Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Unhappy at work? Before you quit your job, ask yourself this one key question

quit-job.jpg

It’s hard to get perspective when we’re ready to jack in a job we loathe.

Our resentment over a particular issue spirals, and before we know it, we’re set to quit – because we just can’t bear it any longer, and thinking about it makes it worse.

Rather than analyse, what we really want to do is escape under our duvet with a box of Maltesers for company. 

But there’s one thing we should all do when we’re unhappy at work before jumping ship.

New York Times bestselling author and happiness guru Gretchen Rubin says it’s an obvious step, but something that’s often overlooked:

Figure out what exactly is making you miserable.

Gretchen Rubin

"This sounds so obvious," Rubin tells Business Insider, in a Facebook Live session this week. "But I've found over and over, it really helps people."

What you need to do, she says, is go through every simple aspect of your job and keep going until you hit on the exact thing that’s making you feel unfulfilled or frustrated.

Although unhappiness at work can feel all-encompassing, it usually comes down to one or two factors.

For example, it might be your lousy commute, a strained relationship with one of your colleagues, or the fact that you have to prepare a mind-numbing set of data for a boardroom meeting every week.


Read more: Why the Danes leave work on time, every single day


"You're walking in the door in the morning and you're thinking, 'Oh, you know what? I don't like this anymore. This is a drag. I don't want to be here,” explains Rubin.

"But there are a lot of reasons that that could be true. And the solutions that you would try in order to fix the situation would be really different depending on what the problem is."

Gretchen's words of wisdom (Photo: Gretchen Rubin/Instagram)

Gretchen's words of wisdom (Photo: Gretchen Rubin/Instagram)

In some cases, this will involve altering something in a way that’s less dramatic than handing in your notice.

Perhaps it will involve speaking to your boss about flexible working hours. Or taking that tricky co-worker out for a drink to try and resolve your differences. It may even mean training in different skill areas, so you become more adept at tasks that overwhelm or confuse you.

“Once you actually pinpoint the precise nature of what's driving you crazy, it's often a lot easier to fix it than you think,” says Rubin.

Can anyone really be *this* happy at work?

Can anyone really be *this* happy at work?

New York-based Rubin is the author of three best-selling happiness books;  Better Than BeforeThe Happiness Project and Happier at Home.

Her blog is brimming with little commonsense tips to optimise your happiness at work, including advice such as never saying “yes” on the phone at work.

“Instead, say, ‘I’ll get back to you’. When you’re actually speaking to someone, the desire to be accommodating is very strong, and can lead you to say ‘yes’ without enough consideration,” she says.

She also recommends taking a 10-minute pause every hour that you’re in the office: “studies show that the break boosts your retention level”.


Read more: The UK’s top 10 happiest jobs


Satisfaction at work has plunged to a two-year low in Britain, according to figures from the Chartered Institute of Personal Development. The nation's happiest employees live in Norwich, Birmingham and Liverpool, this study says, yet 48% of us remain discontent with our jobs. 

Long hours and the need for greater recognition rank among the biggest causes of complaint.

 

Related

best newsletters.jpg

Why women are swapping social media for email newsletters

happy thoughts.jpg

These five skills are the key to happiness and success

FOMO_HR_cmyk_layers_1_rt.jpg

Why we stay in jobs we hate - and when it's time to move on

Latest...

Why it’s totally fine if you don’t have a ‘work wife’

Having friends at work is nice – but it’s not the be all and end all

by Moya Crockett
18 Aug 2017

Sex toy reviewer is a job and it pays £28,000 (with unlimited holiday)

Get paid to do something you really love: you

by Kayleigh Dray
16 Aug 2017

Why the quietest colleague in the office may have the last laugh

How to deal with feeling drowned out

by Amy Swales
14 Aug 2017

These are the 5 worst questions you can ask in a job interview

Don’t blow it.

by Moya Crockett
14 Aug 2017

Why using smiley faces in work emails could damage your reputation

Think a ':)' makes you seem friendlier? You’re wrong.

by Moya Crockett
14 Aug 2017

These are the 20 best companies for work-life balance in the UK

Feeling burnt out? Consider sending your CV here

by Moya Crockett
10 Aug 2017

Why this Google employee was fired for his report on women in tech

James Damore’s controversial memo has reignited the debate about diversity in tech

by Moya Crockett
08 Aug 2017

How to successfully launch a business in your spare time

By four women who made it work

by Sarah Biddlecombe
04 Aug 2017

Why you really need to start taking lunch breaks at work

A culture of presenteeism means we're glued to our desks and rarely go outside

by Anna Brech
27 Jul 2017

The one thing you should never include on your LinkedIn profile

Employers are less likely to hire someone who does this...

by Megan Murray
27 Jul 2017