We all dream of earning a living in a way that fills us with fulfillment and passion; the type of career where your work is anything but “work” — rather it’s earning money for doing what you already enjoy and feel strongly about doing. To put it simply, you want to love your job!
Unfortunately, this is still a “dream,” not a reality, for the majority of Americans. A full 71 percent of Americans say they are “not engaged” or are “actively disengaged” from their work[i] … which is another way of saying that they’ve checked out emotionally and are probably not very productive … not to mention very happy or satisfied when they’re on the clock.
Highly educated, middle-aged employees were those who were least likely to be engaged. Perhaps you fall into this group, and have run into a rut of sorts where your work life is no longer satisfying. Perhaps you’re no where near this group — you’re a young twenty-something still searching for your spot in the career world or a single mom stuck with a “for now” job just to pay the bills.
It really doesn’t matter what place you’re at in your life … if you don’t already love your job, it’s a problem, and you deserve better.
How to Love Your Job
First, if it’s possible to seek a new place of employment that would make you happier, do it. This may mean thinking outside of the box, such as changing your career field or becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business. Often, this is the best choice to really love your job.
If, for whatever reason, you must stay with the job you have, the tactics that follow will help you to love … or at least like … or at the very least tolerate … your job more.
11. Get to Know Your Co-workers
The people you work with can make or break your job happiness. The more you feel part of the “team,” the better your sense of camaraderie will be and the more you’ll enjoy your time at work. Get to know your co-workers not only in a business sense but also look for commonalities your share outside of the office as well. Having a confidante and friend at work can be a lifesaver.
10. Go Back to School
An additional certification, degree or even continuing education credits can set you apart from the crowd and put you next in line for a promotion or high-profile assignment. Even taking a workshop or two can keep you in “the know” and help you get a fresh perspective on your career goals.
9. Stay Open-Minded
Perhaps your ideas of what your job should be are different than what they actually are. Try to adjust your mindset to be open to your job as it is, and stay flexible so you can adapt to changes in your company. Remaining overly rigid or close-minded will only make you unhappy and, likely, unpleasant to work with.
8. Express Your Ideas
If you come up with a great idea, let your manager or work team know. Not only will this foster your sense of autonomy, but it may help you get recognition, another essential factor to feeling satisfied with your work.
7. Change Your Schedule
If possible, adjust your work hours so you can work when you’re most productive or when it’s most convenient for you. Can you change from a night shift to a day shift? Work from home a couple of days a week? Extend your hours on some days to work a four-day week? More and more companies are realizing that flexible work hours make for happier employees, so inquire about this at your job.
6. Appreciate the Good Things
Most jobs do have some bright sides. Do you love the people you work with? Or if you don’t love the people, do you get to work with kids or animals, or clients that you find interesting? Does your job allow you to travel or have new experiences you wouldn’t get otherwise? Do you get health care benefits or a good pension? Try to embrace the positive aspects of your job and focus on those instead of dwelling on the negatives.
5. Realize That Your Job Doesn’t Define Who You Are
It’s easy to get caught up in stereotypes and labels, especially in the job world. But you are not your job, so don’t let an unhappy work life turn you into an unhappy person. On the contrary, you’ll find that you can influence your job quite a bit just by going in with a positive attitude — a “this job can’t bring me down” type of mentality — and then giving your job your all and making the most of your life outside of work.
4. Identify the Significance of Your Work
Every job, no matter how big or small, makes a difference in the world. Figure out what that difference is … are your influencing people’s lives? Helping to produce useful products? Providing a useful service? The more you realize that your work is significant, the more motivated and happy you are likely to feel.
3. Adjust Your Expectations
Perhaps it isn’t your dream job … but that doesn’t have to get you down. Perspective can make all the difference in your job satisfaction, so try viewing your work from a different one. Perhaps you don’t make as much money as you’d like … but remember that money isn’t everything. If you’re living comfortably, think about whether making more money is really going to make you happier …
2. Spruce Up Your Surroundings
You spend a lot of time at work, so if you’re in an office setting take some time to personalize your surroundings. Add family photos, wall art, flowers, inspirational quotes or decorations that motivate you to your workspace. Also important is being comfortable at work, so make sure you have a comfortable desk and desk chair, and that they are ergonomically correct to avoid unnecessary back and neck strain.
1. Free Yourself From Your Emotional Barriers
Emotional pain can easily sabotage your happiness on the job, but many people are completely unaware (or in denial) that this is occurring. Emotional pain can take the form of stress, guilt, sadness, fear, anger, feeling overwhelmed, really any negative emotion, and it may have a surprising source that you haven’t yet identified. Nonetheless, this becomes a drain on your emotional energy that can leave you frustrated with other areas of your life, like your career, unnecessarily.
If you’re not sure whether emotional barriers are involved in your unhappiness at work, take this 10-question test now. The test is completely free, and will reveal instantly how much emotional pain is sabotaging your goals and happiness.
Written By: Updated: August 23,2012