Top 10 signs you’re unhappy at work

Unhappy at work

How do you know that you’re unhappy at work? That something is not right and that it’s time to either make some changes at work or move on to a new job?

In my work, I talk to a lot of people who are not happy with their jobs. Here are the top ten symptoms of unhappiness at work that I’ve observed. How many apply to you?

1: You procrastinate
You really, honestly try to get some work done. But somehow you never really get around to it. Or you only do it at the last possible moment and then only do a half-baked effort.

Many people view procrastination as a personal weakness. To me, it’s one of the strongest warning signs of unhappiness at work.

2: You spend Sunday night worrying about Monday morning
“I never sleep on Sunday night very well because I’m worried about going to work on Monday morning. My job is very stressful and you kind of have to gear up for Monday and getting back into that.” (source)

One of the worst things about being unhappy at work is that the unhappiness bleeds over into your free time. If you’ve had a lousy day at work, it’s difficult to go home and have a great evening. If your week sucked, it’s hard to have a fun, relaxed, carefree weekend.

3: You’re really competitive about salary and titles
You don’t like the job itself, so you focus much more on salary and perks. Knowing that someone in a similar position is paid more than you, or is promoted when you’re not, really eats at you.

When we’re unhappy at work we get a lot more competitive, for one simple reason: When work doesn’t give us happiness and enjoyment we want to get something else out of it. And what else is there but compensation and promotions.

4: You don’t feel like helping co-workers
Your colleagues may be struggling. But you don’t really feel like lending a hand. Why should you?

One very interesting psychological study started by putting subjects in either a good mood or a bad mood. They were then asked to go down the hall to another room where the experiment would continue. In the hallway the real experiment took place – the subjects passed a man holding a big box struggling to open a door. Would the subject help that person? The experiment showed, that when we’re in a bad mood, we’re much less likely to help others.

5: Work days feel looooong
The first thing you do in the morning, is calculate the number of hours until you can go home.

Ironically, this makes the work day feel even longer.

6: You have no friends at work
Friends at work? They’re mostly all jerks anyway.

Gallup have found in their studies of workplace engagement, that one of the strongest factors that predict happiness at work is having at least one close friend at work.

7: You don’t care. About anything.
Things can go well or they can go badly for your workplace. Either way, you don’t really give a damn.

When you’re unhappy, you care mostly about yourself and not so much about the workplace.

8: Small things bug you
Small annoyances bug you out of all proportion. Like someone taking up too much space in the parking lot, someone taking the last coffee without brewing a new pot or someone talking too loudly in the next cubicle.

When you’re unhappy you have much thinner skin and a shorter fuse. It takes a lot less to annoy you.

9: You’re suspicious of other people’s motives
No matter what people do, your fist thought is “what are they up to?” Good or bad, big or small, all decisions and actions made by your co-workers and managers are seen in this light.

Studies show that we’re also more suspicious of others when we’re unhappy.

10: Physical symptoms
You suffer from insomnia, headaches, low energy, muscle tension and/or other physical symptoms.

Studies show that when you’re unhappy at work you’re more prone to experience these physical stress symptoms.

Your take

How many of these apply to you in your current job? Did I leave any important symptoms of workplace unhappiness out? Please write a comment. I’d really like to know your take!

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130 thoughts on “Top 10 signs you’re unhappy at work”

  1. If you’re only procrastinating at work (not at home), I’d agree that it is a red flag. But even if you procrastinate away from work as well, its a clue that something is out of balance.

    There is a fairly good book on procrastingation called The Now Habit by Neal Fiore. To over simplify, he says that procrastination is a symptom of internal conflict over perfectionism, control, or other issues. Basically, we are telling ourselves to do something and resisting it at the same time. (If work triggers procrastination, you’re in conflict!) The better you understand where these two contrary motivations are coming from, the easier it is to balance them.

    As someone who has really been butting heads with procrastination lately, that’s my two cents.

  2. At my previous job, I definitely was experiencing 1, 2, 5, and 7 through 10. Four months ago, I quit (after 10 years there) – I’m now freelancing, and slowly starting to “detox”. I gotta say, your blog here has been a big help to me over the past year – I believe that what you had to say here (and in your book – I was one of your early reviewers that never actually got around to posting a review – what was that item about procrastination?) really helped me to make my decision to finally make a change in my career. I’m a lot happier where I am now!

  3. 1,2,5,7,10

    10 esp. high cholesterol levels, continual bouts of bronchitus, receding hairline at age 22…

    thank goodness I quit when I did

  4. WOW!
    As always Alex, your blog confronts me with everyday life at work.
    I have been thinking about this for a long time now (I even emailed you asking for advice) and I believe this to be so true and applicable in my case that it is scary!

    #1: I certainly do not waste time at work, I just have nothing to do so I log on to the training website and take as many courses as I can… and I guess I procrastinate before I even get to work because no matter if I wake up earlier to be on time I always end up leaving home the same time (usually late) and then traffic does not help…

    #3: Where I work is all about the pay scale and job description, so I have tried to apply to other vacancies where the salary and job is much better and appreciated by others, but have not succeeded at this so far… although my patience might be gone soon, there are other positions I am interested in so it would be worthwhile waiting for my chance, but will it be a conceivable chance soon?… I don’t really know…

    #4: It’s not that I don’t feel like helping co-workers, it’s that my bosses and where I work is so concerned about what the ‘job description’ says that I am not allowed to leave my workspace to help others… so this is quite frustrating and of course, I think that as a consequence the following signs apply to me…

    #5: Work days feel looooong – and it does not help to be hyperactive, because I finish what I have to do extremely fast and creativity is not really allowed here, so I just study and look at the clock hoping the day will end soon…

    #7: I don’t care if there are patrons or not, if we have enough budget or events, really I don’t, just because I have proposed several things that would get us more customers but since “that is not in my job description” they were just disregarded, so I really do not care about anything that happens here…

    8: Small things bug you – Of course I am supposed to answer or make calls and redirect them, but it’s just depressing that, although my boss knows I am overqualified for this position he still never misses the opportunity to reminds me how at the “bottom of the food chain” I’m at, so anything he requests over the phone bugs me, the way other people talk really loud in the cubicles behind me or the fact that my workspace is the pass way for everyone coming and going and sometimes they just do not even say hello.

