9 Signs Your Work Is Deeply Unfulfilling

Written by Kimanzi Constable

I spent most of my adult life working jobs that I hated. One of the hardest moments of my day used to be when my alarm clock went off and I got out of bed knowing I'd be spending my time doing something that made me angry and frustrated.

It’s been two years since I left the last job that I hated.

It took a long time to admit to myself how I felt about my work. I made excuses and accepted what society told me about what was possible. But in 2011, I finally found the courage to beat my self-limiting beliefs and chase my dream of being a writer. I wanted to communicate with everyday men and women and let them know there is hope.

Life has to be about more than just paying the bills.

I now write, speak all over the world, consult companies and coach dreamers. I wake up every day doing work that fulfills and challenges me.

If you are doing work that doesn’t fulfill you, the only way you can escape is if you get honest with yourself. Here are nine signs you’re not fulfilling your potential and should consider a career change.

1. You find yourself constantly on edge.

When I was at jobs I hated, I found my temper get shorter and I was constantly on edge with my family and friends. I would bring the stress from the job home. If you find yourself a little snappier or having moments with emotions you can’t explain, do an internal audit and see if those feelings can be traced back to your job. Chances are, your work is the culprit.

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2. You’re not getting quality sleep.

I used to work vendor jobs, which meant I had to start work at midnight. Your hours may not be that extreme, but if you find you’re having a hard time sleeping, it could be because of your work. The stress or hours could be keeping you from getting quality sleep, and that's a sign that you may need to make a change.

3. You don’t have time for the things you enjoy.

Most forms of work are full-time and require that you spend 40 hours — or sometimes more — in the office. If something is constantly taking time away from the things you enjoy in life, you have a choice to make. Life has to be about more than just paying the bills. As the saying goes, you should work hard but play hard as well. The work I'm doing now compliments the kind of life I want to live, and it’s sometimes hard to tell whether I’m working or playing.

4. You’re not making enough money.

Life can be hard if you're unhappy in your job, and the problem is compounded if you’re not making enough money. If you feel like you're not earning the wage you deserve, it might be time to look for other sources of income. The internet and social media have created a wealth of new opportunities to find work that gives you more freedom, along with an income you can live off of comfortably. Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but having enough to live without financial stress is certainly something to strive for.

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5. The people you work with make you angry.

If you dread going to work because of your coworkers or your boss, that’s a major sign your work doesn’t fulfill you. My last boss did everything he could to make my life miserable. Don't spend 40 plus hours with people you can't stand. It will hurt your health.

And sometimes a situation can be so toxic that you start having thoughts that scare you — perhaps you imagine hurting a terrible boss or getting physical with certain co-workers. If you have thoughts that scare you, please talk to someone about it — a friend, family member, or counsellor can help.

6. Your friends and family can tell you're not happy.

Those around you can sense the vibe you put out when it comes to your work. They may have even tried to talk to you about it, and you should be listening. After all, they know you better than anyone else.

7. You've lost hope.

Everyone should believe that they're going to achieve amazing things in life. If your work causes you to give up on your goals and dreams, that's a sign it might be time for a change.

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8. You develop bad habits.

People often resort to bad habits as a way to cope with jobs they dislike. Unfulfilling work could cause you to make poor food choices, neglect sleep, or waste your free time.

9. You know this job doesn't fulfill your life's purpose.

You are meant for greatness, not miserable 40-hour weeks. Your purpose is so much more.

Finding a more fulfilling job or starting a dream business is easier said than done. It took me three years to reach my dreams, and I faced plenty of struggles and challenges along the way. But I found a way to overcome them. So can you.

It may take a while to make your change, but your effort will pay dividends in the rest of your life. Make a short-term sacrifice for a lifelong gain.

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