Things to Consider When You Are Unhappy at Work

As recruitment experts, we find that it’s not uncommon for people to come across situations in the workplace that change their outlook on their career and aspirations. As one of the hot button issues of January is “Blue Monday”, it’s important to try and keep aware of psychological well-being of those around you, and yourself. One solution can be adopting a neutral outlook on your situation to give you a bit of perspective and not make any rash decisions that may come back to haunt you. For example, write down your concerns in black and white and review them as if they were someone else’s.

If you’re not feeling overly positive, make sure you weigh up the following before launching into decision-maker mode:

  1. What is the key driver that is making you unhappy? Quite often the core issue that causes unhappiness in the workplace actually stems from an external source whether it is social, economic or something else. This then bleeds into the everyday and affects performance. If you can identify the true source, you can think more clearly about the best steps to take.
  2. How much experience do you have? Having at least a few years’ experience under your belt will be important to have before deciding what direction to go in. This is less important if you’re looking to change industry entirely as you may be starting from scratch, but certainly the more senior you are the easier it will be to find another position in a like for like situation.
  3. What is the current job market like? If you do your research thoroughly by checking job boards, industry relevant websites and target company careers pages, you can effectively plan for the right time to leave. This can be difficult if you are in a more niche environment, but there may be specialist recruiters (like us) who can provide expert advice on the buoyancy of the market at the time.
  4. Communication and relationships. Do you have a good relationship with your line manager or relevant boss? Is it possible to have a conversation about your concerns so that they may be able to allay your fears? Quite often a simple conversation can provide the support and assurance that people need to feel secure. Unfortunately this isn’t always a possibility and wouldn’t be appropriate in some situations, but with small companies the honesty and ‘open forum’ approach works well to help both parties proceed in the best way.

This is by no means an extensive list and there are always additional factors to consider but these are a few of the most common complaints we see on a regular basis from candidates who made the wrong choice. The take home message here is to remember that (for most people) your work accounts for a large percentage of your adult life and it is important to get the right work/life balance and optimal mental well-being. So before you make a change, make sure it is for the right reasons.