    10: Physical symptoms – I don’t think I sleep well, so at work I have low energy and sleepy and tired, I get allergies and just feel down…

    So after ventilating all this, I wonder what I should do…
    How can I be sure to know what I would love to work in, how to find a job I’ll love and be happy at work? I would even be willing to change my residence and leave my beloved Mexico if that meant that I would be happier altogether!

    Any feedback?

  5. How true are all those things. I recently left a job that turned me from a happy and dedicated employee to a miserable and not so dedicated employee. THe day I left that job suddenly it was like a weight was lifted off me. My eyes cleared my head opened and I found dedication and passion like never before. Although I am fortunate that I can leaver a job, with no children and no one to support. I am curious what advice you have for those who are miserable and cannot find a different or better job. Additionally you have covered this before, leadership and work culture have a large impact on employee happiness.

    Mike

  6. Well, according to me, relationships with Bosses does add some percent to people being unhappy at work. And I guess, the factor of people-not-happy-with-bosses, came up as another important factor for leaving their jobs.

    #6 is nice, thinking at the other way round, if there are a loads more of closer friends in the current firm, you would probably think a bit before try to shift! :)

  7. This one sure hits home. This week has been extremely stressful and it is amazing how stress manifests itself in our bodies, psyche and behavior. I grind my teeth and noticed it after a particularly stressful day.

    Currently I’m sorting out what I can change and what I can’t and when/if I should quit. The optomist in me says that I can make it work, anywhere, anytime. It’s all about my attitude, self-control and inner self-esteem.

  8. This looks like plagerism – have you copied someone elses article as I have seen something very similar before. You really should make an attribution if someone else gave you the idea.

  9. Sean: 8 out of 10? Ouch!

    Felipe: Good point, they probably apply equally to studying. And I’m sorry to hear that they also apply to you.

    Dave: Procrastination as a sign of conflict – that’s a great concept. That book goes into my shopping basket (click) right about now :o)

    Scott: Workplace dementor – I love it!!!

    Kirk: Thank you for the kind words – and congrats on the self-employment detox :o)

    Mark: I agree – thank goodness :o)

    Guilla: That sounds absolutely horrible! But remember: there are great jobs, great managers and great workplaces out there.

    Do you know someone who loves their job? Talk to them and find out what they love about it. Have you previously had a job you liked? What did you like about it? What is your dream job like?

    Thinking about these questions may give you a clearer picture of what kind of a job you will love.

    Mike: “My eyes cleared my head opened and I found dedication and passion like never before.” – That’s amazing!!

    My advice to people who are miserable stuck in a bad job is to consider not only the risk of quitting that job – but also the risk of staying. And that risk can be insanely high.

    Vignesh: I agree – a bad realtionship with your boss is a huge source of unhappiness. And friends are a source of happiness.

    Squish: You CAN make it work anywhere. The question is: Is it worth it? Or will moving on to a different job make you happier, faster?

    Lin: Nope, I came up with these all on my own. But if you’ve seen a similar list somewhere please send me the link, I’d love to read it :o)

  10. kind a difficult to be happy at work when your Company had an 80% turn over the first year , same the second and settle at 64 the third . Were all these Employees bad ? a good share yes , due to very poor quality in hiring , and a combination from the management of oppression , repression and retaliation , Kind a difficult to be positive to say the least and yet they complain about customer satisfaction and how much it cost the Company , do they pay attention on the cost of this turn over no , they forget everyone of these employee which have been terminated give a negative inside story , far more effective than a single customer , in my view combining termite and dry root .

  11. looks like lin davis needs to get head head out of the corporate box……..good lord give it rest on the plagerism thing, you need a cocktail!

  12. Lin,
    It’s very rude to accuse someone of plagiarism and reprimand them for something you think you “MAY have read” elsewhere. To call someone out for an effort (plagiarized or not…bc this list is still a service to lots of unhappy ppl) without any evidence to back it up is rather cavalier and lazy.

    having just made the job switch, I’d say everything on this list applied to me except that i did enjoy my co-workers (we would all huddle and lunch and plot our eventual escapes). and i’d like to agree that a poor boss can make or break a job no matter how poor or great the overall environment is.

  13. PLAGIARISM.
    an interesting word,unless you are into high tech R&D just about everything has been done and said before , in this concept however it is very well presented and definitly do not fit into plagiarism,hope I did not desappoint you too much . but it is a fact.

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  15. Wow….I think all of these things apply to me. I’m absolutely miserable in my job. My job is the kind of place where you feel like no matter what you do, you are not doing enough. When I first started two years ago, I would come in on the weekends and work at least 10 hours each day in an attempt to please my supervisor. But it was never enough. At my job, you could do 100 things right, but if you make one small mistake, that’s the only thing that will be noticed….and harped on. Also, management has favorites….who can do no wrong.

