This is the first of a two-part series on job happiness. This week, we will look at some of the warning signs that indicate you may be unhappy with your current position. Next week, we will look at what to do about it if you find you are unhappy with your job. Sometimes, you know right away when you are ready for a change. But for others, their satisfaction with their position has slowly declined and they do not immediately realize how unhappy their position is making them. This post is meant to allow employees to recognize they may be unhappy, and maybe even help change their role on the job so that they can become a happier employee! Sometimes, people do not realize just how unhappy they are until someone points it out to them. In case you are one of those individuals, or you are just curious about how to tell when it is time for a change, or you are a supervisor who should be aware of your employees’ issues, here are some warning signs you can watch for.
Apathy, not caring, lacking passion, unmotivated these are all ways to express a loss of interest in the daily job tasks. It could be that you see upcoming assignments as too simple, or you just do not care anymore about the tasks you have been assigned. Perhaps you look at your daily job to-do list and think it is like trudging along a rut you just cannot get out of. Or perhaps, you are present but not participating. You are doing just the minimum amount of work necessary, but no longer pitching in with conversations, other tasks, or helping co-workers. If you are numb to projects or tasks that used to excite you, you are probably in the apathy category.
Lateness and Absenteeism
In some instances, people who are apathetic about their jobs will develop the habit of coming in late or begin to call off work. Sometimes, the thought of going to work is more than one can bear, or your entire Sunday may be ruined dreading Monday. You may legitimately be sick or have valid excuses for why you are late, but if this is a change in behavior, it is a warning sign.
If you are not excited about your job or tasks, it is easy to procrastinate doing them. You may find yourself waiting until the last minute to meet a deadline or putting off routine tasks you used to relish getting out of the way. Some people are natural procrastinators, but again if this is a change from what you usually do, it is a warning sign.
Our bodies are remarkable things, and they often start talking to us before our minds are able to catch up. Unhappiness with your job can show up in physical ailments before you know what is really bothering you. Upset stomach, inability to sleep, headaches, low energy, and muscle tension are the most common indicators. In addition to physical ailments, there may be mental ones as well: frustration, irritability, depression, lack of patience. Whether mental or physical, it is prudent to think about when any of these symptoms first started and whether they match other warning signs related to your happiness at work.
With all these other things going on, it is likely your work performance is suffering.
You may find that you:
- are making more mistakes
- are no longer helping co-workers
- are not participating in meetings unless specifically called upon to do so
- are no longer coming up with new ideas
- have begun taking out your frustrations on co-workers
- have lost your patience and helpful attitude with customers
- may even being counting the hours until you can leave.
These can all be considered warning signs.
When you started your job, things were great! You loved your co-workers and your boss; you loved the company’s mission and you were excited about the pay. But if you now avoid your co-workers, you are complaining about your boss, and the company’s mission seems more like a drudge, you are experiencing a general dissatisfaction with your job. And if you believe your pay has not kept up with your responsibilities, it could be a major factor that is the root of so many of the other warning signs.
What to do
If you recognize any or all of these warning signs in your own job, it may be time for a change. While leaving a job that is making you unhappy is the ultimate solution, it is not always the easiest, quickest or even the most prudent decision. Next week we will take a look at other options you may have if you are unhappy with your work, and some things to plan for if you ultimately decide to leave a position that is making you miserable.
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Next week we will be releasing an article to go in-depth on what to do about it! So stay tuned!