Happiness can often feel elusive, especially at work.

I was able to see first hand what it is like to work for a large corporation with poor workplace culture before setting out on my journey as an entrepreneur.

I was freshly out of college, thirsty for structure, guidance and feedback and instead, was met with a lack of communication and avoidance. The operation was not designed to allow for my contribution and unique skills. 

In fact, whenever I tried to be effective or creative, my manager would tell me to work slower and only do what what I was told because she did not want to have to keep up with reviewing my work. She made me feel ashamed of my desire to bring more of myself to work. Not only did I feel unhappy, I felt stifled.

Now, as an entrepreneur, I am highly cognizant of designing an operation that allows people to be themselves and contribute their unique gifts.

The reason you're not be happy at work may not be due to your industry or the nature of your job. Rather, it might be due to the company culture and work environment. Here are three potential red flags:

1. Your Work Superiors Shame Away Anything Outside of Staying Busy

If upper management is setting a tone in your company that in order to be valued you need to stay busy and not express your feelings, you will ultimately feel shame for any kind of individual happiness or joy you may want to bring into the workplace. 

Feeling shame for getting excited about a project, or better yet personal matters at home, creates a duality where you must put on a work face at work and another face at home. Carrying the burden of having to put on a show at work only leads to feeling shame about your other personality at home and vice versa. Keeping this up can be exhausting and leave you feeling like you don't like your career. 

You may actually love your work if you were able to bring more of yourself and your feelings to the workplace. Recognize the difference between your work and your work culture. 

2. Everyone On Your Team Uses Blame and Deflection

If you are working on a team where each individual blames the company or another team member for a lack of growth, follow through or productivity, you are working in a toxic team. 

Anytime there is a lack of individual ownership, a habit of blame and deflection is formed. This creates tension and stress for everyone on the team.

Recognize that the same company can be much more fulfilling if each individual takes ownership over their work flow, their productivity and most importantly their mistakes. Individual ownership allows for healthy collaboration and contribution without the fear of blame.

3. Your Company Keeps You Away from Authenticity

If you are working in company where you are lead to believe that you need to speak, dress, act and work in a specific fashion in order to achieve results, you may be spending most of your wake hours fighting against your true self. This can not only be exhausting, it's also counter productive. 

Successful work environments build a structure of trust and freedom, where each individual is allowed to bring to the team their unique attributes, opinions, gifts and creativity. Spending most of your waking hours being authentic is important to the quality of your life. If your company culture keeps you away from your uniqueness, it's time to find another company.

Ultimately, individual happiness is in your power. Blaming your work for your general unhappiness means you are practicing exactly what unhealthy work environments wants you to practice - blame, shame, deflection and avoidance of your unique gifts in this life. 

Published on: Aug 11, 2016