Unhappy at work? Change it.

Unhappy at work? Change it.

OK so you’re unhappy at work and you want to change your job. There are some things that are acceptable to do and others that are going to burn bridges, damage your reputation and your personal brand. You could want a reference in the future, even if you think you bitch only to close friends, some day they could be in different roles when you need to be remembered positively. You don’t want “whiner” to be the first word that comes to their mind when your name is mentioned. We can’t expect to be “happy” all the time in the workplace. Unhappiness happens to us all. But if the situation is prolonged there are some important dos and don’ts.

5 tips to handle being unhappy at work

#1 Try to rectify your position 

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It maybe possible to talk to a line manager, supervisor or HR to discuss solutions. Remember to frame the conversation in the context of your goals and vision for the future. If your boss is a micro-manager, mention that you are looking for opportunities to work independently, rather than complaining about your current circumstances and someone breathing down your neck. If your avenues for promotion are blocked, then there may be possibilities to acquire new skills or transfer to another division or function.

Don’t assume the worst and block yourself with negative thinking. Many people don’t think it’s worth their while even asking for a change because they anticipate bad news.  There can be solutions when you are unhappy at work that you may not even have thought of. Rather than confide in colleagues find a mentor, maybe one outside the organisation who can give neutral input. 

Read: Why HR does not do more for gender balance

#2 Maintain performance levels 


Regardless of  how you feel, it’s important to maintain optimal levels of performance. If you leave, you want to go voluntarily to a better opportunity, than be fired for negligence or not meeting objectives. This involves being attentive to time-keeping (always be punctual) honouring your contract and not taking “sick” days, long lunches or sloping off early. These red flags to any boss that you are on your way out mentally, if not physically. 

Read: 4 steps to create a productive female talent pipeline

#3 Maintain your attitude


It’s hard to be super peppy when the very thought of getting out of bed fills you with dread. But maintaining a positive mindset is critical to protect your reputation. You don’t want to drag your colleagues down or negatively impact team culture. Just because you are unhappy at work, be careful not to gossip, bitch or complain.  It can come back to bite you, especially any indiscreet criticisms of bosses or co-workers.

Read: “What do you mean change my attitude?!”

#4 Look for a new job 

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A sure-fire way of signaling that you are unhappy at work is to suddenly update your LinkedIn profile and start slipping into meeting rooms to take mysterious calls. Set aside a time for strategic job search and go to networking events to meet new contacts. Set yourself some goals and have a plan. Job satisfaction is on a continuum. You maybe happy now but you never know what changes are in the pipeline. You should always be prepared for unexpected developments. Bosses change, markets fall and companies are sold. One thing we know today is that nothing is static and no job is permanent.

Read: Your best job search year ever in 6 easy steps

#5 Work with a coach

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Sometimes the most effective way of getting out of a rut is to work through a difficult transition with a coach. This is a neutral professional who will be there just for you. She will help you identify the barriers  you need to overcome and create a road map for success, with a real achievable plan.  Sometimes dissatsifaction with work is a by product of other issues. Your coach will help you identify those and find ways to support you in overcoming them.

Every career has highs and lows, but if being unhappy at work has been going on for a while, there are some definite dos and dont’s to handle with it and get out of that rut.


If you’re unhappy in your job or want help with coaching for a new career, contact 3Plus now!


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