You’re not happy at work and something has to change.

The thing is, even though you’re not happy with the job you’re doing, you have no idea where to even start when it comes to changing things. The last thing you want is to move to any old job because that might end up being worse than what you’re doing now.

What’s more, you’ve got bills to pay so, whatever happens, until you do have a better option, you’re stuck in a job you hate. So what do you do?

Maybe you’re in the wrong job, or perhaps you need to change your career path completely. Whatever the situation, one of the hardest things is staying motivated day to day when your job is making you so unhappy.

I recently had a discussion with a close friend of mine who has been having a tough time at work. She was feeling stressed beyond belief because she’s not in a position to leave without having another job to go to, and she doesn’t want to apply to other jobs because she’s not actually sure what she wants to do moving forwards. So it’s a catch 22.

As I listened to my friend explaining the situation about how stuck and trapped she felt, a few things became apparent;

  1. That my friend was in a serious state of overwhelm and couldn’t see the wood for the trees
  2. That she had lost all sense of what she wanted and even what she didn’t want
  3. That simply talking about it wasn’t the answer

These three things are a huge factor when you’re not happy at work. And they happen to everyone. Because it’s easy to get lost in your own thoughts when all you’re trying to do is think of a way out. But simply thinking about what to do, from a place of stress and worry, is not helpful.

As Einstein said –

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them

You just get more stressed, more lost, and more confused. Worse still, it makes every day you have to go to work, more difficult.

So, what can you do instead?

Here are 5 productive things you can do if you’re unhappy at work.

You’re overwhelmed and can’t see the wood for the trees.

Change your state of mind. 

One of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal is our mindset because it’s through our mindset that we perceive everything. If you’re in a negative frame of mind, you will experience the same thing very differently from someone who is a very positive frame of mind.

The best state of mind is one of positivity and calm.

When you’re not at your best, when you’re unhappy, stressed, overwhelmed, feeling frustrated, you will see everything through this lens, so making positive choices and decisions about what you really want in your career or in your life will be very difficult.

By getting into a more positive state you’re more likely to notice the positive things in your day rather than the negative things.

You can do this in a number of ways, including;

  • Setting positive intentions for the day each morning
  • Practicing gratitude
  • Visualization
  • Positive affirmations
  • Meditation
  • Choose whatever method works for you. What’s important is that you spend time each day getting into the right frame of mind so that the day can go as well as possible.
Start doing something for fun in your free time

This is super important, because not only will it help you to be happy and improve your state of mind, it will also help you to reduce your stress levels.

As important as your career is, your health is more important. Therefore try to manage stress by getting out and doing new things and find what makes you happy, or hit the gym and get those endorphins flowing!

FREE Career Happiness Toolkit Download

You don’t know why you’re not happy with your job. You’ve lost all sense of what you want or don’t want 

Find a way to reconnect with what you want

One of the hardest things about being stuck in your job or in your career can be figuring out what you want or remembering what led you to that path in the first place.

There are two great ways to reconnect with what’s important to you. Both methods will require you to first clear your head and forget all about what you THINK is or isn’t possible.

1.The rocking chair exercise

Imagine you’re 90 years old, you’ve lived a great life, and you’re reflecting on all the amazing things you’ve done. Take time to reflect on this, what things make you proud, what makes you happy to think back on. What are some of your accomplishments?

Give yourself time to do this, take your time over it. Write everything down.

2. Write your perfect job description

If you’re not happy with what you’re doing, you need to figure out why, and what you do want instead. Imagine you’ve actually got your dream job.

You might be thinking, “ If I don’t know what I want, how can I know my dream job?”

Instead of focusing on job titles, or even specific responsibilities, first focus on everything else about this dream job.  There are lots of other factors that go into making any job great.

  • Are you working alone, or with a big team?
  • Are you working in a lovely open plan office or at home?
  • Are you being creative or more analytical?
  • Do you travel for work?
  • Are you on the phone mostly? meeting people face to face? indoors? outdoors?
  • Do you do big presentations or speak to groups?
  • Are you managing people?
  • Do you get to use a special skill you have?

Focusing on these areas will still be extremely valuable even if you’re not sure of the specific roles and responsibilities because they can inform what career paths or jobs you consider.

Take your time with this exercise and you should end up with a clearer picture of at least what matters to you.

You find yourself complaining about your job to anyone who’ll listen 

STOP. Your words are important. Negativity will only lead to more negativity, so there’s no point talking about how awful work is if you’re not willing to do anything about it.

Instead, choose to replace your negative language with something more positive.

Take time to write down 20 things that you are thankful for in your job and think about them every time you feel that negativity coming on, or when you’re having a particularly tough day.

Most importantly, if it’s really time to make a change, think about getting a coach to work with you so you can set a clear action plan and do what it takes to finally find work you enjoy.