Let’s face it, not everybody loves their job… but if the thought of going to work has your stomach in knots – you know, every day – then it’s time to do something about it. The simple truth is that your dissatisfaction may have less to do with the job itself than it does with your attitude about it.
Whether you’re miserable professionally or just in need of a little shake up, you can benefit from making work feel more like play. Try this 5- step plan to be happier at work.
Giving your job your all may sound like the last thing that you want to do, but believe it or not, slacking off leads to decreased self-esteem as well as decreasing your value in the office. In other words, hating on your job may be making it feel even worse! Conversely, one of the quickest and best ways to improve work satisfaction is to be a productive and valuable employee – not only will it get you noticed, it will allow you to leave the office feeling a sense of accomplishment.
So, if you’re among the millions who have lost their personal investment in work, set your mind to getting it back. This way, even if you wind up leaving your job, you can do so with the satisfaction of having kicked butt at it – something you’ll take with you wherever you land next. Play the game and play it hard, this way you’ll never question if you’re a winner… because you’ll know you are.
2. Set daily goals
So it’s easy to spend the first hour of your morning websurfing… Or maybe it’s exactly the opposite and you’re super overwhelmed with everything you have piled up on your desk from the second you set down your keys. Whatever the case, make it a point to set daily goals. Why, you ask? It gets back to that sense of achievement… for everything you tick off your list each day, you’ll get a little boost – and up your competitive advantage.
Meanwhile, don’t be afraid to include small personal goals either (working out at lunch, taking a few minutes to research continuing education) – so long as they’re not forbidden at work or taking time away from tasks you’re expected to complete. By taking a few moments out to take care of yourself, you’ll be more invested in taking care of your work.
3. Set long-term goals
It’s hard to get where you’re going if you don’t know where exactly that is. While none of us knows precisely what to expect at any given time, it’s important to have an idea of where you’d like to be in say six months, a year, three years if you’re to have any hope of getting there – whether it’s in your current field or not. In other words, every game – including work – requires a strategy!
With that in mind, ask yourself some questions, set your goals and make a plan. Meanwhile, if you know that this job (and this day) are just steps toward getting somewhere you actually want to be, you’ll be a lot happier in the moment because you’ll be able to see (and keep track of) your progress.
4. Speak up
If you have a great idea – or, conversely, if something is troubling you – rather than keeping it to yourself, suffering in silence or gossiping amongst your colleagues, find a way to share your thoughts in a constructive fashion with someone who can make a difference. Same goes for if you have a request or suggestion. Expressing yourself not only takes the charge out of frustration, but makes you a contributor – whether what you’re sharing is positive or negative.
Be sure to do so with good intentions (in other words, being catty or gossiping doesn’t usually go over) and odds are, you’ll be respected, maybe even rewarded for active engagement. Everyone appreciates a team player – and by taking initiative you’re showing that you care about the team and can be a leader when called upon. Two things which should help you feel better about work and up your profile.
5. Get out there
No one gets further than a networker. Why? Because all business is people oriented and friendly, smiling faces are nicer to be around than quiet, grimacing ones. So, whether it’s in your current office environment, or in the industry in which you’d like to be working, figure out ways to get your name and face out there. Not only will you be happier in the present (another perk of proactivity), you’ll open yourself up to future opportunities. You may even want to find a mentor in your chosen field. People are flattered to be admired, and most of them are happy to share at least a little of their expertise to someone who is genuinely interested. Plus, networking is essentially socializing and what could be more like play than that?
Finally, if you’re doing everything you can to stay positive and engaged at work and your efforts are still getting you nowhere, know when to say when. Only you truly understand where your current job can take you, but if you’ve given it your all and you’re still not getting anywhere, look for opportunities to move on. Even in this economy, people get jobs every day!
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