    The office is infested with gossip and low morale. Several of my coworkers have confessed to suffering the same symptoms as myself: depression and physical illness. On one particularly bad work week, I found myself heavily bleeding, even though I was not nearly close to my menstrual period. I also sometimes dread going to work so much in the morning that I actually begin to shake, and/or feel stomach sick.

    However, the job pays relatively well and covers my tuition for my graduate degree 100%, so I didn’t leave. I kept telling myself that things would get better. Now, I have been put on probation (unfairly, in my opinion) and I cannot transfer to another department for a whole year. So while most of my coworkers are sending resumes and honing their interview skills, I have resigned myself to making it through another year and not giving up. I pray every day about it, because I need every bit of strength and positive energy I can muster up to make it throuogh the next year.

    So a word of advice: if you find yourself in a toxic environment like this, do not burn any bridges. Act happy, make yourself work hard, and leave as soon as possible.

  16. For myself, I find any excuse to call in sick just so I can avoid having to be in the office for the day. My morale is rock bottom, I hate the office, I hate the uncomfortable furniture, and then I go home in the evening and sleep, because I don’t want to do anything.

  17. Lynn –

    Ultimately, determining whether or not a move is right is only something that you can answer. I might suggest that you pretend you’re working for the lower pay, and put your extra money aside into a savings account. See if working at the lower wage is something you can handle financially before you make a move. At the least, you’ll have some money saved up if you do want to change jobs.

    I had a good-paying job that I literally walked out on, and I had a hard time finding work when I left. It took me months to find another job and that was scary. Yes, I missed the paycheck and it was rough on our budget, but I can’t deny the freedom I felt the day that I walked away from my abusive managers at the good-paying job. I felt as though I had stepped out of hell and back into the real world.

  18. 2-10 best describe me… brings relief tht am not the only one with such symptons… n they are common signs of unhappiness at work… i had started thinking tht i m probably mad to have these thoughts

  19. “Lynn”,
    Regardless of what anyone say , assuming you are under 50{sorry I am over and paid for it} Ideal is like narcissism , everyone claim to have find the perfect job , reality after a few years most are back at the same place,the reason is simple most have to deal with themselves first. At this point unless you are in a very demanded position , stick ewith it for a while , search for the job you want and like get a good resume done , I said done ! do not burn your bridges with your co workers , they will be the one getting the inquiry for youre references , it is illegal in most states to say anything else than employement date and exit salary , bad mentality at work place start at the top and it the very classic way to divide worker to better control them
    Be carefull with probation and or performance improvement status , once completed request it to be removed from your files , legal in most states, if there is nothing left they have little ground but hearsay and harrassement and there I got a very , very fat bonus . Think for yourself …….

  20. My co-worker is currently suffering from the 10 symptoms, she’s so slow and lazy, she’s not organized, she gives so many excuses, she refused to listen to her boss, she loves to compare her salary and others, she don’t really have much skills, she’s not productive, she’s so negative, she’s defensive, she always day-dreaming in the office, I’ve tried talking to her but it doesn’t work at all, she’s so plain stubborn person! I just ignore her now and don’t have to worry about her anymore because she refused to listen to me too.

  21. I think it’s best to think positive all the time and adapt to changes and take it as a challenge and move on, no matter what it takes in a working life.

  22. This is corporate life in a nutshell–all 10 of these little horrors. In my last corporate job I probably had 7 or 8 of these going on. THEN the company became famously corrupt and enormously BANKRUPT and that was the end of that.

    I mentally skipped out of the building when I was laid off after almost 10 years of blood, sweat & tears. Some time later I had the opportunity to counter-sell what was left of this miserable outfit (by this I mean I engaged in negative ‘selling’ of their services so that current customers of theirs would cancel their services and go with another company). This was quite satisfying, though unprofitable. But it was great to know that I had personally cost them in cancelled sales more than my annual salary had been. It was also interesting to discover how receptive so many people were to the real story of this company, and what it had done.

  23. wa, its been almost half a year since i actually posted a comment on this post. And to think i’m still stuck with my current sales job. To make thing worst, sales has been really bad for e past few months. Even if I have decided to leave, I may not even get myself an interview.. :( siigh.

  24. Unhappy at work? Change “YOU” for the better! Invest in “YOURSELF”! Check out www. entrepreneurialendeavors.net! I felt the same way and joined this business. Now i’m planning my retirement! I’m only 25and my dreams are unfolding before me!!

  25. I work as a part time teaching assistant in a primary school.I work with two individual pupils with special educational needs. The pay is low and the staff are mainly false…I always feel like an outsider…I have spoken to a T A who left after 5 years and she said the atmosphere has always been ‘strange’ and difficult to get used to. I love my job and the children at the school, but I do not know how much more falseness I can take.I don’t feel I can trust the majority of the staff in the workplace – in turn this is affecting my self esteem and abilties as a very good T A. I feel that I am constantly under scrutiny, by my immediate ‘line manager’ and the subject of gossip. (maybe it’s paranoia). Each day, I approach my work with optimism and always do my best for the children that I support.

