Everyone experiences bad days at work. These can range from being mildly irritated by your coworkers, to feeling completely deflated about your career direction.
While the latter is certainly harder to shake, it’s not impossible. If you’re feeling unhappy at work, there are steps you can take to try to improve your situation.
Step 1: Cut out the comparison
While admiring the success of your friends or colleagues can be a good way to motivate yourself to work harder, don’t let it define your own success or value. Constantly comparing yourself to other people can lead to jealousy, resentment and feelings of inadequacy. Furthermore, the promotion update you’re seeing on social media is only part of the story. The grass is rarely greener. Instead of comparing yourself to others, try to focus on what’s within your control. What makes you happy? What are you really good at? What do you wish you could do more of?
Step 2: Set goals
It’s important to learn from the past but it’s even more important to look to the future. What would you like to achieve in the next month, quarter and year? These goals don’t need to be huge accomplishments like doing a master’s degree or learning to code. Set yourself small attainable goals and work your way towards the bigger career aspirations. Maybe you want to be more vocal in meetings or brush up on your presentation skills.
Step 3: Reward yourself
Celebrate work milestones, take all your annual leave and indulge in the odd extravagant lunch. Small treats can provide a break from the monotony of corporate life.
Step 4: Look at your extra curriculars
Work is important but it shouldn’t be the only thing in our lives. Often, frustration at work can stem from a seemingly unrewarding life outside of work. When it feels like there’s little else in our lives, it can make workplace stresses even harder to manage. Seek out activities that bring you joy; be it a yoga class, a book club or just making more time to see friends and family. Getting involved in professional projects outside your day-to-day work can also make you feel more fulfilled and productive.
Step 5: Try to leave each day behind you
A big part of feeling more content at work is the ability to move on from bad experiences. This doesn’t mean you should ignore situations which are making you feel unhappy but try not to dwell on things that can’t be changed. Made a mistake at work? It happens. Put it aside and move on. Feel like you could have done better on a certain project? Make up for it next time.
Step 6: Make an effort with a colleague
When you’re feeling uninspired or frustrated in your role, being social can be the last thing on your list of priorities. However, making the effort to chat with a colleague can lift your mood and make you feel less isolated. They may be experiencing the same workplace issues and be able to lend an empathetic ear. Studies show that offering help to a colleague can lead to better job satisfaction and overall engagement in the business. Aside from that it results in a better working atmosphere and sense of teamwork. Again, small steps can have a big impact here. You don’t need to assume a colleague’s tedious admin work but offer to pitch in on a project or even pick up the coffees of a Monday.
Step 7: Look for a new job
If you’ve made every effort to improve your work situation and you’re still not happy, it might be time to move on. Daunting as it may seem to leave your current role, if something’s not right you need to look for a new opportunity.