188: Is it normal to be unhappy at work?


Welcome to episode #188 of the Own Your Best Life Podcast. We spend approximately one third of our waking hours working – sometimes more. If you’re unhappy with your work, you’ll find it hard to ignore. When you’re spending so much time doing something and you’re feeling stressed, unhappy, exhausted or disengaged – you’ll wonder if it’s really worth it. Today’s podcast on whether it’s normal to be unhappy at work is going to help you figure out why you’re feeling less than thrilled with your job situation.

I created this podcast because I know so many of you are in the transition of thinking about what you want, yet you’re so busy that you often think it’s just normal to feel this down and stressed about work. You want to make a change, but you think it’s so typical to have negativity and complaints about work, that you start to doubt yourself. Yet, if you’re feeling the dissatisfaction and want to do something about it, you’re in the right place and the first step is to understand that you’re not alone.

It is normal to be unhappy at work. It’s also possible to be engaged and happy at work. The latest Gallup research shows that approximately 22% of people are engaged, which means that almost 80% of people are disengaged from their work. The reason I think this is so interesting is because everyone thinks that they just have this one-off situation where they need to have figured out what they’re doing by now, and if they didn’t – they’re the only ones who have to make changes. They don’t realize that this career change and shifting ways of working is an infinite game. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you can make work – work for you.

Everyone is figuring their work/life out and like a craftsman who wants to do their best work day in and day out, they keep going because it’s interesting and rewarding to see how you can get better. Every tweak you make, leads to more satisfaction and better compensation and if that was the case – you’re going to want to keep working towards that sweet spot of career engagement and job fulfillment. 

To start, let’s get clear on the typical causes of job dissatisfaction. No matter if you’re an entrepreneur or a corporate warrior, here are a few reasons why you may be unhappy with your work:

  1. Compensation – you’re not getting paid what you want and when the compensation feels lower than what you desire, you’re going to have questions about whether or not you want to leave your current role. Compensation could be an issue because you are currently doing a higher level of work and feel that you should be compensated for that level of work or value. It can also be an issue because you just want to be more highly compensated but the potential to be compensated more than what you’re getting paid now doesn’t exist with your current role or work – even if you wanted to take on more responsibilities or add more value, the options are limited. 
  2. Growth – you’re not feeling like you’re growing or learning anything new. You might be bored with your work and worry that you’re not making any progress because learning has always been important to you. You might also feel like you’ve tapped out on what you’ve had to learn at this stage of your career in this role or level of work. You want a challenge or variety or something that gives you that feeling like you’re doing work that you’re proud of and that you are accomplishing new things. You may also want to be using your strengths and gifts, but don’t feel like you have room to use your strengths in this type of work. You want to develop skills and become best-in-class and this doesn’t seem like the kind of work that leads to you becoming an expert in an area where you’re truly passionate and gifted.
  3. Relationships/Family – you’re not spending the time you want with your family or loved ones. You might be missing important events or just really stressed so even if you’re physically there, you’re working or thinking about work. You might be traveling more than you would like to travel, working from the office when you’d rather be at home, or you might have unpredictability with your schedule and therefore less flexibility to plan to be off or take time off when you want. You don’t really feel in control of your time or energy and therefore your quality of experience with your relationships takes a hit.
  4. Impact – you don’t feel like your work has much significance or that you’re contributing the way that you want to contribute to the world around you. Perhaps you can stretch the work to see the meaning of what you do and how it’s important, but you don’t really believe it. You want to feel proud of what you’re accomplishing and working towards goals and a mission that you’re aligned with and passionate about.
  5. Autonomy – you don’t have the flexibility you desire in either the way you do work or in how you spend your time. You feel like everything has to be approved or run through someone else or that you have very little freedom to work in ways that suit your schedule, lifestyle or even thinking preferences. You may feel micromanaged where everything has to be done the way someone else desires or that there’s so much chaos in the organization that ideas are not getting executed.
  6. Community – you’re not part of something bigger than yourself. You feel lonely and like you’re left to figure everything out for yourself. You don’t have as much support as you desire or and when you have questions you wish there’s someone who you could touch base with if you need help. You want to be more connected and develop great relationships with people you care about and who care about you – even outside work. You want to feel like there’s a lot of opportunities to meet people, grow and do even more interesting things with interesting people. You know that relationships lead to loving your work and you want to be surrounded by people who you respect and admire.
  7. Physical Health – you’re tired and stressed so the physical toll starts to become apparent. It starts with a few missed workouts or just less sleep. Then you start to feel like you’re inconsistent with your health routines and eventually you might even feel like you’re gaining weight or becoming less fit. You are in maintenance mode and not thinking about how to stretch yourself with some new health and fitness goals because it’s hard to find the time and energy. You think that work just has to take priority over your health so it’s ok as long as you’re making money and people are happy with your work. You’ll sleep or exercise more on the weekends to make up for the lack of sleep or movement during the week but you find that you wish you could go outside more often or just spend more time moving your body. Sometimes, this will lead to burnout where you’re chronically stressed and physically exhausted and have little time for yourself to refuel and recharge so your own body weakens and you start to get more sick, more often.
  8. Emotional Health – you find yourself more irritable and negative. If you’re overcompensating at work, you might get home or back to your personal life and find that your patience is shorter. You start to lose some confidence in yourself because you’ve been feeling like you’ve been wanting to make a change for a while but haven’t seen anything change in terms of figuring out either what’s next or how to actually change the lifestyle to one that works better for you. You might even start to feel desperate because you need the money from the work you’re doing so you don’t want to quit, but you want something to change and you don’t want things to keep going like they are.

