Job dissatisfaction is at all-time highs in the U.S. Between our country’s rampant culture of overwork and many employers having zero qualms about exploiting their workers, it’s easy to see why so many people wish to bid a long-overdue farewell to the rat race.

If you’re currently feeling unhappy, unfulfilled, or exploited at work, it’s in your best interest to identify why. Pinpointing the root causes of job dissatisfaction is the first step towards correcting the problem and paving the way for a more fulfilling future.

Your Workday Never Truly Ends

For many members of the workforce, the concept of a finite workday simply doesn’t exist. Sure, these people may eventually leave the office, but much of their time at home is spent working on assorted projects, taking phone calls, and answering emails.

Additionally, more often than not, off-the-clock work constitutes unpaid overtime. So, not only are people expected to continue their respective workdays in perpetuity, they’re not even compensated for their efforts.

Needless to say, never-ending workdays are hardly conducive to job satisfaction. After all, what’s the point of working to maintain a certain quality of life when you never have time to enjoy the lifestyle and creature comforts your job supposedly affords you?

If endless workdays are a consistent source of stress, you’d do well to nip this problem in the bud. You can start by refusing to put in overtime for which you receive no additional compensation. No employer should be entitled to unlimited amounts of your time, and if your bosses believe otherwise, it may be a good idea to pursue other career opportunities.

Furthermore, don’t allow yourself to feel pressured into putting in unpaid overtime simply because your colleagues are. If they want to dedicate their personal time to unpaid work, they should feel free to – provided, of course, they don’t try to drag you into it.  

You’re Treated Like a Doormat

Some employers won’t hesitate to take advantage of workers who never stand up for themselves. If your bosses or coworkers think they can get away with walking all over you, there’s a good chance they’ll do just that.

So, if you’re habitually saddled with other people’s work and entrusted with unreasonable workloads, there’s little wonder as to why you’re experiencing job dissatisfaction.

To help prevent yourself from being taken advantage of, you’ll need to set clear boundaries with bosses and coworkers. For example, if a certain coworker regularly foists their work off on you, inform them in no uncertain terms that you have work of your own to attend to and that their work is their responsibility.

Additionally, if your bosses constantly entrust you with more work than you can reasonably handle, inform them that you need more flexible deadlines and/or lighter workloads.   

No Respect is Shown for Your Personal Time

As previously stated, many employers have zero qualms about taking advantage of workers. These employers regularly seek to pay workers as little as possible while also giving them as much work as possible. In many cases, the timelines in which employees are given to complete large workloads require them to devote significant portions of their personal time to these projects.

If your employer shows absolutely no regard for your personal time, inform the relevant parties that you have a life outside of work and that you don’t exist solely to serve their interests. Furthermore, request that the project deadlines you’re expected to work against not require you to sacrifice personal time.   

You Don’t Have the Right Degree

Continuing your education can have a substantial impact on job satisfaction levels. Completing an advanced degree program stands to increase your earning power and open doors that were once closed to you. For example, a masters of science in marketing degree can make you a highly sought-after commodity in a wide range of enterprises.

Few things are more soul-crushing than plugging away at a job for which you have no passion. In fairness, even under the best of circumstances, working can be a stressful experience. However, if you’re hopelessly unhappy in your current occupation, there’s no time like the present to start seeking out change.

There are myriad reasons for which people experience unhappiness and dissatisfaction in their professional lives, and identifying the causes of your career anxiety is essential to getting the situation under control and making yourself happier at work.