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5 Ways to Guarantee You'll Be Miserable at Work

Maurie Backman, The Motley Fool

We can't be expected to love our jobs all the time, but it's unfortunate that more than half of Americans consider themselves unhappy at work. But in some cases, that dissatisfaction might boil down to the things you are or aren't doing to make your situation better. Here are a few mistakes that are virtually guaranteed to leave you miserable if you don't take steps to change them.

1. Never taking breaks

It's noble to want to power through each workday and be as productive as possible. But if you refuse to let yourself take breaks as needed, you're highly likely to wind up not only unhappy, but completely burned out. A better bet? Schedule at least one sizable break each day so that you're able to clear your head before diving back in. You might decide that you're going to take a walk at lunchtime, or get some fresh air during the latter part of the afternoon, when you tend to hit a wall. No matter how you work in that break, it's likely to help improve your general outlook.

Woman holding her head at a desk

Image source: Getty Images.

2. Never asking for help

Some people think asking for help is a sign of weakness, and so they avoid calling for backup at all costs. But if you're swamped with projects and up against deadlines, not asking for help is a good way to ensure that you'll be burning the midnight oil for days on end, thus contributing to your own exhaustion and misery. So swallow your pride, sit down with your manager, and acknowledge that you're struggling. If your boss is reasonable, you might get a few tasks removed from your plate, which should make your workload more manageable.

3. Refusing to delegate

When you're responsible for a given task, it's natural to want to see it through every step of the way. But if you have the option to delegate certain aspects of your role to others, and you don't do so to retain control, you could end up sealing your own miserable fate. Dishing out responsibilities so that others share the load is an easy way to alleviate some of the pressure and time crunch mentality you might be experiencing, so if you're in a position to get some assistance, you'd be crazy to pass it up.

4. Not building relationships with your peers

Even if you're the competitive type who prefers working solo, it's always helpful to have some allies at the office, and a built-in support system you can count on. Therefore, if you don't make an effort to establish relationships with your colleagues, you're more likely to find yourself unhappy when things get tough. You don't necessarily need to become everyone's best friend at work, but you should find a couple of people you respect and aim to get to know them a bit better. This will come in handy when you're stressed and desperately need to vent.

5. Staying at a dead-end job

We all have tasks to tackle at work that don't necessarily lend to professional growth. But if you come to find that you've landed in a dead-end job and don't take steps to move forward, you're pretty much setting yourself up for a bout of long-term unhappiness. Rather than accept that fate, dust off your resume, brush up on your interview skills, and reach out to your network of contacts to see what job opportunities are out there. Leaving a role you're used to isn't easy, but if your job is going nowhere, you won't be doing yourself any favors by staying put.

Sometimes, circumstances outside our control make us miserable at work, like having a bad boss or a salary that's almost insulting. But in certain circumstances, you do have the power to improve your work situation and help keep negative feelings at bay. Once you take the above steps, you're likely to find that your attitude improves not just on the job front, but in other aspects of your life as well.

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