In today’s COVID-19 world, there are a lot of reasons for all of us to be unhappy, ranging from the semi-quarantine to having to wear that face mask when you go out. Your emotions and stress level can be further increased when you also find yourself miserable at your place of employment.

People vary greatly regarding how we handle our negative emotions. For some people, a calm steadiness translates to an observer, never knowing where the person is on the emotional scale.   Then, there are other people who wear their emotions on their sleeve and you always know what kind of day/week/month/year they are having from their behavior.  These emotional individuals should be the most concerned about the potential of causing issues in the workplace due to their displeasure.

I have always been an advocate of a person leaving in good standing. This allows you to keep your options open regarding rehire (if things change at the company) and with references while also making sure that you are eligible for any termination benefits, such as PTO pay out. This usually requires an individual to not tip off their intentions to leave until it is time to submit a resignation.

There are a number of reasons why a person might be unhappy at work. Let’s look at some of the most common reasons:

  • You Are Not Happy With Your Supervisor: Ask yourself if this is a clash of styles that can be resolved over time as the two parties adapt, or is it something that requires a change. Unless you are being harassed or discriminated against by your supervisor, I do not recommend elevating your concerns to a higher level. This just creates awkwardness between you and your Manager, and most likely makes it even more difficult for any issues to be truly resolved.
  • Your Pay Is Not In Alignment: This could be either in comparison with your co-workers and/or the labor market. Going to you supervisor for greater pay is an option, but if you do this, then be prepared with actual data regarding the market and what you have achieved over the last few years
  • Passed Over for Promotion: This not only can be upsetting, but also embarrassing I your colleagues know you were in the running for the job. You can take the approach that you will get yourself ready for next time, but understand that in most organizations, you might get tagged as the perpetual runner-up. If this becomes the case, then leaving the organization is probably your best play.
  • Something Else Has Changed: There are lots of things that could fall under this category. Things such as a change in culture with new senior leadership, perhaps there was a physical move to a less than ideal location or much longer commute, or a reassignment of duties where you are doing more of what you like least. The key to all of this is to determine if any of this will be short-term in duration, or (if not) is it enough to justify leaving.

My personal view is that if you have reached a point of general unhappiness that you are going to start your job search (or seriously thinking about it), then the situation at work is usually not salvageable. I recommend you focus on your immediate job tasks and your job search rather than being “disruptive”. The following are some behaviors or activities that you should consider avoiding and instead find yourself a new job.

  • Becoming a Productivity Concern: You should continue to come in and do your job to the best of your ability. Continue to give a full day’s work and effort in the role. Make sure all your assignments are done on time and in the same quality as ever.
  • Developing an Attendance Issue: Similarly, to what I wrote about your productivity, please make sure you do not become an attendance issue and give the employer a reason to address the situation. Preschedule your time off, come to work on-time and leave when you should. If you are in your job search, then try to work any time off needed for interviews around your schedule.
  • Creating Team Dissension: You are unhappy, but that does not mean that others working around you must be the same way. Don’t pull them into your dissatisfaction during lunch or the break room by verbally rehashing everything that you are displeased about. This is also not the time to rally people to get behind your cause. Rather if you can just focus on the specific work you are doing then that may be best. Be careful, however, to not go so far over to the other side that you stop engaging with people altogether, as that will just create suspicion regarding what is wrong.

We spend more time at work than anywhere else. So, if you are unhappy at work, the situation becomes magnified in your life. It is in your best interest, however, to continue to do well in your job and maintain a positive attitude while continuing to look for a new job. This way you can leave on good terms and focus your attention on the next step in your career.

As always, best of luck in your job search.

The following has been prepared for the general information of RochesterJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.

Joe Stein
WNY Human Resources Professional

Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at:
Joe Stein


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