AndWhen you are happy at work, you will be more productive. This is because you will enjoy what you’re doing, and you’ll want to do as much as you can to show that you like what you’re doing. If you weren’t happy, it’s much more likely that you would do just the bare minimum, be far less productive, and be miserable about going to work too.
Take a moment to think about this. Which category do you fall into? Are you energetic and productive, always happy to do more in your work, or are you unhappy and exhausted, always looking for ways to do less?
It’s crucial that you are happy at work. Remember, the amount of time you spend at work is roughly a third of your life. Sometimes it’s even more than that. If you’re not happy with the career you’ve chosen, then that means at least a third of your life will be unsatisfactory. Since work takes up so much of your mind, it’s likely that, if you don’t like what you’re doing, it’s not just the time you spend at work that will be upsetting; you’ll be thinking about it and worrying about it when you’re supposed to be enjoying time with your family and friends, or taking part in your hobbies, and so on.
With that in mind, here are some tips to help you be happy at work. Try to put as many into practice as you can and make changes where you see fit; at the end of the day, your happiness and positive mental health are what matter the most.
Table of Contents
Find A Career You Enjoy
It might seem obvious, but if you have a career you enjoy, you’re going to be happier than if you have a career you dislike. Of course, no one is happy at work one hundred percent of the time when they are working; there will be bad days and problems, and you’ll get tired and in need of a break. However, if you enjoy the work you do, these issues won’t seem quite so bad, and you’ll be more willing to do something about them (assuming something can be done). On the other hand, if you dislike your job, you’ll be less likely to want to solve these problems, making them build and build until they are too much to cope with.
To find a career you enjoy, you should think about your skills. What is it you’re particularly good at? What do you excel at in terms of your education and also in your day-to-day life? You could even think about what you enjoy doing in your spare time and see if that could be made into a career. If you can pinpoint what it is you’re good at or what you enjoy most, you can work backward from there and determine what it is you should be doing for a living. There might be a few different choices, which is exciting, but even if there is only one, at least you’ll know you’ll be happy doing it.
Find A Job That Gives You Time Outside Work
Sometimes a job is just that, a job. You might really enjoy it (and you should, as we’ve mentioned above), but it’s not something that you want to think about when you’re at home. This is, in fact, ideal. You should search for a job that gives you time outside work to be truly happy. This is called the work-life balance, and it’s essential for general happiness and good mental health.
When you have the right work-life balance, neither your career nor your personal life (whether that’s being with your children, enjoying time with your partner, going out with friends, or simply being by yourself doing something you enjoy) will suffer as a result. You will be able to have an enjoyable job that pays the bills, and you can have a life outside work doing things you like to do. As soon as one of these things starts to happen more than the other, you may need to stop and think so that you can readdress the balance.
The best thing to do in this regard is to understand how you want your life to be. If you want to be able to go home at a set time each day and have your evenings and weekends free, then a nine to five kind of job with set hours is best. If you want to have a little more variety, then perhaps something with shift work is ideal. What is going to work best for you?
Take Charge of Your Own Professional and Personal Development
If you’re not entirely happy with your job and you want to do more, and you want to find something that will suit you better, or you feel that gaining promotion and being a leader rather than a follower would be best for you, then it’s time to take charge of your development. This is something you can easily take in hand when it comes to your work because, thanks to modern technology, it’s now possible to study for additional qualifications and degrees online. This means that you can look at accelerated nursing programs, for example, which will allow you to reach the next level of your career.
Since online learning is so accessible, you can choose to further your career (and, by extension, your personal development) by opting for an online degree or qualification. Sometimes, no matter how much you like your job, the fact that you can’t be in control is worrying, and this in itself can make you unhappy. With this in mind, this ability to be in charge and do what you want to do can make all the difference. Even if you don’t intend to take up a promotion, or you want to wait to gain more experience, the fact that you’ve taken steps forward is crucial.
