The Unhappy Work Epidemic: Why So Many People Are Unhappy at Work and What to Do About It By Vicki Morris

Author and business coach Vicki Morris has written an exclusive article for me to share with my readers today.

Vicki has just released her second book, “InspiredWork:Create Work You Love in 8 weeks”. Vicki discusses why so many people are unhappy with their jobs and careers, and she offers some great career-change advice. Take it away, Vicki!


If you’re like me – and like 80% of the workforce, according to Deloitte – at one point or another, you’ve probably felt unhappy at work. Perhaps you’re feeling that way right now. Whether you feel as if you’re stuck in a dead-end job, or you’re doing well in your career but feel that there’s no real meaning in your work, you are not alone.

In fact, in my latest book InspiredWork, I call attention to some eye-opening statistics, which I’ll share with you here:

  • 90% of employees in a Monster survey are currently considering making a career change, and nearly half of those professionals (49%) want to change directions with their careers entirely.
  • Most professionals switch jobs every 4.6 years on average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Gallup research showed employee engagement to hover around a depressing 32%. That means that less than one-third of the U.S. workforce is engaged. Gallup bases engagement on employees’ commitment towards and enthusiasm for their work.

The sad reality is that most employees are indeed unhappy with their current work situation. I call this “the unhappy work epidemic,” because it’s something that is plaguing an overwhelming majority of the workforce and it’s been a chronic issue for many years. Plus, the recent InspiredWork Quiz results confirmed that career unhappiness is at an all-time high with 84% of people reporting to be less than happy at their current or most recent job. So, the issue doesn’t seem to be getting any better and it may even be getting worse.

Why Are We so Unhappy?

Based on my experience with InspiredWork and interacting with 50,000 professionals worldwide, there are three main reasons why people are so unhappy at work. First, many people don’t enjoy what they are doing. They are only earning a paycheck. It may be because they are the main breadwinner or the only breadwinner. But, they settled for the work they could get. They don’t find their work to be meaningful and they don’t feel they are leaning and growing. Second, many people don’t enjoy who they are working for or with or they somehow don’t feel connected to their employer’s culture and values. The third main reason why people are so unhappy is because they don’t feel their job is secure or they are under-employed in some way such as being out-of-work or only able to get temporary consulting assignments.

What to Do about It

There are several keys to creating lasting career happiness. First, realize that no job or anything outside you will make you happy. In fact, most people who change jobs are just as unhappy after 6-12 months. If you’ve read Happy Habits, you know that you have the power to choose to be happy now and that one of the fastest ways to shift to a more positive mindset is to change habits you do on autopilot each day. By bringing intention and gratitude to your daily routine and filling each day with small, meaningful habits, you can be happier no matter what your work situation.

If you are unemployed, raising your energy BEFORE you look for a new job or start your own business will help you see and attract better opportunities. And if you are employed, you can see if changing your mindset has made you any happier with your current job. If you find that despite these efforts, your career is still unfulfilling because it doesn’t align with your passions and purpose, I encourage you to do a career assessment such as the InspiredWork Quizzes and select a career transformation path that is right for you. 

Know Where You Are At Currently

The FREE InspiredWork Quizzes are a great way to do a quick and easy career happiness checkup so you can find out exactly where you stand now. They quizzes are designed to help you gauge not only how unhappy/uninspired you are at work, but also determine the biggest obstacle(s) to your personal career happiness. The first quiz called the InspiredWork Career Happiness Quiz will give you your career official happiness score and help you understand whether you are in the Green, Yellow, Orange, or Red career happiness zone. This rating will help you determine whether you’re truly uninspired in your current career, or whether new habits could be implemented to make your existing work more fulfilling.

The second quiz called the InspiredWork Obstacle Quiz will help you understand what is causing your unhappiness. If it is a boss or company culture that is the issue, you may need to change jobs. If it is the type of role and industry you are in, then you most likely need to change careers. If you don’t want to work for anyone else any more, then the best way to be happier is to start your own business. Once you have this information, you will be able to make an informed decision about the best career path for you – one that will address the root cause of your current career unhappiness.

