It is human nature to overthink your problems. Even at work maybe you are feeling like nothing you do will make a difference and you don’t know why. But the first step is realistically diagnosing the problem, which may be far less complex than you believe.
If you zoom out far enough, your true problem is not the coworker you find annoying or that one assignment that feels impossible. Those are just symptoms of the bigger reasons. And the site Inc. broke down these potential reasons into four basic categories. Here is the first:
A Moment of Failure
Maybe you are stressing about every assignment and unsure why. But then you trace back when the feeling started and realize it began when you got demoted.
So now you have become anxious about every assignment you do in fear of further consequences. It is not any one assignment you need to do well on in this instance but mentally finding a way to restore your confidence.
Maybe the money is good and your coworkers are nice, but something still just does not feel right. A job does not have to be bad for you to dislike it. Perhaps it is just not working that gives you a sense of accomplishment or satisfies your passion. Nobody wants to devote their life to a cause they don’t care about.
Desire for a Fresh Start
Perhaps nothing at work is really wrong, but you are just unexplainably irritable all the time. Could it be that you no longer feel challenged?
Maybe you have subconsciously realized you have accomplished as much as this job will permit you and it has left you feeling unfulfilled and longing for something new.
Lack of Progress
Do you secretly envy that coworker who got a promotion over you? It likely is not that you hate that individual, but that you felt you deserved that opportunity.
You want more room to achieve your goals and go further in life, but you are feeling stuck in a role that is not advancing as fast as you want. You want progress and results while work is just providing you more of the same.
Sometimes you are too close to the problem to see it clearly. Maybe try explaining the situation to somebody you trust and see if they feel your issue falls into one of these categories. Realizing what your true problem is will be the first step to fixing it.
For further reading on these four career problems, be sure to check out Inc’s article on the subject here.
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