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4 Common Sources of Job Frustration -- and How to Cope With Them

By Maurie Backman - Feb 13, 2018 at 8:03AM

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Do any of these apply to you?

Though no job is perfect, there comes a point when all of the negative feelings about one can really come to a head. In fact, more than half of Americans identify as being unhappy at work, and a lot of that boils down to certain frustrations that are pretty much universal in the corporate world. If you've been down on your job lately, here's how to get past some of the aggravation sources you might be dealing with.

1. Being micromanaged

Dealing with a micromanaging boss is never fun, especially if that person not only annoys you, but actually causes you to waste valuable time by constantly butting in and demanding updates on the work you're doing. If you have the misfortune of reporting to a micromanager, your best bet is to figure out why your boss is constantly at your back. Is it a function of his or her personality, or is it something you did?

Woman putting her head down at her desk


For example, if you recently missed a major deadline, you might see why your boss would go overboard checking on the status of the things you're currently working on. Once you determine what's dictating your manager's behavior, you can attempt to address it, whether by reassuring your manager that you're on top of things or being more proactive in your outgoing communication.

2. Having a packed meeting schedule

Most workers today aren't strangers to meetings, particularly those at the management level. But if you find that those meetings are eating up a huge chunk of your day, they can quickly become a source of stress. A better bet? Be more judicious in the meeting invites you accept. Before you agree to attend a meeting, review its agenda and make sure your presence is truly required. If you can free up even an hour or two of time per week by saying no here and there, it'll make a difference in your workload.

Along these lines, schedule meetings strategically so they're not completely interfering with your work. For example, it often pays to arrange your meetings back to back rather than scatter them throughout the day. This way, you'll get through them and still have a solid number of uninterrupted hours to work with.

3. Your constant barrage of emails

The typical employee today spends about one-third of his or her working hours answering email. Now if you happen to have a light workload, that may not be problematic. But if you have better things to do, which is likely the case, then those emails can quickly grow to be a major burden.

The solution? Carve out a chunk of time each day to respond to emails, and ignore them otherwise. This way, you'll be less likely to get distracted while working on important tasks. Furthermore, having a set amount of time to address messages might enable you to vet them more properly. Chances are, you don't actually need to answer every message that comes your way, and if you take a few minutes to sort out the fluff, you'll avoid sinking time into needless replies.

4. Too much work and too little time

Having a relatively full plate at work can be a good thing, as it shows that you're clearly needed. On the other hand, it can pose a challenge from a time management perspective, especially if you're constantly stressing out to meet deadlines. If you're feeling overwhelmed by your workload, your best bet is to set priorities and arrange your schedule around them, if possible. This is something you can do on either a weekly or daily basis, depending on which works best for you. Knowing what items you really need to tackle will help you stay focused and avoid getting sidetracked by minor tasks that can wait.

We all go through bouts of frustration at work, but if you're looking to improve your experience at the office, it pays to address those issues at the source rather than let them fester. Follow these tips, and with any luck, you'll soon come to be more content and less disgruntled.

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