  26. This is amazing, I didn’t actually think that there would be a straight forward list telling you when you’re unhappy at work. I have been battling with a slip sliding spiral into depression over the last few weeks, I thought I was going crazy becuase yeah I’m not thrilled about work but I didn’t realise just how unhappy I really was until I read those ten pointers and realised that many of them apply to me (1,2,3,4,5,7 and 10). I just can’t seem to see a way out of it at the moment, but I think it’s important that I focus all my energies on finding a new job or career path. Thanks very much :)

  27. There are a few points on the list which apply to me. The problem i have is not that i have competition in the work place. A training contract is highly sought after amongst law graduates and it may be likely that i will get one if i follow a natural course. However, that would mean staying in the job for at least another two years. I feel unhappy now but my mood changes so quickly. I think that if i gave up my job there might be a moment when i come to regret it. I never blame anyone for my limitations, i accept that the actions of other people and my personal disappointment is just something i have to deal with.

    Whenever i feel unhappy i always think of Stephen Hawking which helps. If you have read about him and his work i think you will understand why. He is so determined not to let his illness prevent his achievements and always ns a sense of humour.

    I am unsure whether my career should take priority over my wellbeing. Perhaps it is my state of mind that is making me unhappy and i just think its work. Hawking once said “it is no use getting furious if you get stuck. What i do is keep thinking about the problem but work on something else. Sometimes it is years before i see the way forward. In the case of information loss and black holes, it was 29 years.” Maybe he had a point.

    I will be ok, i think, so don’t worry about me. I am just having a moment of uncertainty. One thing that is for sure is that you cannot expect you job to be the root of all problems. There is normally an underlying cause.

  28. 8 out of 10…. this doesn’t surprise me. That’s why I refused to return to my job after an incident last Friday.

    I usually give 2 weeks notice, etc. but this time around I didn’t care. At all. That’s right, I did not care. For once I did what was right for me — which was not to subject myself to any more daily abuse under the guise of “working.”

    My “AHA moment” — asking myself if I had 2 weeks to live would it be at that job? No… and hell, no. I also realized that my “supervisors” would not be changing anytime soon — they’ve been mean spirited unprofessionals for years and getting away with it unchecked — my standing up to them was as effective as trying to teach pigs to sing.

    Also I began to have health issues and I realized we all talk as if tomorrow is guaranteed… not to be morose, but let’s be honest…it’s not… I can find another job or way to generate income…I cannot find another me.

  29. So many office workers leaving comments.I’m a blue coller category employee at a grocery store and i’m utterly miserable,horribly overworked,and terribly underpaid.I start feeling extremely nervous about an hour and a half before my shift starts.I work 4pm to 10pm 5 days per week and i work really exremely hard and i dont get my 15 minute break until 9-9:10 pm.The store music is so dreadfully redundant.They never add variety.Always the same old songs and since i started there in november of 2009,the music has basically not changed at all.They play the same 2 or 3 cd’s of moldy rotten boring cheesy lame stuff i cant even call music anymore and never really did to begin with.My job is highly degrading and i am constantly feeling belittled and mistreated.Just badly abused and underappreciated and horribly underpaid and grossly overworked.Where else can i go though ? I have bills to pay.There seems to be nothing else out there. : (

  30. I am miserable while at work. My requests and concerns fall on deaf ears, and I am grossly underpaid considering the the amount of physical work that I am expected to do. My co-workers don’t step up to the plate to do their share of the work, so consequently, I literally get dumped with it at the end of the day. I have had to go to the doc to get a CT scan because of abdominal pain caused by stress and frustration at my job. The managers expect perfection and set unrealistic sales goals which they know we can’t achieve, which gives them a reason to not give us a raise, due to our low scores. I am really fed up with the corporate world. They don’t give a hoot about our feelings. It’s all about money. They lay off the good employees and hire bad ones who are just there for a paycheck.

  31. Yikes. I’m 10 for 10. Not that I’m surprised, but when I see the indicators written out like that, it’s disturbing.

    They all really ring true for me, but lately the ones that freak me out the most are the paranoia and the little things that send me into a complete rage. I really hate feeling this way because I was bright eyed and bushy tailed for about the first year here, and feeling miserable makes me feel like a bad person.

    I also get so nervous on Sunday nights at the sudden realization that I have to go into the office the next day that I can’t sleep. I get physically ill on the subway into work–my adrenaline pumping so hard I feel light headed–and one day the stress actually manifested itself into tears while I rode the subway to work. Once I’m at the office, if I get cornered into talking to someone I don’t like or who stresses me out, I sweat. It could be 50 degrees in the office, but I sweat and it soaks my shirt. Embarassing!

  32. This is ALL me. I am currenty employed and hate it. I been with this agency for 3 years and nothing I do seem to be good. I was assigned a certain area for 2.5 years(all is good) and for no reason I was moved to a new area. ( where things are not good)I was told this was best for agency. I did my job well- no compliants from Director. I want to quit but I have 3 children and husband on diablity. I have applied to over 50+ jobs in the last 6months and had 3 interviews and still no new job. I am reaching out to all my friends and colleges for other opportunities. Still nothing.I had to take one month off- due to stress from this job. I really want to walk out- my immediate supervisor is horrible. She is new and does not know her job and all she does is give directives.

  33. ive got all the signs of disliking my job,,i drive a black taxi in london and hate,,count down the minutes as soon as i start,,,used to b a tree surgeon for 2o years ,wot a difference

  34. I hear you guys, I just got back to work from 4 days off and today I have a very bad migraine, streess and back pain.
    Last week we were a few in the office and I was about to snap at my neighbours co-workers as their music was horrible and annoying… I was literally swearing. I’ve also sent a bunch of resumes and nothing… I just keep dreaming that I have to present my resignation. I even wrote a letter in my notebook in how I would communicate it to my accounts. I seriously think this is punishment for my past bad actions so I promise to be good.

