Wouldn’t life be sweeter (or at least easier) if you truly loved your job? Unfortunately, the reality is that most people are unhappy at work—52.3 percent of us to be precise, according to a report by the Conference Board, which was discussed in a Forbes article a couple of summers ago. Luckily, there are some things you can do to improve the way you feel about heading into work every day.
- Put your job in its place.
It’s difficult to know exactly how much Americans are working these days, especially when you take into account things like checking work email during off-hours, but one thing is for sure—Americans work harder than almost anyone. But, that doesn’t mean that working your life away is the best path to happiness.
Just as absence makes the heart grow fonder in relationships, the same can be said with our love affair with our jobs. We need time off.
In order to truly love your job—and be more productive—it helps to be well-rested, and to take time away. So, if you want to enjoy your job more, a good first step is to make sure that you’re finding a nice balance between work and personal time.
- Believe in what you do.
Another key to finding deeper happiness and engagement at work is to find meaning in what you do. David Brooks, a columnist with The New York Times, and Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, say that loving your job has less to do with how much money you make, or how much training or education you received in advance, than it does whether or not you’re able to identify a higher purpose in the work you do every day.
“The happiest people feel like they’re needed,” David Brooks told The Atlantic. “The greatest engine of misery in our society is a sense of social and economic superfluousness.”
- Know that you’re in control (at least, mostly…)
Another determinate of a person’s overall happiness relates to something called the locus of control. The big idea here is that the way you see the world, and the range of your influence upon it, impacts how happy you are.
Some have an external locus of control. These folks believe that much of their life is controlled by others. They talk about events in their lives as if they happened to them rather than being caused by them. On the other hand, other folks have developed what’s called an internal locus of control. These people believe that they, at least mostly, determine what happens in their lives, and they ultimately tend to be happier than the other group.
Knowing that you are in control of your own life, at least for the most part, could help you find deeper contentment with your work and your professional life in general.
Sometimes it’s important to make a change in order to refresh your relationship with your work, especially after years and years of doing the same job. Identify aspects of your job that don’t feel right, even if they once did, and do something to try to address these issues. Talk with your manager about changing some of your responsibilities, clients, travel schedule, etc.
It’s important to keep your work fresh in order to continue to love what you do, so change things up from time to time. Even just reorganizing your office could help usher in that shift you’re looking for.
Tell Us What You Think
How do you feel about your job? What do you think might help you love it more? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.