The Solution: Taking Action to Create Your Own Inspired Work

Determining which career transformation path is right for you is only one step in the journey towards creating more fulfilling work, but it’s an important one. Once you know which path is right, I encourage you to adopt the 8-week InspiredWork System to help you find a job, change careers or start your own business.

The InspiredWork System is included in both the InspiredWork book and the companion InspiredWork Workbook. The InspiredWork System is a proven, inside-out approach to creating inspired work. Unlike other career guides, InspiredWork includes a combination of recommended inner work (e.g., creating an InspiredWork vision that is heart-centered, reprogramming your conscious and subconscious mind for success and raising your energy daily) and outer work (e.g., creating an authentic personal and/or business brand, establishing a personalized career plan, and implementing a marketing campaign to achieve your career goal). The inside-out combination is very effective because it helps each reader to discover what inspired work means to him or her personally and it provides practical actions he or she can take to transform his or her career in only 8 weeks.

Becoming an Inspired Professional

Even after you’ve started a new business or found a more inspiring job or career that helps you fulfill your greatest purpose, you’ll still need to check in regularly with yourself to ensure that you’re inspired and happy at work. I invite you to revisit the InspiredWork Quiz at any point in your career. Ideally, you can do the InspiredWork as your annual career checkup to ensure your career happiness is on track.

The beauty of the InspiredWork System and Quizzes is that they are tools which can be used for professionals at any point throughout their working lives, and once you’ve used them, you’ll become even more familiar with their powerful capabilities to help you return meaning and purpose to your work.

This article was written by Vicki Morris who is the Career Happiness Coach, founder of InspiredWork and author of the transformational career guides InspiredWork: Create Work You Love in 8 Weeks and the InspiredWork Workbook as well as the Inc. Best 100 Business book Happy Habits.  Vicki offers 25 years of experience as a high tech business leader, entrepreneur, and career happiness mentor. Vicki launched InspiredWork to help professionals create their own inspired work so they can be happy at work and love their life.


About Robert Germaux

Both my parents were readers. I'm talking stacks-of-books-on-their-nightstands readers. So it's no surprise that an early age, I, too, became an avid reader. Everything from sports books (especially baseball) to Nancy Drew to the Hardy Boys to almost anything about distant and exotic places. And although I've always enjoyed putting words on paper, the writer in me didn't fully emerge until I retired after three decades of teaching high school English. I quickly wrote two books aimed at middle school readers, at which point my wife urged me to try a novel for adults. As is usually the case, Cynthia's idea was a good one. Over the next few years, I wrote several books about Pittsburgh private eye Jeremy Barnes, including "Hard Court" and the recently released "In the Eye." I also wrote "Small Talk" and "One by One," both featuring Pittsburgh police detective Daniel Hayes. Along the way, I took a brief hiatus from the detective genre to write "The Backup Husband," the plot line of which came to me one day when I was playing the What-if game. On that particular day, the question that occurred to me was, What if a woman suddenly realized she might be in love with two wonderful men? I also tried my hand at writing humorous essays, which resulted in "Grammar Sex (and other stuff)" and its sequel, "More Grammar Sex." Coming soon is "Small Bytes," the first Jeremy Barnes novel, to be followed by two other JB mysteries, "Leaving the LAW" and "Speak Softly." In our spare time, Cynthia and I enjoy reading (of course), seeing Broadway plays and musicals, watching reruns of our favorite TV shows, such as "Sports Night" and "The Gilmore Girls," and traveling to some of those distant and exotic places I used to read about as a child. So far, we've been fortunate enough to walk in the sands of Waikiki, swim in the warm waters of the South Pacific and enjoy a romantic dinner in Paris. I love interacting with my readers and getting their input on my stories and characters. Please feel free to contact me at
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