    I hate the workplace, the industry…aghhhhhh

  35. My unhappiness reason is not listed as above. I am unhappy because my boss always want us to stay back late even there is nothing to do. Psycho!

  36. hi my name is angie i not sure if its my job or other things been at my job for a eleven years just the past year been feeling really down getting a lot pain symptoms don;t know whats wrong with me i get really shaky at work and i get a crawly feeling underneath my skin i feel like just leaving my job if its making me feel like this

  37. some individuals need to stay at that job due to Education, it workes perfect with schedule at work, what if the individual really loves the job &loves working with people, always nice and does the right thing,but what happends when others employees don’t respect you just because you are polite to everyone and you do the right thing? There are individuals in this world that come from 3rd world countries who are trying to better themselves and are not worry about their co-workers are doing wrong at the job, but when it starts affecting the work place it becomes a conflict, how do you deal with filing 3 complains and getting an answer ” its your word against the other individual” why would anyone quit only because people don’t like the way someone is EX. happy, always positive, makes customers 110% happy before they leave no matter what! alway looking for a solution… is that individual the problem???
    this individual is not an expert but these are the points that are going through mind:
    don’t quit just because other employee don’t like you.
    don’t quit because you have developed health issues, like anxiety attacks there’s help for these situations. If you really want to stay at your job do it , if you are always unhappy find a way to make things different, yoga helps to an extend , talking to someone outsie your Circle helps, DON’T GIVE INTO I WILL QUIT BECAUSE I AM UNHAPPY,IF ITS GOING TO MAKE YOU EVEN MORE UNHAPPY THAT YOU QUIT BECAUSE YOU LOVED THE JOB JUST COULD’NT DEAL WITH SITUATIONS DON’T QUIT DEAL WITH IT! ONLY YOU CAN CHANGE THINGS!! its not easy belive it! depending on life style and job only you know what to do!!
    Wondering what this individual is doing on this site?
    this individual had a question, this site had part of the answer… the individual has the other part.

  38. Scrolled down to some comments …
    To Very Miserable,
    read what you wrote againthe part about how your current area is doing well, and how company moved you to a bad area. I think that the company moved you to a bad area because YOU ARE GOOD! GREAT! at what you do , you’ve spend time at this job, they know wh you are, change is good my friend show them how good you are and turn the other area into a winning area! that will give you satisfaction! sounds like you are great at your job … never know what the future holds for you at this company … as for the director have a talk with him , ask only one question …. how am I doing? period let him answer don’t say anything else do it in private. its not easy! if everything was easy in this world everyone would be happy. Ask yourself this question …what would i recommend my kids to do if they were in this type of situation….

  39. 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10, but 7 and 10 most definitely describes me, I m 21 years of age and I have had to go and see my family doctor several time all because I thought I was sick with some kind of disease like diabetes, high blood, high cholesterol and others I never lost any hair but I was loosing more weight then I should have, my stomach would get upset all of a sudden, headaches, I would feel drained, I would experience acid influx then I had my doc to run all kinds of test on me but all came back negative, then my doc told me its nothin but stress, he said listen to me, you need to relax, then I thought to myself I’m stressing because I’m stressed, I know it sounds crazy but those were my thoughts, and from then on I stopped caring about things at work I didnt care what happened I just completely stop givin a damn, cause if I didn’t stop letting it bother me, ain’t no telling where I would probably be now. So for people who reading this don’t let work stress get to you it’s just a job, there are plenty of others out there.

  40. Points 2,5,6,7,9,10 checked. Worked just only 3 months, not even close to my 6 months’ probation. I would like to think it’s the emotion chain-effect and enterprise culture that matters most to determine if an employee feels secure or happy at work. After all, at work it’s all about people. Seriously re-assessing the current job and my office coworkers. For me, it is always never too late to change directions when things obviously are not right, just the timing matters.
    I have encountered lotsa folks within my own organization, and most of them are sour..This is my first job, so perhaps a little too early to judge if it is the working culture amongst Asians in this country, or simply the human problems with this company.

  41. I didn’t realise until now how unhappy i was at work. I just did a google search for being miserable at work and stumbled across this page.
    The bit about work spilling over into my mind in my free time really hit home. All i’ve been doing all weekend is panicking over going to work tomorrow and dreading every second of it.
    Maybe time for a chat to HR tomorrow :(

  42. #11: Irrational behaviour of superiors:

    Even when you try some optimization and rationalization of the work process in favor of both client and team, a detail-obssessed narrow-minded freak of a boss stands in your way imposing his/her anal views on how work must be done.

  43. There are a variety of factors that might make an employee unhappy. In my company, I have a really nice boss and nice co-workers, so I can’t complain about that. One thing I do not like about this company is that it’s a privately-held company of about 150 employees with a lot of nepotism and favortism, and as a result, a lot of bad upper managers and incompetent employees.

    There is also unfairness in my company. Many of the lower-level employees, including myself, have not had a raise in 4 years and are very underpaid for our positions. I found out a few months ago that raises were given to those “in need”- which meant people who had families or children. As a single person, I could not believe this kind of discrimination. I am a single person, but they do not take into account that I may need a raise. I am putting my fiance’ through school so we are one income, not to mention the high cost of rent here in Los Angeles and the cost of living rising. I have my pets I also take care of, so I do not think it’s fair to be discriminated like this and give only “families” raises.

    Also, I plan on leaving because there is no growth in my position and the position is ultimately dead-end. Being slightly underpaid is fine as long as one can assume more responsibility, grow, and advance not only position-wise, but also grow mentally and financially in that position in the future. When a company keeps an employee pigeon-holed in a position so that they cannot advance, or when a company refuses to invest in their employee and help them update their skills or grow as an employee to help benefit the company, that says something.

