Why you’re losing motivation at work

Losing motivation at work but don’t know why? 

Read below to see if one of these reasons for losing motivation at work resonates with you.

Job dissatisfaction by the numbers

Office Space is a cult hit for a reason: a lot of us are unhappy with our jobs. According to the Pew Research Center, about 49% of American workers were “very satisfied” with their jobs in 2016. Of the remainder, approximately 30% said they were “somewhat satisfied”, 9% were “somewhat dissatisfied” and 6% were very dissatisfied.

However, when you break down the job satisfaction rates by household income, a very different picture emerges. In households that make $75,000 or more per year, job satisfaction is at 59% while in households with income below $30,000 annually, only 39% were satisfied.

And that brings us to the first reason you may be dissatisfied with your job: money.


One of the top reasons workers cite when leaving their current job is compensation. In a recent study by the Society for Human Resource Management, researchers asked workers what factors were important for their job satisfaction overall, as well as their satisfaction with each of those factors individually.

Unsurprisingly, the largest gap between importance and satisfaction appeared in compensation. While 61% of workers surveyed named compensation as “very important”, only 26% reported they were “very satisfied” with their current overall pay.

Your satisfaction with your paycheck isn’t just determined by the raw numbers – it depends a lot on your perception of equity between the work you do and your overall compensation including PTO, retirement benefits, paid family leave and more. Also, if you are being asked to do the work of several people but only being paid for one position, you could quickly find yourself burnt out.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Am I being fairly compensated for the time I spend working both in and out of the office?
  • Is putting in my full effort on the job worth the compensation I receive?


Another obvious reason you may be losing motivation at work is simple boredom. Research from the Gallup Organization shows that “55 percent of all U.S. employees are not engaged at work.”

However, the reason for your boredom at work may not be as obvious as the boredom itself. Here are a few of the problems that may be making you feel bored at work:

A lack of fulfillment

If you don’t feel connected with your work, it might be due to a mismatch between your current job and your skills, values or motivations. Feeling like your job doesn’t matter, or that you are stuck in a job that doesn’t align with your personal goals or values, can very quickly lead to apathy.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Am I feeling inspired, useful, respected and growing? This mapping tool from the VP of product design at Facebook can help you answer these questions.

No room to grow

Feeling like you don’t have room to grow in your current job, whether that growth is through compensation, responsibility or education opportunities, is a surefire recipe for boredom. Not being able to advance in your career is frustrating for employers and can lead to a lot of turnover.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Could I step into the role of the person directly above me? If not, why?
  • Does my employer offer opportunities for continued education and training?
  • Am I overqualified for the work I’m currently being asked to do?

Interpersonal issues

Workplace conflict between you and your boss, or your coworkers, can be a huge source of stress. A study by The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that 25% of workers name their job as the number one source of stress in their lives. And in ComPsych’s 2017 StressPulse survey, issues with people were cited as one of the top reasons for work stress.

Horrible boss

Dysfunctional leadership is another reason you could find yourself dreading each workday. Bad bosses aren’t just a movie trope. In fact, 75% of workers say their biggest source of stress at work is their immediate boss. There are many types of terrible managers, and each kind of horrible boss can kill your motivation at work in a different way.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Does your boss take credit for your accomplishments, or micromanage, leading you to not want to even try?
  • Is your boss constantly unavailable, meaning you have no feedback on your work?
  • Does your manager constantly critique you, without offering ways to improve?
  • Is your boss unorganized, have a chaotic personal life or just not seem able to keep track of things? If so, does this keep projects from being completed?

Coworker conflict

For many people, difficult coworkers are a fact of life. Whether you’re dealing with passive-aggressive behavior, aggressive competition, laziness or a lack of team work, conflicts with coworkers can be seriously demotivating.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Is conflict with my coworkers keeping me from performing to my best ability?
  • Is team dysfunction leading me to doing more work and causing burnout?
  • Am I contributing to a toxic team dynamic by being unmotivated?

Organizational woes

A poorly run business often goes beyond your immediate boss. If a company’s culture and operations are out of sync with your goals and working style, you’re in trouble. Company culture issues can have a huge impact on whether or not you’re motivated to do your best at work.

Too many rules and processes

As adults in the working world, we don’t want to feel like we’re back in high school having to ask for the hall pass to use the restroom. A company that has a rule and process for everything can feel more like a prison than a workplace.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Am I being treated like a human being or a robot?
  • Are there rules I’m expected to follow that make more sense for a kindergartner than a professional?
  • Is management trusting me to use my skills and judgement? If not, how does that make me feel?

Sense of impending doom

Whether it’s constantly feeling like you might be fired, or that the company will soon be shutting its doors, if you feel like your work world might come crashing down around your ears it’s difficult to do your best work.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Is the threat of being fired being used to try and get me to work harder?
  • Am I in a dying industry with few career prospects?
  • Is my current employer about to bite the dust?

Figuring out the source of your lack of motivation is the first step to solving it and getting more engaged at work. If you’d like to learn more about workplace motivation, check out our upcoming YP Nashville Leadership Series event - Beating Burnout: How to Get Motivated at Work.

If you think that it might be time to switch jobs, you can find check out our Job Board or submit your resumé to our Resumé Bank which is only available to Chamber members.

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