We all aim to be successful in our careers, but sadly it can be difficult to also find happiness at work. Working can be one of life’s most mundane tasks, providing a paycheck to improve our lives but often not much else. Even though you may spend 8 hours a day in the same office or cubicle, that doesn’t mean happiness should be doomed from the start. There are simple steps you can take and tips you can keep in mind to ensure that your career ultimately provides an environment that is inspiring, meaningful, and happy.
1. Know what makes you happy - Start by being aware of what activities bring you joy. This could include playing games during lunch with colleagues, taking morning walks around the block, or engaging in banter about current events for a few minutes with co-workers. Keeping in mind what delights you on a daily basis will help you notice the small opportunities that arise during a typical work day.
2. Build meaningful relationships - Carefully cultivating relationships with your co-workers can have a powerful impact on your overall job satisfaction. By getting to know those around you and watching out for them, you cultivate a bond and support system that can turn an ordinary job into a truly enjoyable experience. This could manifest itself as helping someone solve a programming bug or inviting someone out to lunch.
3. Find something to appreciate every day - Just like artwork in a museum rotates regularly to keep viewers engaged, frequently switch up the tasks and topics you focus on to find things to be grateful for at work. When you start to feel uninspired about a project, or overwhelmed because of too much to complete in too little time, consider what you have already achieved this week. Pro-actively changing your perspective from negative to positive can help keep depression and discouragement from seeping into job satisfaction.
4. Make room for growth - Many workplaces have development programs in place, but don't forget to add personal goals to create challenge and purpose while on the job. Whether this is learning a valuable new skill, beginning a volunteer program, or practicing public speaking, feeling comfortable to grow at the office ensures that your job won’t become stale after a period of time.
5. Prioritize activities that bring balance - Throughout your day, make sure to prioritize activities that you Also, try to find small moments of reprieve from the fast-paced environment by reading a book or offering yourself five minutes of music or video to unwind. This mental break can get you back in the groove of flow with whatever you were focusing on prior.
6. Leverage passion for job satisfaction - Think about how your passion fits into making you successful at work. Use it in resolving problems that you notice, finding solutions to difficult tasks, and asking creative questions. Often times companies provide new products or projects to challenge a person to push the boundaries of their craft, so it is important to reflect on how to use past experiences to enact change and propel the process of innovation.
7. Constantly communicate with employers - Scheduling time to communicate with employers or managers can help you refine your day to day workflow and show appreciation to those who provide opportunity. Keep the dialogue open through questions, such as “What have I accomplished today?”, “What should I focus on tomorrow?”, and “How could I have improved on that?”, as this will help prevent unnecessary disconnects from supervisors.
8. Plan ahead - Making logical plans for long-term achievement is important for job satisfaction. Being able to think about and prepare for outcomes of short-term goals can instill a sense of accomplishment once progress has been made. However, it is essential, then, to also plan for setbacks such as difficult conversations, milesones that don’t happen, or changes in the company culture.
9. Celebrate accomplishments - Counteracting the competitive atmosphere and occasional pressure that exist in many workplaces, carve out moments to reward yourself and rehearse the successes you have experienced. Don’t forget to celebrate others’ successes as well by publicly lauded positive attributes.
10. Know when to let go - It is known that feelings of burnout can occur due to a lack of tenacity, motivation, or over-stimulation. If managing the workload becomes overwhelmingly difficult, it may be necessary to part ways and seek a job that is a better fit. Alternatively, if reassessing commitments and trying to regain control of a chaotic schedule fail, a more drastic measure may have to be taken and time to move on considered.
Finding happiness in the workplace doesn’t happen overnight, and having a job that is completely perfect is practically impossible. But by following these tips, you can improve your overall outlook at work and feel less complacent with the daily grind. Remember, career fulfillment can be found even in the most dire of circumstances if you know how and where to look.
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