    I stayed so long because of the recession and fearing I won’t be able to find a better job, my fiance’ going to school and worrying, and lack of self-confidence. Complacency and fear are the worst things- they debilitate you. I had a lot of anxiety wondering if I was going to be here forever. The last few years, I also held off on going back to school and getting a Master’s out of fear. I’ve lived with on and off depression for the last few years, all due to my job.

    Something finally snapped last week. I got so used to seeing all the bad news about the recession, unemployment, layoffs, etc that it instilled so much fear that it was controlling my life, my growth, and my happiness. I got so used to being complacent and telling myself “It could be worse”– that I stopped telling myself “It could be better”.

    I am now preparing to go back to school to better myself. I plan to stay here while I go to school and will inform my current company that I am going back to school. If they don’t like it and I get laid off, I will look for another position that will accommodate me and my goals. If not, I’ll collect unemployment and find a part-time job while going back to school. I no longer have any fear because now I’m in control of my future.

    So to those who are stuck in jobs they hate- take back the control!

  44. You’re so accurate~ Bingo for all points~ i’m just dragging my feet to work everyday~ it’s getting heavier & heavier each day!

  45. Ugh… all points apply to me -_-

    No worries, I’ll be quitting soon and have a go at working for myself untill I run out of savings xD

  46. ouch… its like you are taking about me!

    On my part, I like the organization I work for, the benefits are great …sad part is I hate my job description!

    I came across your site yesterday and its just given me a lot of insight on so many things… I plan on buying your book (Happy Hour 9 to 5)! :-)

    i’m at that point where I’m still trying to figure out what really motivates me… so as to make the right choice

  47. I must say that I am currently experiencing ALL 10. I have been working in my current position for the last 5 years and it’s been pure hell. I was in another division prior to this for 6 years and it was pure bliss. Now I DREAD going to work each and every day. I have been getting physically sick progressively since I joined this group. On Sunday evenings, I start getting anxious because I have to go to work the next day, on my free time, I find myself thinking and worrying about work. It’s horrible. The environment is so toxic. The bullying, the gossiping, people blaming their mistakes on others, the snide comments – the list can go on forever. All this is making me lose interest in my work. I am currently searching for vacancies in other divisions – I am no longer interested in trying to make it work with this group. My boss even yelled at me for no reason, something I never experienced in ALL my. 25 years of working. That was the last straw, I went and had a talk with Human Resources.

  48. Being miserable at work is a horrible situation. Number 2 has been the worst for me. When my misery starts bleeding over into my personal life, it’s time to do something about it! I recently posted some thoughts about this at my blog. You’ve really go to analyze why you’re unhappy and figure out if you can fix it, or if you need to leave.

  49. I am very unhappy at work, I have just read all your comments, I have work at the same office for about 10 years, its a very small company run by a husband and wife, it;s an open office and you don’t get time to think just do this do that have you done this, I have done most roles and have a welth of knowege most of the staff that have been and gone have walked out and been uncontactable as they don’t want anything more to do with the company as we are pushed so hard constantly. Well I have had enough when my boss promised me a rise after the last person left as I was the only person left in the office par the wife I was then disapointed that I was not given the pay rise even when I asked about it as I’d not received it, that was the last straw, I have put my house onn the market and intend to my to the country for a less stressful life, I stress in the evening when I think about work the next day and wake in the night worrying about who I didn;t email, what work I have piled on my desk. My head hurts, I;m counting down the days till I get an offer and sell my house I am looking forward to handing in my notice and I really want to wite my boss a letter to tell him all the reasons why I am leaving just so they know how I have been feeling. Oh and not to forget to mention that they have just started an new girl in the office and started her on the same wage as me, 10years service and for what?

  50. I’ve become more and more unhappy at work. Just the other day, even after an excellent performance review, my 2 bosses stated that I don’t know what I’m talking about and that I didn’t understand something when I clearly did. I was ganged up on and have been blamed for things I haven’t done. When I tried to explain the issues I’m looked upon as though I’m the liar. Now I’m at the point where I don’t give a crap about doing anything for them. Another co-worker is in the same situation so now we’re looking for another job because we have found that this company is a very toxic environment and turns us into bad people.

  51. This article is on point! You can also include an increase in cliques and office gossip. When you are unhappy and a lot of other people are unhappy, the amount of office gossip is unbelievable. Day in and day out will be dedicated to insulting everyone and anyone especially management.

  52. Some points do apply to me, but the thing that bores me the most is working alone with so little to earn, abnormal working hours and poor working conditions as well as my company policies. Ohh I hate this job more than anything but I have no other option than to work here because of my responsibilities and the fact that it is hard to get employment these days, you will apply until the colour of your skin changes. I am truly bored with no option to quit.

  53. Most of the above comments apply to me, i work twice a week and have stuck it for 5 years, ive tried to like it i have sort of a couple of times then something happens and i hate it again, i have to force myself to go and am constantly watching the clock, i am now working on getting out i have a number of physical symptoms and hope to be happier when i get something that i really love

  54. 7 of the ten items in the original post apply to me. Also, I understand quite well the poster who wakes up in the night worrying about work matters – I’m guilty of working all hours of the day and night as well, and it has definitely not been appreciated. Not only unappreciated, but a promotion I was promised got revoked (this was a money-motivated/arbitrary decision by MGMT).

