, it is time to make a change. The question is whether that means finding a new job or adjusting the way you work.

Work doesn’t just end when we clock out. We carry the weight of feeling unfulfilled back into our off-hours—threatening relationships, our health, and our happiness. Those unhappy with their work situations are at a greater risk of weight gain, serious illness, unstable relationships, and depression.

Loving your job is no longer just a luxury. It is a necessity. {click to tweet}

So what can we do? The good news is, you don't have to be stuck forever. Here are five ways to discover job happiness and how to lead a fulfilled career life, both in and outside of the office.

STEP 1: PAUSE & REEVALUATE YOUR JOB SATISFACTION

Whether you feel generally satisfied with your career or deeply frustrated, it is important to check in with where you're at.

Take some time out of your busy schedule to audit your week:
  • Where do you spend the majority of your time?
  • How do you feel on a day-to-day basis?
  • Are you lethargic and moody, or motivated, inspired, and energized? 
Examine how your work affects you, both mentally and physically. Once you take stock of where you spend your time and how you feel, do a little bit of soul-searching:
  • What are you good at?
  • What makes your heart beat faster?
  • Would you say you are generally fulfilled in your career? 
If yes, good for you. If no, take a deep breath and repeat after me: “I am not stuck.” You always have options.

STEP 2: EXAMINE YOUR OPTIONS—YOU MIGHT JUST NEED A NEW JOB AT THE SAME COMPANY

There are multiple factors in the workplace that may have you down. Whether it is the office environment or your daily tasks, examine ways you can shift these around to boost your job happiness.
Whether it is the office environment or your daily tasks, examine ways you can shift these around to boost your job happiness.
With the rise of entrepreneurship, startups, and a shifting economy, the workforce is finally changing. Many companies are taking note of how younger generations and millennials work most productively, offering better office environments and schedule flexibility to entice this next generation of employees.

Sit down and have an honest discussion with your boss or supervisor to examine your options. If you’re more productive early in the morning and want your afternoons free, ask if flexible hours, such as working 7am-3pm, are available to you, or if you can work from home one day a week.

Love your company, but hate what you do? Be willing to ask for more support or responsibility in your position, or see if there are openings within your company to shift roles.

STEP 3: MAKE WORKPLACE FRIENDS THAT SHARE CAREER (AND LIFE) GOALS

Your cubicle companions just may make up the majority of your human interactions on the daily. You may even see them more than a significant other or your BFF! Developing these bonds can greatly increase your work happiness by building a more supportive and collaborative office environment. Not to mention, you’ll have a buddy for your lunch break.

If your office environment is feeling a little bit quiet and sterile, suggest weekly happy hours or office lunches. If the group doesn’t want to participate, start small by sharing lunch each week with a few employees in your department, or with people you connect with. Combine your relationship building with an employee wellness program and sign up for a 5k fun run or barre class together.

You don’t have to slog through the stress alone. Surrounding yourself with a community who understands the work struggles you face will help keep you all more content with your job.

STEP 4: INSTEAD OF A NEW JOB, TRY FINDING A HOBBY

You are not your job. You’re a human, with thoughts, feelings, emotions, and passions that extend outside of the 9-5. So why not use them?
You are not your job. You’re a human, with thoughts, feelings, emotions, and passions that extend outside of the 9-5. 
Finding a hobby outside of your work can benefit your overall feeling of purpose and contentment while sparking inspiration and creativity. Join a local Toastmasters group, get hooked on spin class at a local studio, take up a painting class, or learn french and plan your European vacation.

Expand your horizons outside of the office. Finding fulfillment and creativity in this refreshing space will improve your overall quality of life in and outside of the workplace.

STEP 5: IF ALL ELSE FAILS, THEN YES, QUIT YOUR JOB

Many of us will cycle through numerous jobs, positions, and companies during our professional lives. So if you are truly dissatisfied with your job, sometimes branching out to try something new is all it takes to shake up your career motivation.

Quitting doesn’t mean you’re a quitter. Over the years, quitting adopted some pretty negative connotations. But the truth is, sometimes we must rid ourselves of what is no longer serving us in order to make room for the next step. {click to tweet}

When deciding to leave a company, it is a good idea to have another opportunity lined up so you are supported financially.

Give your two-week notice in a polite and professional manner, and always strive to leave your current role with graciousness. As much as you may have disliked where you worked, their positive recommendations and prominent spot on your resume will open up doors into your dream jobs of the future.

When it comes to your job, it is essential to pay attention to what is, and is not, working for you. YOU. Yourself. Not the girl at the desk next to you, or behind you in the coffee shop, or your dad, or your best friend.

And when you realize something isn’t working, or you’re losing your creative edge, or you’re constantly exhausted and overall not digging where you're at, be bold. Make the change. Work takes up the majority of our days, love it or hate it. So why not do something you truly love?

Have you ever taken a big professional leap? Tell us all about it.