A few simple ideas to increase your level of happiness at any job
- Count Your Blessings
When your job’s got you down, it can be difficult to find a silver lining, but the effort will be well worth it. Instead of focusing on the endless negatives at work, take a moment to list the top 5 favorite aspects of your job, no matter how large or small. Reminding yourself of “the good stuff” will act as an instant mood boost, and can create a much-needed shift in perspective. Perhaps a drawn-out project finally ended, an impossibly demanding client sent you positive feedback, a new assignment forced you to learn a new skill, or a menial data-entry task gave you a breather from talking to people… Every challenge can be a blessing in disguise, if you let it. Acknowledging the good in your workplace will give you the energy to tackle the not-so-good. If you’re skeptical, give it a shot anyway.
- Play Devil’s Advocate
You can’t completely ignore the most unpleasant aspects of your job hoping they’ll disappear on their own. If you ever feel stuck, and you think there are no viable solutions in sight, try the following mental exercise: make a list of the major challenges of your job, and then pretend a coworker came to you with the same list asking for your advice. What would you tell them? Now go ahead and put some of that wisdom to the test yourself. You may not be able to cross everything off the list right away, but you’ll surprise yourself by how much you can accomplish if you address the pesky work issues head on.
- If You See Something, Do Something
Often, a work grievance continues to persist as a problem because, with the exception of complaining about it, no one does anything concrete to improve the status quo. If you enjoy discomfort, let the problem persevere. Otherwise, take stock of the issue and bring it up to management – but make sure you come up with a plausible solution first. Doing so will make you appear proactive and responsible in the eyes of your boss. Being proactive will, in turn, increase your sense of agency and self-worth. Ultimately, your proposed solution may not be accepted or implemented, so do remain open-minded. But your general initiative to enhance the workplace will be appreciated, and it will be considered the next time a promotion’s at stake.
- Recognize Others
If you’re stuck in a rut at work, consider focusing on others for a change. By recognizing your colleagues for their contributions and talents, and praising them — privately or publicly — for a job well done, you’ll be doing yourself a service, too. You’ll be perceived in the workplace as someone who is perceptive, benevolent and a key team player. You’ll make someone’s day, and you’ll feel better about it, too. Plus, there’s always the karma boomerang to consider.
- Accept Reality
If all else fails, accept that sometimes a job is just a job. Some folks are workaholics, addicted to long hours at the office, deeply passionate about everything they do; they simply live to work. But plenty of people work to live, earning money to pay the bills at jobs they don’t necessarily love to be able to enjoy their free time any way they like – and that’s okay. If you don’t enjoy your job, you can attempt a long-term shift in mindset and tough it out until retirement; or you can take the necessary steps to seek a different job. The only person who gets to decide the next step… is you.