    Efforts to remedy the situation failed, and I have no choice but to leave unfortunately, because staying on is tantamount to selling (or at leasing) my soul. It’s time to move on – I’ll find another job later, after I’ve had the chance to detox a bit. Am I scared? Yes – but between certain misery and the unknown, I’ll take the unknown for a spell.

  55. Pingback: Work is punishment
  56. This site is so GREAT! It makes me feel a little better knowing that others feel the same way about having a miserable job. I am 10 out of 10. I just left a job where they often would not communicate to me about changing my schedule. I would find out by accident that the schedule for me had been changed. I don’t feel that they were reliable, and taking responsibility for their company and employees. When I quit, the owner called me and left a message on my cell phone saying what a “horrible” person I was for quitting.
    I am struggling with depression over all of this right now. I am really sorry that others are having the same problems.

  57. i have have colluge that makes me unhappy at work very oftenly she always uses comments around me and make more uncomfortable at the work place. she rules the office and make peopel fight in the office.

  58. I feel like I am in a scence from “Joe vs the Volcano”, it is unreal at how unhappy I am, but no one seems to understand my plight.

  59. Take heart. Do not be fooled by the media and all the other negative folks who want to make you believe that there is no other way out or “its too hard” “it could be worse”. If you have a job you have the upper hand in looking for a better job. Keep applying, follow up, apply some more. You are able to choose who to work for. Sometimes it might take 3 months, 6 months even a year to find a better job, however, when you do, you will realize all the time and effort was way worth it. Misery loves company so stay away from negative people at the workplace, even if you have to sit in your car for lunch, park somewhere relaxing like by some trees or a lake or even a large parking lot. Negativity spreads like wildfire and like attracts like. If you can, make sure you schedule “you” time on the weekend. Go get a facial or a massage anything to take your mind off the misery. People dont realize that this like is so much more than a 9-5 job that makes you sick. Your boss is an atom of a speck in this grand universe. If they want to make everyones life miserable dont let them do that to you. There is alot more to life. Have you hugged and said I love yous to the special people in your life? If not, do so now or when you get home today. They are the only ones that will really be there for you.

  60. i have mostly all of listed, what should i do? im 18 working for my father as a automotive apprentice, i hate the brand of cars we specialize in, and i just cant take it no more, im the only one in the shop working,my dad is 60 years old with 3 vertibre shot in his back so he cant work, i dont know what to do, i get so frustrated. can someone help me ???

  61. Without wishing to be controversial, I am assuming that most people who have replied are working in the US. Until recently I worked for a huge US company, based out of Europe, but living in Asia, so I am fairly familiar with the different working cultures.

    I would never have considered actually working in the US – however I have lived in India, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Thailand, Jordan to name but a few. The reason – work life balance. The holiday allowance in the US is woefull – generally 10 days a year – barely enough for one decent break a year. In Europe/Asia I have had 25/30 days/yr vacation + an average of 14 days public holidays everywhere I have worked, before even considering addition leave in hardship locations. (Up to another 20 days)

    Whilst in India my US based colleagues had larger basic salaries than me, but enough leave for one trip home a year. I generally got back to the UK every 8 weeks or so. I worked very hard whilst I was there, however it wasn’t me who was burned out after a year.

    European companies take work life balance far more seriously than US companies and it pays off. It’s a lot easier to cope with a tough job if you have something to look forward to in a few weeks, rather than in a year. To me the US working culture regarding holidays is dreadful – I thought slavery had been abolished years ago!

  62. All of the above.

    I was experiencing about half the symtoms at the previous job and finally decided to move on 4 months ago. Here I am, at this new place, I am experiencing all of them. It is now clear to me that some of these items were reasons why I stuck around at my old job as long as I did.

    Now, what do I do? I am definitely not happy and everyday, the idea of going to work eats me up. Should I have a word with my boss or should I quietly look for something else?

  63. this site has really helped me out made me into a more positive thinker. Thanks so much ! I just try to remember all of this when i get stressed.

  64. O gosh. All of them are true for me, (except nr3, I have no big salary or any perks or benefits) Yikes that’s really bad huh?

    Luckily I just have to put up with it until I go study next year.
    4 years (and 3 jobs) in this field is murder.

    Only 326 days/10 months, 9 hours, 22 minutes and 10 seconds or
    28,200,130 seconds or 470,002 minutes (rounded down) or 7833 hours (rounded down) or 46 weeks (rounded down) to go!

    Haha, yea that’s useful to know :P
    (Hey, at least my sense of humour survived)

  65. well this is worth reading the above important statements, in my case , i have a good job in a best organization with all facilities and handsome salary,but my boss is a big…….who created a bad environment, always creates problems, shouting and never finalized work in hand, keep changing the reports again and again, actually she is a psycho patient. due to these reasons all of the subordinates are unhappy and cant work properly,, we spent whole day while arguing to boss and doing amendments which leads to zeroooooooooooo results and unsatisfied employees,,,

  66. Oh yeah. Most of those apply to me too. Just the fact I’m reading this blog says it all. A big one that I do several times a day is, I’ll catch myself saying under my breath “I f’n hate this place.” or “What a f’n jerk!” in response to the job and many of the mgrs./employees. It’s not the type of thing I want to be feeling, but it’s just so pure and natural. It’s like hunger or fatigue, there’s no room for debate. I really do hate that place, and a lot of those people are real jerks! lol. It just feels good to say I guess, when I have to go through so much to tolerate crummy circumstances.

  67. OMG, everything matches, except that I am still having good rapport with coworkers and I consider some of them as good friends.

