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5 Ways to Be Happy at Work, Starting Today

Topics: Career Advice
happy at work
Volkan Olmez/Unsplash

Nearly three-quarters of workers are looking for a new job, according to a recent report. If you’re one of them, ambition probably isn’t the only reason you’re contemplating a change: the same research found that only 22 percent of workers feel that employees at their company are paid what they’re worth, and 77 percent said that some employees were unfairly recognized, while more skilled and experienced workers went unrecognized.

In other words, if you’re less than happy at work, you’re in good company. While a new job may (or may not) fix the problem, you probably can’t quit immediately after realizing that your motivation is at an all-time low. But there are things you can do to be happier today, even if you can’t quit your job and move on to something else:

1. Make a plan.

What’s your next career move? If you don’t know, now’s a good time to figure it out. Making some plans will give you a sense of purpose, as well as potentially creating an escape hatch once you figure out where you want to go. There’s no better time to upskill yourself than the present.

2. Work on your relationships.

The working world is full of bad bosses and oddball coworkers, but most difficult working relationships are far from hopeless cases. Unless you’re dealing with an outright bully, there’s probably something you can do to improve the situation, whether it’s making the effort to keep your colleagues informed about your projects or learning how to communicate in a way that they can better hear. The situation might not be your fault, but you can still help improve it.

3. Cultivate autonomy.

More autonomy leads to higher job satisfaction, which only makes sense — who wouldn’t feel better, having more control over their work?

If you currently don’t have much control over your workday, look for opportunities to change that. Is there a project you can work on that would allow you to exercise greater autonomy? Volunteering to do more might sound like a counterintuitive way to carve out some space at work, but you never know where it might lead. In the meantime, working more independently could boost your spirits.

4. Think positive.

When you’re burned out or bored at work, it’s easy to get in the habit of looking at the glass as half empty. But looking for the positive in situations can improve your perception of your experience, leading to better outcomes and happier workdays.

5. Unplug from the office.

Maybe the best thing you can do to feel better about work is to leave it behind sometimes. These days, that can be harder than it sounds. Practice setting boundaries for yourself in terms of when you’ll check work email, and set aside non-work time. Take back your weekends and evenings from work, and you’ll find it easier to go to the office when it’s time to buckle down.

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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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