5 Signs That You’re Unhappy at Work

Happiness at work seems like a win-win. Productivity goes up, sales increase, and (most importantly) employees enjoy going to work everyday. Yet, there are always two-sides to every coin. When you’ve spent as much time trying to spread happiness at work as I have, it’s natural to find unhappiness as well. But I’m grateful to have discovered what the symptoms of unhappiness are, as they have allowed me to help others realise that they are on a wrong path, and there is still something they can do about it.

Sometimes people don’t realise that they suffer from these symptoms. There are minor things in your work-day that are actually huge red flags waving in your face, trying to tell you that you need a change.

Here are 5 signs that you are unhappy at work.

1. Clock-Watching

“The first thing I do at work, is calculate how many hours there are till I can leave.” 

Everyone has had that moment when they are looking at the clock in anticipation. In school, they were referred to as “Clock-watchers”, always waiting for the bell to signify the end of class and the start of lunch or free time. The curse of the Clock-watcher was that the more you stare at the clock, the slower time seems to pass.

Of course it’s always fine to anxiously anticipate going to something (like a child going to lunch). But if you are more excited about the concept of simply leaving the office, rather than going somewhere exciting, that’s a red flag.

2. Monday Blues

I never sleep well on Sunday nights because I’m worried about going to work on Monday morning.”

This is a very normal occurrence that many people don’t really take the time to think about.  Sure it’s understandable to be sad the weekend is over, and perhaps you want to keep spending all your free time with family and loved ones. But if your anxiety is based on going to work compared to leaving people behind, take a step back and think about where the problem truly lies.

 3. Procrastination

I honestly try to get some work done, but somehow I just never got around to it or end up doing a rushed job.” 

Many people view procrastination simply as a personal weakness. To me, it’s a strong symptom of unhappiness at work. It means that you aren’t passionate about what you are doing. You may find that you have a to-do list, and there certain projects you easily fly through. Then there are the other projects that tend to rollover through the days. You may be unhappy at work if the majority of your tasks are falling in the latter category.

4. Paranoia

Every time a colleague does something, my first thought is ‘What are they up to?’”

This is surprisingly common, particularly in a office culture built on a hierarchy structure. But when you think about what an organisation is, a group of individuals working toward a common goal, this paranoia should not be present. This is not your fault, but the fault of the environment you are working in. Studies show that we’re more suspicious of others when we’re unhappy. If your work is causing you to be sceptical of everyone’s motives, chances are your job that is making you unhappy.

5. Personal Health

“I tend to experience insomnia, fatigue, and constant headaches.”

If you are unhappy at work, studies show that you are more prone to experiencing physical symptoms of stress. Your job may be causing you to be physically ill! Your health is something you should never be willing to compromise on, and if your job is promoting an unhealthy atmosphere, perhaps you should re-evaluate your position.


I’ve only listed 5 symptoms here, but there are other signs out there that may be trying to warn you.  To some out there, these signs may seem foreign, and to you I say kudos! But if you are one of the many who seems to be recognizing most of the things on this list, you might need to take some time to think about how your work is impacting you. You may still be able to work with what you have, flipping over the coin and finding happiness at the work place. Take the quiz below to see if your situation is actually that bad. If your job is seriously detrimental to you as a person, you may have to face some tough questions, but they are definitely worth asking yourself.

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Alexander Kjerulf
18 Sep 2014

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