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Why You Hate Working: 4 Questions to Suss Out the Reason

And what to do once you’ve figured it out

Abbey Slattery
Contributor

30 Rock i hate this gif

If you were to break up your life into portions, you would spend, on average, about one-third of it at work. So when you wake up every day dreading what awaits at the office, the rest of your life starts to take a hit too. 

You might feel like there are lots of reasons you hate working, but determining the root cause of your dissatisfaction can help narrow down the best course of action for moving forward. If you hate your job, here are the four questions you should ask yourself—and what to do when you find the answer.

Are you letting comparison steal your joy?

You wake up every morning, scroll through your social media feed, and see friends, acquaintances, influencers, etc., with “amazing” jobs and six figure salaries (or so it seems) jetting across the world...and you’re heading into the office for your predictable 9-to-5. 

Millennials in particular—who make up the largest generational workforce in the country—are increasingly dissatisfied with work, with 71 percent reporting that they’re not engaged with their jobs, and 60 percent open to new positions. One of the biggest reasons for this? Social media overload. On average, we pick up our phones 58 times throughout the day for a grand total of three hours and 15 minutes of screen time, according to research from the RescueTime app.

Take your social media apps off the home screen of your phone and to the second or third page, or delete them from your phone altogether. The next time you dive in for a social media fix, you’ll be able to question whether you really need it and why you’re going in for more. Moving away from frequent phone use can have a positive effect on your mental health and curb your tendency for comparison. 

Read more: 7 Office Games That Give Life to Even the Dreariest of Workplaces

Are you stressed out by work?

There are a number of factors that can contribute to a toxic workplace, from your coworkers to your boss to the work itself. Regardless of the reason, 94 percent of U.S. workers report feeling stressed at work (so basically, all of us), and around 55 percent report feeling that stress daily. Interestingly, the APA Stress in America survey also found that women typically have higher stress levels than men.

An unhealthy workplace can lead to adverse effects in the rest of your life—more than half of U.S. workers say that their work stress affects their time at home. Studies have also found that those with heavy workloads and strict time constraints are more likely to suffer from major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.

If you need help coping with stress, consider tracking the exact stressors that set you off and reframing how you react to them. Establish more rigid work-life boundaries and practice a few relaxation and meditation techniques. Consult with your management about taking on fewer projects or being able to flex your work hours. 

Read more: How to Find a Job You Love (No, Really)

Is your work-life integration lacking?

Americans work a lot—certainly more than workers in other countries. According to recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average U.S. worker spends about 8.8 hours at work per day and around 1,779 hours per year. Compare that other countries similar to the US—Italy clocks in at 1,725, Canada at 1,691, France at 1,482, and Germany at 1,371. And not only are we working more hours as a country, but we also typically have less paid time off compared to others. 

Burnout is real, and around 40 percent of office employees in the U.S. and Canada experience symptoms caused by it. If you’re clocking too much time at the office and not enough in other areas of your life, you may start to resent your work. 

Establish strict boundaries between your professional life and your personal life: every night at 6 p.m. your work phone goes out of sight, or you turn off push notifications for your email once you leave the office. And don’t be afraid to use up you PTO—and even ask for more.

Read more: 4 Tips for Setting Work-Life Boundaries When Your Home is Your Office

Are you in the wrong career?

A recent survey from InHerSight found that seven in 10 women want to change careers. The two main reasons are the need for better pay and the desire to have a career with a mission they believe in. 

The good news: It is possible to change careers, and we have plenty of resources to help you do just that. 

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