Professional Development

7 Warning Signs You’re Unhappy at Work

Written by Peter Jones

Just like in your car, where there are alerts to let you know when important systems are not performing as they should, there should be alerts for when you aren’t either. We are all guilty of being on autopilot now and then on the job. But sometimes we don’t realize just how much of our attention has been diverted away from our work—until it’s too late to make necessary corrections.

Here are 7 good signs that you’re unhappy at work and might want to rethink your situation and either re-engage with what you’re doing, or start looking for something else.

1. Not Caring

If you’ve started to be the one with the “I don’t care” attitude, who just shows up and does the bare minimum and doesn’t take initiative or pitch in? That’s a problem. Getting your job done well is just as important as getting it done well enough. Besides, this probably means you’re not thinking enough about your future there and setting the necessary career goals for yourself.

2. Lateness/Not Coming In

If you’re flagging, you might tend to be late or absent more than you realize—just from a lack of interest and engagement. Or worse—you’re getting sick more often because you’re miserable at work. Either way, it is a warning sign.

3. Quality Slip

Do you remember when you first started and you were so eager to dot your ‘i’s and cross your ‘t’s? Remember your attention to detail? Your go-get’em attitude? If those days are so far gone that you can’t remember trying so hard or performing so well at work, then you should take stock.

4. Moodiness

If your moods are swingier than usual, and your emotions seem to be that much more out on your sleeve, this might be a symptom of being “over it” at work. Particularly if you no longer care who knows how grumpy you are at any given time.

5. Isolating Yourself

Do you notice that you are physically pulling back? Using standoffish body language, like leading away from the table with your arms crossed during meetings? Or standing apart from the group? Not accepting happy hour invites? Or maybe you feel overlooked or invisible? Whether your isolation is physical or mental, it’s not a very good sign about your level of engagement.

6. Not Raising Your Hand

You used to be all about collaborating, making creative suggestions, giving your input. Now? You’re basically silent, and speak only when spoken to—even in brainstorming sessions. If you’ve stopped generating new ideas as well… time to rethink things.

7. Being Meh

General lethargy—or a noticeable lack of energy over a sustained period of time—is one of your biggest warning signs. If you’re showing up to work, but not really showing up anymore, then you might want to see what needs to change. It’s either going to be you, or the job. Either way, better to know and be proactive!

About the author

Peter Jones