Take Responsibility for Knowing What Is Happening at Work
Something that can often spark unhappiness at work is not knowing what is going on. If employees are missing key pieces of information – or they simply think they are – this can easily lead to feeling undervalued, and that sparks a great deal of upset and dissatisfaction. However, if you do feel like this and you are just waiting for someone to finally tell you everything that’s happening, you might have a long wait; everyone has their own work to do, and spending time filling you in on something you may or may not be aware of is probably not going to be at the top of anyone’s list of priorities.
Rather than waiting for the information to come to you, you should go out and find it. To find out what’s happening in your place of work in general, or with a specific colleague or project, for example, you will need to ask. So proactively look for the information you need, and this will help you – you’ll find out what you need to know.
Not only will it give you the information you’re looking for but asking and looking for the answers will also show you in a good light to your employer. It shows you are interested in what’s happening in the company or workplace, and it shows you have the initiative to ask around to get the information you want. This would certainly hold some sway if you wanted to progress within your career, as proactive working and more in-depth thinking are things that any employer will be looking for.
Ask For Feedback
No matter whether you’re entirely happy in your work or you are beginning to think that you might want to start looking for something new, asking for feedback is going to be helpful. You’ll find you either receive positive news and that will make you happier and more productive, or you’ll receive constructive criticism (if the criticism is not constructive, then this is a different matter and points towards a bad manager; in this case, a new job might be the very best option) which will allow you to assess any weaknesses and work towards making them stronger. Once you do this, work will be easier, and you will be happier.
If you never receive any feedback on your work, it’s easy to see how you would feel undervalued and unhappy. You would never know if you’re doing the right thing, and you’ll never know what you could do to improve.
Although in some workplaces annual or even monthly work reviews are the norm, and this is where you will find out more about your career and how you’re doing at work, in other areas, this is not something that is practiced regularly. In this case, you’ll need to make an appointment with your manager and set some time aside to talk to them about how you’re doing and where they feel your strengths and weaknesses lie.
It’s not always easy to listen to feedback about how you’re doing at work, especially if you’re already starting to feel somewhat dissatisfied with your work, but it’s something that will help you greatly, and it will also ensure that you think carefully about whether you’re in the right career or not. Sometimes it’s this lack of communication that can spark a desire to look elsewhere, and if that’s the case, you’ll need to make sure that wherever you do go to, feedback is offered there – it’s a good question to ask in an interview you might need to go for.
Only Make Commitments You Can Keep
Although there are many reasons why you might be unhappy in your work, from simply not enjoying the job you have to do to not liking the people you are working with or finding the commute to the office or workplace is just too long and complicated, one of the biggest issues is taking on too much work and never feeling as though you ever get anything done to a high enough standard as a result.
This can happen all too easily. When a manager or supervisor – or even a work colleague – asks you to do something, many people will say yes before they actually think about whether or not that additional job will work for them or whether it will actually be too much. Sometimes, we reach full capacity, either mentally or physically, and by taking on any more work just because we are asked, everything suffers. Not just the work we were already doing, but the extra work and our home life too.
Before saying yes, think about what the extra work would mean. Would you have to stay late? Would you have to put another project on hold? And, Would you feel unhappy because you haven’t been trained? Sometimes you will have to say no. This will be hard, but it’s a crucial skill to learn since it means that you’ll be much happier, your work will be completed to a higher standard, and your work-life balance won’t be disrupted.
Of course, sometimes the work you’re being asked to do is part of your job, and in that case, there is clearly a problem. Either you dislike your job so much you are unable or unwilling to do the work required of you, or the job is just not possible to do in the limited time you have to do it. If either of these scenarios are true, the best thing to do would be to search for another job. Sometimes managers have unrealistic expectations of what a job entails, and they will ask you to do things that they themselves wouldn’t be able to do in your position.
To ensure your happiness and mental wellbeing, sometimes a change of job and working environment is crucial.