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Worrying work trend 'worse than being unemployed'

Work accounts for a staggering 81,396 hours of your life, so why do something you loathe?

A stylised image of a woman with her head on a desk piled with folders with a flame over her head.
Hate your job? Feeling burned out? Do something about it!

Ok, so hate might be too strong a word — dislike, disconnected from, frustrated by. Do you leap out of bed on Monday morning excited to go to work, or do you get the ‘Sunday Scaries’ and that sinking feeling in your stomach?

81,396 hours. That’s how much time, on average, you spend at work in your lifetime, according to Gallup's State of the Global Workplace Report.

Gallup found fifty-nine per cent of people are emotionally detached at work and eighteen per cent are miserable.

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Gallup’s research into well-being at work finds that having a job you hate is worse than being unemployed—and those negative emotions end up at home, impacting relationships with family. If you’re not thriving at work, you’re unlikely to be thriving at life.

Understanding why you hate your job is the first step toward finding a solution Here are seven ways to help you identify why you hate your job and what you can do about it.

  1. You are not playing to your strengths: Most people can identify their weaknesses but struggle to identify their strengths. If you don’t have the opportunity to do what you do best every day and play to your strengths, it's like being weighed down by Kryptonite. Consider taking an assessment like CliftonStrengths, which reveals your unique talents and strengths and what sets you apart from everyone else. In fact, the combinations of talents are so unique that the chance that two people share the same top five CliftonStrengths themes in the same order is over one in 33 million.

  2. The Negative Workplace Culture: Like a rotten apple spoiling the barrel, negativity from coworkers can infect the team, destroying camaraderie and productivity. While you may not be able to change the entire workplace culture, focus on areas within your control. Lead by example and identify opportunities to make a positive impact. If comfortable, try addressing concerns with management. If it persists and significantly impacts your well-being or career growth, consider exploring alternative options, such as transferring to a different team or seeking opportunities outside of the organisation.

  3. You have a ‘Shitty Boss’: "I love being micro-managed", said no one ever. Having a bad boss or being subjected to unfair treatment extends beyond mere job hatred—it corrodes trust, stifles communication, and fuels disengagement. Do not suffer in silence; speak to a mentor, a coach, Employee Assistance Program (EAP), HR, or the next leader up.

  4. Workload and Responsibilities: Are you constantly overwhelmed with tasks, working long hours, and struggling to maintain a healthy work-life balance? How about feeling underappreciated? Have a conversation with your Manager about Job Crafting, the tasks, hours and how you like to be recognised. Ensure what you craft aligns with your strengths.

  5. You are not Developing or Growing: Without the prospect of learning new skills, taking on new challenges, or progressing in your career, you may feel stagnant and unfulfilled. Take the reins of your growth journey! If you love learning, think about some short and long-term goals, and consider different means of learning: podcasts, job shadowing, reading, and secondments; it’s not just about courses. Write your development plan and take it to your manager or consider getting a career coach.

  6. Lack of Purpose or Meaning: The pandemic has made many of us reflect on what's important. There can be a disconnection when a job lacks purpose or fails to align with the company's purpose. Think about the activities, interests, and topics that ignite a sense of excitement or fulfilment within you. Think about your best ever day at work, what were you doing? Who were you with? Write a list and pay attention to the moments when you felt happiest and engaged.

  7. Misalignment of Values: Does your current job align with your personal values? For example, if you value creativity and freedom but find yourself in a rigid, bureaucratic environment, this misalignment could lead to feelings of frustration and unhappiness. Identify your values through online tools or lists

Think about the toll: the countless hours lost doing something you do not love, the precious moments taken away from loved ones, and the sacrifices made in the name of career demands.

Life is fleeting, too valuable to spend chasing after a paycheck that doesn't bring you joy.

Understanding the root causes of your job hatred requires introspection, reflection, and a willingness to confront uncomfortable truths; by considering all factors, you can then take steps to address them.

Whether it involves seeking opportunities for growth within your current role, making changes work environment, discovering your values, strengths, and purpose or exploring new career paths altogether.