Do you feel unhappy, uninterested, or dissatisfied with your job? If your answer is yes, you are not alone. Job dissatisfaction is fairly common, even in a job market that is as competitive and as rewarding as Singapore’s. According to the most recent Randstad Work monitor survey, nearly 40 percent or 2 in 5 Singaporeans are “not satisfied” or “very dissatisfied” with their work.

The lack of career satisfaction can stem from a variety of reasons, from having to deal with excessive stress and an unpleasant working environment to a lack of work-life balance and career development opportunities. While explanations for job dissatisfaction will vary depending on the person, one thing is clear – you need to do something about it. Otherwise, you can end up hurting your career growth, mental health, and overall well-being.

Do you want to address the issue but are unsure how to go about it? Here are six things you can do:

Assess Your Situation

Before you start thinking about ways to make your work life more fulfilling, you should get to the root of the problem first. Try to take the time to ponder what it is about the job that is making you unhappy exactly. Is it the company culture, your boss’s attitude, the position itself, or something else? Be honest with yourself and disregard any presumptions while examining your situation.

Perhaps you have been used to saying that you hate the company culture. But after careful thought, you may discover that the dissatisfaction and ill feelings actually stem from something else – having rude co-workers, for example. Remember, unless you identify the real reason or reasons why you are not satisfied with your career, you may find it hard to change your situation for the better.

Explore Possible Solutions

Once you have figured out the root cause of the job dissatisfaction, you will be in a better position to come up with strategies that could make a meaningful impact on your current plight. For instance, if low pay or lack of career advancement opportunities is the issue, consider investing time and money in training courses and skills upgrading. After all, maybe gaining new qualifications is the missing key to earning yourself that seemingly elusive promotion or pay increase.

Ultimately, you should explore and try all possible options before you resort to drastic measures, like switching jobs or finding a new career when you’re not yet ready or when you don’t even have to. Get creative and seek advice from mentors or trusted friends. Who knows? The solution to your job dissatisfaction might be easier than you previously thought.

Focus on What You Can Control

Instead of consistently hoping that your boss, co-workers, or working environment will change as you desire, you may want to focus on the one thing you can control—your attitude. Perhaps you are focusing too much on every tiny imperfection in your job that you forget to notice the positives. If so, make a decision to be happy every morning before you go to work. Sometimes, all you need is a change of mindset and perspective to feel satisfied with your job. Unless you are harassed, paid poorly, or verbally abused, you will most likely find several things about your work that you enjoy.

Find Enjoyment Outside Work

While it may appear counter-intuitive, maybe you should look beyond the workplace when looking for solutions to increase your job satisfaction. After all, engaging in enjoyable after-work activities can help recharge your depleted energy and relieve burnout or excessive stress.

That said, rather than focusing on what you can change in the office, why don’t you try engaging in hobbies that will make you happy? To get the most out of this strategy, opt for creative leisure activities, such as bullet journaling, calligraphy, or photography. One study published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology found creative hobbies can help employees improve job performance and work attitude.

Practise Self-Care

Taking extra care of yourself is another effective way to make yourself feel more positive at work. When you’re rested, well-fed, and healthy, your body has more energy to fight stress and fatigue. Don’t you feel naturally positive and happy when you give your mind and body much-needed tender loving care? On the contrary, working late nights and focusing too much on your career can lead to exhaustion, burnout, and feelings of detachment.

Practising self-care does not have to be too complicated. Getting sufficient sleep, taking relaxing walks, and eating a healthy diet can make a lot of difference. You can also incorporate the following practices in your daily office routine to increase your work satisfaction:

  • Wear work attire that boosts your mood and confidence.
  • Go for occasional breaks outside to get some fresh air and sunshine.
  • Socialise and make friends with like-minded colleagues.
  • Learn to say no to extra work and responsibilities.
  • Keep your workspace neat and orderly, and decorate it with things that make you smile.
  • Meditate, listen to music, or do breathing techniques when you feel stressed.

Consider Moving On

Have you tried everything to improve your situation, but nothing worked at all? If you answered yes, then perhaps it’s worth considering leaving your position and finding other opportunities elsewhere. However, be sure to think about all the implications of making a move so that you can plan accordingly. And since finding a new job can be daunting, you may want to wait for an offer that matches your financial needs before handing in your resignation. This will help minimise anxiety, stress, and possible financial issues.

Your work is a huge part of your life; it is an activity that eats most of your waking hours and impacts every aspect of your being. As such, you can’t stay idle when you feel dissatisfied with your career. You need to act and strive to improve your situation. Consider the tips discussed above as a jumping-off point and continue discovering more ways to bring meaning and satisfaction to your work life. That said, when all else fails, know that it is alright to consider leaving to secure a job that will really make you passionate and excited about going to work every day.