All of these are symptoms of a misalignment of who you are, what you want to do and what you’re currently doing. I help professionals understand when it’s a problem they need to address within themselves or if it’s a problem that only a career or job change will shift. This is how you stop wasting time and energy jumping from role to role or moving up the ladder feeling ever more stressed while thinking that you should just be grateful.

If you’re ready to Own Your Best Life, I want to invite you to watch the free training on how to Stand Out and Lead, using spiritual, high-performance strategies. You can access the training at https://may-empson.mykajabi.com/stand-out-and-lead.

You can then apply to join my Spiritual Achiever® program, where you’re going to create your next chapter with spiritual and high-performance strategies to achieve time and financial freedom using my proven method. It’s risk-free. You either start seeing results within your first month or I give you your money back. Schedule your call HERE. We’ll see you inside.

Want to know more about what happens when you join?

  1. When you join Spiritual Achiever® Coaching you’ll be supported for a full year: Career Revelation Academy: A 5-step career change process (if you have a job you want to stay in, I’ll show you how to love it even more) that can launch you into your next career chapter in 30 days.
  2. 2x/month group training and coaching on Spirituality, Achievement, Earth Energy and Harmony. You’ll know how to design your days for breakthroughs, create a personal brand and community, lead yourself and others through change, become more physically and mentally fit, reduce stress and reinvent what’s possible in this next chapter of your life.
  3. Discover your Leadership Strengths and Branding Workshop: Increase your awareness of what makes YOU different from others and how to become even better at your genius zone.
  4. Your Best Year workshop: Create your one year plan and design this next year, no matter what time of the year it is.
  5. Your Next 5 Years one-day virtual retreat: Vision what’s possible 5 years from now and break out of your old routines so you can step into new habits, behaviors and routines.
  6. Tickets to all in-person Spiritual Achiever retreats (accommodations not included): Highly immersive and intimate gatherings where we spend time in nature, experience energy work, eat and move well – all while making big decisions and committing to what’s next for us.
  7. Monthly 1:1 Coaching Sessions: To help you break through obstacles, define your individual path, and to work on both strategy and mindset.

The next step?

Schedule a consultation to get clarity on how coaching can help you on your journey.

Once you’re accepted into the program, you’ll receive a calendar invite for a 2-hour deep dive 1:1 session to map out your personal goals and your own year-long journey.

You’ll have immediate access to the Spiritual Achiever process and philosophy – how to achieve your biggest goals and reinvent your life.

You’ll have immediate access to 5 modules of Career Revelation Academy – to love your career even more and launch that next chapter of your career in 30 days.

You’ll have the calendar invites for the upcoming group calls and retreats.

If this speaks to you, I can’t wait to talk to you live: Schedule a consultation.

Reach out at www.mayempson.com/contact for more information on my Spiritual Achiever coaching program. You’ll figure out what’s next and actually go and do it. 

That’s it for this week. Have an amazing one and I’ll talk to you next time.

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