Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every person loved their job, and each one of us wanted to go to work each day? Unfortunately, for many people, there are sometimes days that they would rather do anything than get up and get ready for work. For others, every day is a challenge. Although you may not enjoy your job all the time, there are ways to increase your chance of being happy overall.
According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders report, 70 percent of U.S. workers are “not engaged” or are “actively disengaged” at work, and are therefore less likely to be productive employees. Although encouraging bosses can help decrease disengagement, according to the study, you can also take some steps yourself to become happier at work, which will hopefully help you to be more engaged as well.
1. Know what you are working for
According to Gallup’s report, only 41 percent of employees felt that they knew what made their company’s brand different from other competitors, or what their company stood for. Part of your job is to know what you sell (or what you make, or what you analyze, depending on what your job duties include). Whatever your specific job is, make it your priority to understand why you do what you do. Determine why the product you sell, or why the service your company offers, matters. If you want to, you can talk to your boss to determine what your company stands for. If you have a company website, you can also probably find out more information. Few people have the advantage of working for a company that has a mission they fully support, but every company has a purpose.
2. Do something you love
As previously stated, not everyone can have a job that they completely love or support. If possible, your best bet is to find a job that allows you to practice something you love. This may mean trying a new field, but if you feel like you are stuck in your specific job, you can still find a way to bring out the aspects you enjoy. If you really like giving presentations, ask your boss if you can take on more responsibility in that area (or another area you care about). Most people have to complete tasks that they don’t like, but if you have a part of your job that you really love, it can help you be happier in your job over all. Even if you can’t find a single thing about your job that you like, you can always take on a second job (you might want to start with just a few hours per week) that allows you to pursue something you care about.
3. Have hobbies
Sometimes we get so busy with our work lives, that we forget to fit in hobbies and interests that we have outside of work. It’s crucial to have a fair work-life balance, but it can be difficult because so many of us have work cell phones, or are expected to log on to your computers even after we get home. It can help to schedule time that is specifically designated for friends, family, or hobbies that you enjoy. If possible, turn off your work phone for an hour or two so that you can really engage with other people. If you do so regularly, you will have more energy for work, and be happier overall.
4. Be positive
It sounds pretty obvious, but you are the one who controls how you react to specific situations and daily routines. If you choose to be happy, and have an optimistic attitude, your work life will improve. You can’t change the aspects of your job that you don’t like, and you can’t completely avoid the people you don’t like at work either. However, you can take steps to be happier at work.
If you have a problem at work, try to handle it quickly and as professionally as possible, instead of doing nothing and stewing over it each day. Avoid gossiping with your coworkers, which can be fun at the time but usually leaves the participants feeling bad after. If you have a hard time getting along with your coworkers, try to find a way to connect with them (through shared hobbies, for example.) They don’t have to be your best friends outside of work, but you need to be able to interact with them positively while you are at work.
5. Work harder
If you are already stressed at work, and possibly, you hate your job because you work so many hours, the idea of working harder might seem ridiculous. However, if you hate your job enough to want to leave, you should do as much as possible to move towards your goal. Setting goals and then working towards them will give you a purpose at work, which should make you happier in general. You don’t have to work more hours, but instead, focus on advancement. If you want to move up, take courses or attend conferences that will help you do so. If you want to try a different field, develop the necessary skills. Keep your goals in mind, and your purpose for being at your job will help you be happier about having to be there.
There are many other ways to be happy at work. If you have to, take a moment to calm down when you are truly upset or overwhelmed (just don’t do it for too long or often enough to harm your job.) Appreciate your coworker’s abilities, and congratulate yourself and even celebrate when you make a difference in a project. No one can be happy all the time (there are some people who have a more upbeat personality, of course). Still, even if you can’t be constantly happy, and even if you hate your job, you can still take steps to be happy at work.