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When your job just isn’t right – the impact of being unhappy at work

Figures suggest that between 20% and 40% of people are unhappy with many or all of the aspects of the places where they work. It’s a startling and shocking statistic that’s bad news for both employees and business owners alike.

If you count yourself in that unhappy number then it could be far more serious for you than simply having to drag yourself out of bed in the morning to head for a place that you neither value nor feel valued by. In fact it can be distinctly damaging not just to your mental well being but also to your physical health and long term career prospects.

It stands to reason that if you feel unhappy in your work motivation is also going to be in short supply and, from there, it’s a short step to depression striking. Not only extremely personally debilitating, this is certain to affect everything else from your ability to do the job that you dislike so much to your relationships outside of work. It’s also been found that stress at work is especially acute when people are put under pressure in jobs they are not enjoying whereas employees who are satisfied by, and committed to, the places in which they work are far better equipped to take it in their stride.

Connected to the emotional effects of working in an unhappy atmosphere are a number of physical effects too. For example over-eating and weight gain can often be problems as well as sleeplessness. You can also be storing up longer term problems too. In research carried out amongst 20,000 nurses in America it found that those who didn’t enjoy their jobs were at far greater risk of developing serious diseases including type 2 diabetes and even cancer.

However, perhaps the greatest harm that anyone who continues to work in an environment that they hate is doing is to their career. General feelings of negativity will seep into every aspect of your working life, from refusing to follow broader company initiatives and policies to not being able to enjoy the Christmas party. They will also radiate outwards affecting, and also perhaps infecting, colleagues to create a toxic atmosphere.

It goes without saying that this is of benefit to no-one – not for the individuals involved, not for their line managers and certainly not for the business in general.

But, most pertinently, to the person who is not enjoying their job it means that their career is effectively stalled. They are not learning anything new, they are not sharing their skills with their colleagues and they are simply hanging around for the monthly pay check. So if and when the time comes to look for another job they will be faced with some very difficult questions at interview, especially as their disaffection with their current employer is sure to shine through. I don’t need to spell out what this means for their prospects of interview success.

While this all seems gloom-filled and pessimistic this is the time to put forward a simple solution. This is to ensure, before starting any new job, that it’s a good match and this where recruitment consultants like Lucas Blake can be invaluable. We spend time not just combing through CVs but getting to understand candidates as individuals. This is matched by the in-depth research we do into our client companies looking at everything from their structure to their culture. So we only ever bring together candidates who we believe will be a good fit with not just a role but the whole organisation. Judging from the time they tend to stay in the jobs we find for them it seems to be an approach that is working.