Catherine's Career Corner
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February 1st, 2009
10 Ways to Stay Happy at Work

How often do you feel miserable or have Sunday evening blues?

Every now and again, or every week without fail? If it’s the latter, maybe you should start thinking about moving on…mind you, a lot of preparation is needed to set the wheel turning. But lots of people find themselves in the situation where they’re not ready to move jobs just yet – perhaps because they’ve only been in the role a short time, or because they want to gain more experience. So if you find yourself in the situation where you’re in a job that is ok (ish) but not brilliant, or that you really need to see through for a period of time, what can you do to make it more interesting and – dare I say it – more fun?

Here are some suggestions:  

1.   Positive Thinking

Whatever you do in life, this is important and it is a great attribute to have. When the going gets tough, you need to find a way to be positive. Try hard and focus on the positives – what do you really like about your job – come on; there must be at least something? How could you productively incorporate more of that into your working day? Remind yourself of the other positive aspects of your work – your friends and colleagues, for instance.

2.   Challenge Yourself

Find new challenges to get you going. Don’t moan, take control of the situation. Invest your energy into helping your situation. One of the reasons that we can get restless in our job is, quite simply, pure boredom or a sense of isolation. Think about ways in which you could make your role more interesting. Perhaps you could venture outside your immediate department to get involved in other initiatives. Volunteer to mentor a new staff, or spend some time every week shadowing people in other departments to get a broader perspective on the business? Be brave and discuss your ideas with your line manager.

3.   Flexible Working

Are you a reliable member of staff and is there scope for you to work more flexibly? Working from home one day a week, five days in a month for example, could give you more variety. This is not an excuse to get up late and lie around watching daytime TV, going to the pub or vegetating though – you’ll need to be able to show some output for your time away from the office! Again, discuss the options with your manager.

4.   Learn More

Try and develop yourself. If you feel you’re not being stimulated enough mentally, consider doing some training or a course that is work-related: it will give you new insights, help to keep you fresh, and will be a useful addition to your CV when you are ready to move on.

5.   Network

Stand up, walk around your building and network more. If meeting new people is not already part of your role, find ways to incorporate it into your role. Attend work organised seminars or forums. Meeting people and getting fresh perspectives can help you to keep yourself interested and interesting. If there don’t seem to be many networking opportunities where you are, create some! Organise a pub quiz or a team outing, or arrange for you and your colleagues to meet up with staff from another part of the company.

6.   Have Some Fun

Get things done and inject a bit of fun into your workplace. That could be as simple as having 15 minutes coffee time on a Monday morning – ask your manager and get your team to agree to forfeit 15 minutes of their lunch time in the week  or organise a team drink on Friday afternoon. Or you could make it a more structured social event. Your work colleagues don’t have to be your bosom buddies, but you’ll enjoy your working day much more if there’s a bit of banter and humour around the office. Just because your work is a serious business doesn’t mean you can’t have a bit of fun while you do it! In fact, employees are more productive when they are having fun at work.

7.   Improve Your Social Life

Make an effort to do more interesting things outside of work. If your working week consists of getting up in the morning, going to work, coming home, having dinner, wearing your PJ and slumping in front of the TV watching a recorded talk show and then going to bed, your job is going to have a disproportionate impact on your overall mood. Try to fit a couple of social engagements into your week – a dancing class, dog walking trip, movies or, perhaps, just a catch-up with friends you haven’t seen for a while. Having something to look forward to during the week will help to make it more bearable.

8.   Prioritise Your Workload

If you find that your problem is you are working such long hours that you don’t have time to have fun outside work, let alone in the office, you need to tackle this. Get used to prioritising your workload – negotiate extensions to deadlines if necessary – and make yourself leave the office on time at least 3 nights a week. Most of us have periods when we’re extra-busy and end up working long hours, but if this is happening to you routinely, you need to get out of that rut.

9.   Move On

If, despite trying all the things above, you’re still not enjoying your job most of the time, then perhaps it is time to think about moving on to another job.

10.  Just do it

If you are very good at procrastination, then think of the line written on the NIKE brand and just take positive actions to make your stay at work interesting. Life is too short to spend in a job that makes you miserable!

Please feel free to share other tips with us.


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Founder, Catherine's Career Corner. The career site empowering and inspiring ambitious candidates of all ages and professions to thrive and work smarter on their careers. Gladly helping all career-minded people worldwide to explore their career, manage change and understand how new technologies are changing and enhancing the future of work.

One thought on “10 Ways to Stay Happy at Work

  1. I absolutely love this blog and totally agree. It honestly does work, I have a to do list every day and ensure that there are at least 3 things on this to do list everyday that I have never done before to ensure I have a new challenge every day no matter how small it is.

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