6 Ways To Overcome Job Dissatisfaction

It’s always exciting when you start a new job; it’s a brand new chapter of your life and the chance to build a career in something you enjoy doing. But while a job can be a welcome prospect, they aren’t always quite what we expect. If you’re particularly unlucky, a dream job role can become more like a nightmare.

Being stuck in a position you truly dislike is a problem many people face over their careers. If you’re fairly new to the job world, you may often feel powerless and unable to change anything. However, thanks to various laws, services and the wide job market available to young people, there is plenty you can do to change your working circumstances, whatever the issue may be.


Determine the problem

This may sound like an obvious first step, but a surprising number of people often don’t know what is causing their unhappiness. With any problem in life, you can’t find a solution until you determine the root of the issue, and this is no different when trying to solve job dissatisfaction.

Whether the problem seems clear or not, it is worth writing down a list of things you don’t enjoy about your job or that bring you unhappiness. Determine whether there’s a common theme. It’s also important to reflect on any problems in an objective manner, with Fast Company noting the role jumping to conclusions can often play in work disputes.

For example, many jobs require hard work and sometimes undesirable tasks. However, this alone isn’t reason to claim mistreatment. That is why it can be beneficial to speak to a trusted colleague or a friend about your work problems. These may be able to offer a fresh perspective.


Re-read your contract

With any problem at work, revisiting your most recent work contract is key; after all, this is the legal document that outlines both your role and your entitlements.

Common job problems include being refused holidays, being given tasks outside your usual responsibilities and being dismissed unfairly. These are issues that can all be ratified by looking at your contract. Make sure to read the small print for any loopholes. The great thing about a contract is that it is legally binding; if someone tries to tell you a task is your responsibility or that you can’t take a certain holiday, you can refer to your contract to prove them wrong.

While your contract should highlight your employee rights, take time to read your statutory rights too. These are rights that every worker should have and, if your employee is in breach of them, they’re breaking the law. By cluing yourself up on your rights in the workplace, you can give yourself the advantage of knowing when you’re being treated unfairly.


Speak to your boss (or not)

With many problems, speaking to your boss can provide a quick fix. If you have a dispute with a colleague or another department is trying to give you their workload, make sure to tell your boss. They will often be able to sort it or come up with a solution to maintain a happy workforce.

However, in some circumstances, it may be your boss that’s causing the problem or you may feel uncomfortable in approaching them. If this is the case, there should be other people to talk to; this can vary from organisation to organisation, but your workplace should make you aware of their system.

Most companies will have a designated HR department, who are assigned to support employees, so this should be your first port of call. They should be able to advise you of your rights and can tell you who to contact, organise third-party mediations between you and your boss/colleagues, and put solutions in place on your behalf.


Document the problem

Whether you plan to take the problem up with your boss, HR or a higher power, it’s important to have evidence, particularly if you feel you are being mistreated or bullied by a member of staff.

Keep copies of emails, notes or any other communications you receive in relation to the problem so you can show these at a later date. ACAS also recommends keeping a diary of incidents, with dates and times, witnesses and details to provide a record of the frequency and nature of incidents that occur in the workplace. If and when you do report the problem, make sure to provide this record to give a clear picture as well as proof of mistreatment.


Final solutions

In most cases, the steps above should help and solve your problem – but sometimes nothing can fix it. In this situation, you have two options: leave your job or take legal action.

If your employer isn’t being unlawful and your problem is smaller, such as not liking the work you’ve been given or not getting on with your colleagues, then it is likely time to find a new job. Check your contract for your notice period (usually four weeks). Once you’ve given in your notice, you should only have to work this amount of time before leaving.

It may not be ideal to find a new job, but sometimes it’s the best way forward. With any luck you’ll find yourself much happier in another role. However, if your problem is more severe and you believe it is unlawful – such as if you’re being discriminated against at work – you should not be forced out. Instead, approach the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, who offer free advice in such situations. From here, you may be advised to get a solicitor or to make a claim for an employment tribunal.


Don’t let it hold you back

No matter what the outcome, you should never let problems or dissatisfaction in the workplace hold you back. Small problems and conflicts can be part of life, but you should never feel compelled to stay in a job if it’s making you miserable.

While we owe our livelihoods to our employers, this doesn’t give them the right to mistreat their employees and it’s important to remember your own rights and entitlements at all times. Focus on your own value as a worker and the skills you can bring to a job – and, whether you stay in your job or go elsewhere – make sure those skills as being appreciated.


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