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Top 10 Ways to Be Happy at Work

Aug 18, 2007
Sometimes it's hard to find happiness at work. Maybe your work isn't fulfilling. Maybe it's because of your co-workers. Then again, maybe it's your own negative attitude. The truth is that finding happiness - or at least contentment - shouldn't be that difficult. Here are ten suggestions of how to start.

1. Try to be optimistic. Optimism means having a positive outlook in even the worst situations. And despite what others may say, optimism can be learned. With regards to your job, optimism means deciding that you will at least try to enjoy your job. When in doubt, fake it. Sometimes faking optimism actually helps you develop optimism.

2. Change your attitude. Many people who are dissatisfied with work tend to have a 9-to-5 relationship with their job. They punch their cards and then go home. One way to combat this mentality is to see yourself as part of the company. Think about it: even though you don't own the company, it is still yours. With this in mind, it's easier to develop a sense of pride and fulfillment in the work you do.

3. Be grateful for your job. Before you slam your phone in the wall, remember that your job provides for your necessities. Take a few moments and itemize all the benefits you receive through having a job - any job - and try to feel grateful. Try to remember that there are worse jobs; if that's a stretch, then think about having no job at all.

4. Avoid self-criticism. Most people are too sensitive, especially when it comes to their own mistakes. Rather than cutting yourself down, think about how you can make improvements. Avoid negative criticism and applaud yourself for successes, even little ones. Remember that most of your daily successes involve tasks and responsibilities that no one notices but you. So give yourself a break.

5. Forgive your co-workers. Forgiveness is hard under any circumstance and especially with people you see everyday. Still, when you've been wronged or offended, try to forgive even if the guilty party doesn't ask for it. Remember that holding a grudge tends to affect you, not them. Offensive people rarely notice those to whom they give offense - that's what makes them offensive. Just let it go.

6. Stand up for yourself. It's hard to be happy when you're being harassed or bullied. Too often people keep quiet or simply quit rather than confronting the problem. Don't let that happen to you. Don't tolerate bullying or harassing in any form. Stand up for yourself. By doing so, you will not only stop the harassment but also gain a greater sense of self-confidence.

7. Don't gossip. Gossip destroys confidences, friendships, and unity. It creates hostility, criticism, and pessimism and can undermine a productive workplace. There is no upside to gossip. So, when invited to participate in gossiping of any form, just remember this: what goes around, comes around. Thus, if you don't want co-workers gossiping about you, don't tolerate them gossiping about other people.

8. Be friendly. It's a simple fact that work is more enjoyable when you like your co-workers. This doesn't mean every co-worker has to become a "bosom buddy" - after all, "being friendly" isn't the same thing as "being friends." Still, you will create more enjoyable working atmosphere by being amicable with your co-workers. Show an appropriate interest and be friendly, albeit professional.

9. Expect change and prepare for it. Workers today face more changes than ever, whether adjustments to policies and procedures, expanding technology, or rapidly growing and equally rapid down-sizing. When change happens, try not to be intimidated by new technologies or responsibilities. You'll manage. Besides, the great thing about change is that it's fleeting. So even if it's a bad change, it'll be over soon.

10. Quit. Yep, that's right. If you have tried all these tips and nothing has changed, then it's time for drastic measures. Quit. Resign. Take a leave. If your job simply isn't making you happy, then find one that will. There's plenty of jobs out there. Everyone needs a fresh start or a change of scenery once in a while.

Remember that happiness in the workplace takes action. You can't be happy by simply sitting around wishing for it. Contentment and satisfaction take work - sometimes daily work - in order to obtain and maintain. But with these strategies, and a little conscious effort, you too can find happiness in the workplace.
About the Author
Benjamin Welch has been a college instructor in writing and composition for nearly six years. When he's not teaching or playing golf, he offers advice for students seeking information about online education, and work study options for college.
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