How to Get Motivated if You Are Unhappy at Work

Practical Things You Can Do to Find More Enjoyment in What You Do

Knowing how to get motivated if you are unhappy at work will make a big difference to your attitude and experience while working.

Most people spend almost a third of their lives working. Studies reveal close to 80% of people either hate or don’t enjoy what they do for a living.

Quitting a job you hate isn’t always easy, especially if you may put yourself at financial risk.

The Costs of Low Motivation at Work

If you have low motivation at work, the costs include:

  • Not performing as well as you can.
  • Having an unhealthy attitude.
  • Contributing to the creation of a bad workplace culture.
  • Adding to low team morale.
  • Not meeting performance objectives.

If you are unhappy at work and don’t want to be there, it is unfair to your employer. All employers make an investment in their employees, so they can succeed in their role. If you are not happy at work, it is your responsibility to do something about it.

While staying at a job long-term that does not bring you joy is not the best choice, there are things you can do to get motivated while working.

how to get motivated

Reasons You Are Unhappy at Work

Common reasons why people are not happy at work include:

  • They aren’t doing work they’re passionate about.
  • They don’t believe they have options.
  • They work long hours.
  • They don’t get along with their co-workers.
  • They are not challenged in their roles.
  • They don’t believe they are paid what they are worth.
  • They don’t like their boss or manager.
  • They don’t agree with decisions made by those in leadership roles.
  • They don’t think they have better future prospects at the company.

No matter how bad your work environment may be, there are always things you can do to experience the emotions you want to.

How to Get Motivated if You Are Unhappy at Work

Here are five ideas on how to get motivated if you are unhappy at work. These ideas will require you to be honest with yourself and make changes you know you should.

  1. Assess the source of your unhappiness at work. Knowing what is causing you to feel unhappy is the starting point. There are many factors that can affect your emotions, if you let them. Your job is to look for those things affecting you negatively and change them, if you want to.
  2. Avoid engaging in negative conversations. Do not blame, gossip, complain and whine. Instead of complaining about something you don’t like, you can apply strategies to provide feedback in a useful manner. While you cannot influence many things at your work, you always have full control of your attitude.
  3. Focus on one positive thing every day. People often makes things out to be worse than they really are. If you focus on what’s positive about your work, you will find many things that are. Using the law of contrast, if something is bad, then there has to be something good too.
  4. Identify the difference your role is making. If you have a job, it means what you do is making a difference. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be a need for your role. Find out how the work you do impacts others. Once you know the value you bring, you will appreciate what you do even more.
  5. Evaluate your options. Quitting your job may not be a short-term option. If that’s something you want to do, create a transition plan to leave your job. Options can include changing roles, changing your hours, delegating work or asking for new challenges.

Final Thoughts

It’s highly unlikely things will magically improve if you are unhappy at work, without you first changing your mindset or attitude. If you take responsibility for how you want to feel at work, there are things you can do now to change your emotional state.

If you remain unmotivated at work, you will not only affect yourself, you will also affect those who work with you. Choose to have a healthy attitude no matter how unpleasant you think things are at your work.

Action Step: If you are not happy at your work, the first step is to assess why. This will require you to be honest with yourself and identify the reasons for your unhappiness. Once you know what those reasons are, work through them, one at a time, so you can have a better experience at your work.

Question: What are other ideas on how to get motivated if you are unhappy at work?