    So I guess 9/10 – that makes me one damn unhappy person!

    No job is worth making me unhappy! Arghh!

  68. I have eight out of 10 of those going on. I work for one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, in a professional, well-paying job. Bad job for me, combined with lack of allowance for innovation, combined with bad management who feel punishment is good motivation, and I am afraid to say too much for fear of offending someone, but if I don’t say enough, I get in trouble. And it seems like any small mistakes get blown out of proportion, but any big or small successes aren’t noticed at all. I cried last night before going to bed, and again this morning before dragging myself to work.

  69. I really hate my present organization because in my previous organization, the work culture was too good, we were too close to our colleagues, the bosses never use to dominate us. But in my present organization, there is no work first of all, i donot have anybody with whom i can talk, sitting ideal is very irriating and i am wasting my time. People around here are too dominating. Its been four months since i joining, but there has not being a single moment when i repent that why i felt my previous organization, i am not able to come out of it.

    Secondly , i am searching new job, but i am too sacred, if it turns out to be same, although i have enquiried and everybody told that it is good organization.
    Please HELP me. I am not living, i am always sad.. it is taking a toll on me

  70. I’m all of the 10 I hate and I’m returning to my old job which I liked I only left as I seen pound signs but it is even making my wife un happy because she said she has lost the old me. So I’m doing the right thing I think.

  71. I work 2 part time jobs im in second month of job. At the greyhound stadium i was always down on the tote machine i made a big mess up on a bet nearly got the sack two weeks training but i never feel motivated or interested in the job i have been spot on so far still i dont smile wen im at work i feel co workers look down at me ans my m thirnks i should stick to this job coz im only doing it for the money and i worl along side my sister it gets frusterating she critises me im ready to leave the pay is rubbish i hate the job i feel miserable i prefer myjob @ primark.

  72. I meet 9 out of 10 of these. It might have been 10 had I not given up on believing I will ever get a promotion and/or officer title change. There is no room for growth in my department and being in the financial industry, I am told I should just be happy having a job. Yeah, “happy”, OK.

    I never know anymore when my menstral cycle will start. Everything I eat doesn’t stay with me very long. I’m getting nose bleeds. The worst physical symptom of all is I am starting to injure myself. I’ll be in a meeting, typically with my blood sucking manager, and I’ll dig my fingernail into my skin until it breaks. And the injury will never go away because once it scabs over, I just keep picking and scratching it like a heroin addict needing a fix. Oh, and I’m starting to drink too much. In the past few months, every morning before I leave the house, I fill up two tumblers — one with coffee and one with orange juice and vodka. Typically the coffee has a shot of Bailey’s. And the OJ/vodka ratio is 1:3.

    Emotionally, I’m losing it. I’m not getting enough sleep. Maybe 5 hours a night. Because the earlier I go to sleep the sooner morning will arrive and I’ll have to get ready for work. So I stay up for as long as possible.

    Last week I stuck toilet paper up my nose to simulate a sinus infection and called out sick. I could care less about leaving my coworkers hanging. As far as my boss is concerned, she micromanages the f**k out of us anyway so she can pick up the slack.

    When I am at work, I procrastinate. I have been here for 7 hours already and I have put in approximately 1 hour of real work. I feel like I’m existing in a real life version of the movie Office Space.

    I daydream all the time of what my last day will look like. I won’t be giving this place 2 weeks notice. That I know for sure. The only thing stopping me from walking out right now is the very real possibility of my job being eliminated (actually, the whole department dissolving) and I’ll be getting a severance package. I have been with this company for 15 years and in this department for 8 of them. I consider this money my pain and suffering compensation and deserve every f**king dime of it!

    Give me severance or give me death.

  73. So I’m reading this blog today because I am desperate. I thought I had had a good week last week – tried to stay positive, looked for the good…Yeah, not so much again. Mondays my boss is not in and I waste the ENTIRE day. By the time he comes in on Tuesdays I have to practice deep breathing techniques and medicate myself to beat down the anxiety of having to deal with him. I hope for ways for him to fail, to end up looking like an a** to people, yet he is so arrogant and pompous that he manages to throw me to the wolves long before he is in any danger. My head swoons, my heart races, my face breaks out. I pray and push on each day til Friday when I can nearly count the seconds out loud. I like the rest of my job, for the most part – I just cannot stand “him”. I promised four years ago that I would last longer than he would but on these days I’m not sure if I can make it through the first four hours, let alone the whole week… Only I can make the change – but to what?? What if it is worse?? Just wish I could love my job!!

  74. Works is a lot easier when you don’t care as much. It isn’t worth it. There will always be bosses favorites, there will always be imperfect managers, there will always be some aspect of every job which sucks.
    Having said all that, it’s a concept I’m nowhere near close to mastering. Because once fear and bureaucratic paranoia become your primary motivators, it’s mighty hard to not care about everything—including what everybody else is doing. I’ve allowed myself to become an idiotic, emotional asshole from fears that my rent will soon outstrip my paycheck. That if I’m not constantly racking up promotions, I won’t have enough saved for when my folks become really elderly and need care (cause you know, neither of them has long-term care insurance). I’m scared because my health insurance premium keeps going up, while the amount I’m allowed to sock away in my 401k keeps going down. I’m scared of being terminated, because the last thing anyone wants at their organization is someone who was fired at their last one. I’m scared of making people angry, yet I seem to do that everywhere I go. Life feels like that U2 song, “Running to Stand Still”— and I don’t have that polished ‘it’ that makes people awesome employees.

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