If you’re just back at work, this can be one of the toughest weeks to get through. Is it just the January blues or are you really not happy? It might not be your job that’s the problem.
We all struggle with back-to-work blues in January. But what if it’s something more than just post-holiday fatigue?
Are you really unhappy with your job? Is it time to throw in the towel and start looking for a new job?
Of course, there might be a number of factors involved in what makes you unhappy, and sometimes these reasons mean it really is time to quit and find job happiness elsewhere. However, this is an extreme decision and before you make a move, you should be absolutely sure it’s the right thing to do.
Before you hand in your resignation, ask yourself these two questions:
Have I tried everything to rectify the problems in my current job?
Is it actually feasible or practical for me to quit and look for another job?
If you answered ‘no’ to one or both of those, you might want to hold off on sending an email to your boss. Even if you feel jaded, there are things you can do to improve your situation.
Assess the problems
Take a step back and look at what makes you so unhappy in work. Is it the work itself? Is there a personality clash? Compartmentalise the problems so you can stop looking at the negatives as the whole picture.
Don’t think of every negative thing, rather the core things that make you unhappy. After all, almost everyone would like more money, but is that what actually makes you dread going in every day?
Write down the positives
It may sound simple or obvious, but employees who are unhappy can often get stuck in a rut where they forget why they ever liked the work. Negativity breeds negativity.
Write down everything you like doing in work. Think about what would make it a job you love going into, and include anything extra you’d like to pursue within the company. Maybe what you really need is a new challenge.
Evaluate what you can change
Talk to your manager about this. That doesn’t mean storming into their office making demands, but employers generally want to get the most out of their employees, as well as keep them happy, and the two go hand in hand.
Talk to them about how you can go about improving your situation, whether it’s upskilling, more responsibility or help with a heavy workload.
If your issues are with your colleagues, then you should take steps to rectify this yourself and mend bridges. Getting on with your colleagues will automatically make your work environment easier.
Leave your job at the office
One of the easiest ways to hate your job – even a job you ultimately love – is by always bringing it home. You should be switching off once you leave the office to keep your job happiness at peak levels.
If you’re already unhappy at work, your stressed mindset will follow you home unless you make a conscious effort to switch it off.
A study from the UK Health and Safety Executive last year found that stress accounted for almost 40pc of all work-related ill health cases. Take special care to leave your work (and its stresses) in the office and consider creating a new habit to help you unwind after work, whether it’s reading a book on your commute home or listening to some calming music.
Adjust your mindset
Not all problems can be fixed, unfortunately, but that doesn’t mean you should quit right away. Even if your situation might warrant leaving your job, you might not be in a position to do that right now, which means you need to adjust your thinking so your job doesn’t have a negative effect on the rest of your life.
Focus on the positive things about the job. Think about why you have to stick it out for now. Tell yourself it’s a temporary situation and it’s getting you somewhere you want to be – whether that’s enough experience for your dream job, a big promotion or saving for that mortgage.
Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” It may not sound like a practical fix, but you can still achieve job happiness in the face of impossible adversity. If you can’t change the situation itself, train your brain to be more positive instead.
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