Job dissatisfaction is one of the most insidious causes for chronic unhappiness. It takes over your life. You’re not just miserable when you’re actually at work. You’re miserable outside of work every time you think about it or anticipate having to go back to it. Feeling trapped in a job that makes you miserable affects your mood, energy level, and motivation. Job dissatisfaction impacts your relationships and steals your optimism.

At some point, you get caught in a pattern of circular thinking.

Photo credit: Pixabay

You know your job is making you miserable and you know you think about leaving it every single day.

Yet, each time you do, you start to think about your salary and how it’s come to support your standard of living that you and your family rely on.

You think about the skill set you’ve acquired and wonder who else would need or want what you bring to the table.

You wonder about and doubt your ability to even do anything new.

You shake your head, laughing at your gumption for considering a switch when you’re still paying off the student loans for the job you currently have. You can just imagine how your partner or spouse would react to you coming home, talking about wanting to try something new. Sure, that would go over really well.

Everywhere you look, the same realization comes back to bite you: Simply not liking your job is not a reason to leave it.

Consider the cost of staying.

  • How’s your mood been lately?
  • Have you had energy? Motivation?
  • Do you find yourself easily irritable and quick on the trigger?
  • Have you been pleasant to be around?
  • How are your relationships with your partner, kids, family, and friends?

Chronic unhappiness takes a toll on people. It’s as if you’re moving through the world with grey lenses on. It’s harder to find joy or interest in things. You don’t notice the positive or uplifting things in life but you take note of every time you’ve been cut off in traffic, every time you’ve been screwed, and every injustice and you see those things in high definition.

Photo credit: Pixabay

In relationships with others, you may be accused of being angry all the time. Maybe you’re criticized for being shut down and tuning out. People might lecture you about just leaving work at work but that’s impossible for you and nobody understands that.

You think you’re protecting your professional status, salary, and benefits by staying in a situation that makes you unhappy but the cost of this choice could have a far deeper impact than anything you might imagine making a change would entail. Take an honest assessment of what staying might actually be costing you.

Research your limiting beliefs.

You have a list of reasons why switching jobs at this point of the game is improbable. Have you researched these ideas and confirmed each of them to be true?

  • How do you know your skill set isn’t valuable to anyone else?
  • Are you sure you don’t have transferrable skills?
  • What numbers and stats are you reading that tell you a job change would mean a reduction in your salary?
  • If your best friend were to tell you he/she was miserable in their job, would you consider their salary and skill set just as immoveable?

Before you resign yourself to misery, get out of your head and check the facts.

What would you do if the tables were suddenly turned and instead of choosing to leave, you were laid off? Would it be immediately true that your next job would include a pay cut? How would this be solved, if the choice were taken away from you? Would you roll over and play dead or would you fight for something better than what you left?

You don’t know what you don’t know.

Photo credit: Pixabay

When was the last time you did a self-assessment? How well do you really know yourself? If you’re resigning yourself to chronic job dissatisfaction, you might as well check your theory. By finding out more about yourself, you just might discover assets that you’re leaving on the table.

Check out What Color is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles**. This is a perfect career resource for people considering a job change. It teaches you about the latest trends and topics in the job market but also walks you through self-awareness exercises that might unlock new ideas and possibilities for you.

You might also consider taking a Myers-Briggs assessment. This is a personality assessment that helps you to organize and make sense of your way of thinking and moving through the world. You may have already encountered this before in your career but getting clear on where you are currently at may shift your thinking about what’s possible in the future.

The Myers-Briggs assessments helps you tune into your values, priorities, and ways of moving through the world. Over time and in different career positions, my own assessment and personality type has changed and shifted several times. Even if you’ve done it before, it’s worth doing again to see what might open up for you.

Identify and own your strengths.

You’re probably so used to looking at yourself and career with a singular vision that you can’t get out of your own way. It’s likely that you have talents you’ve been taking for granted as well as hidden attributes you may not be aware of if your current place of employment doesn’t call on you to use them.

Hit the refresh button again on your self-perception and take The Strengths Finder 2.0 Assessment from Gallup and Tom Rath. Don’t be afraid to look at yourself with new eyes and a new perspective. Do yourself a favor and skip the eBook version of this. You’ll want your own hard copy so that you can complete the assessment. At last check, the assessment only reveals your top 5 attributes out of a possible 34. This has frustrated some clients of mine in the past but I still find this to be a valuable and insightful tool.

Often, the only way to change your stuck pattern of thinking is to change your behavior. You don’t have to actually have a plan to leave before you start the process. Make these changes to your behavior and see how your thinking shifts.

Ready to take action? Grab my FREE guide for updating your CV.

**Note from Heather Gray: These are resources I’ve been using with clients that I have seen deliver results. I am not an affiliate or sponsor for any resource listed in this article.

Originally published at on April 6, 2016.

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