How to be happier at work

lbWork takes a great chunk of your time and life. You spend at least 1/3 of your day doing it and the other portion thinking about it. So I ask, why would you put so much time and energy into doing something that you’re not passionate about? Before you answer “for money”…allow me to ask you this, do you honestly feel that if you pursued your passions, there’s no possible way to generate income? Do you feel that if you continue working a passionless career, one day you’ll wake up loving it? Do you think you’re lack of passion doesn’t really affect those around you?

If you answered yes to any of the above, I’m afraid you may be mistaken. A career revolving around your passions can generate income. You just need to identify what you love, create a game plan displaying how your love can create value for others, and take action (a step that many fail to execute thus causing failures). Likewise, unless you make a change (either with what you do or how you perceive it), don’t expect to wake up one day loving what you do. Similarly, if you lack passion, you also lack happiness, thus affecting those around you. When you complain, you’re affecting those that have to hear it. When you’re drowning in work, you’re affecting those who are seeking for your attention (i.e. loved ones). When you lack enthusiasm, you lack motivation, energy, productivity, and creativity. Not to mention, when you’re unhappy, you’re affecting your quality of life.

So, how do you achieve happiness with work? First, you need to stop complaining about you’re lack of happiness and take action. As the saying goes, “do something about it”! Secondly, identify your passions. Identify what things you value, hold interest for, and can see yourself doing years into the future. Once you’ve identified your passions, plan how you’ll achieve them. If the lack of skills is stopping you, then plan how you’ll obtain them. Perhaps you can take on schooling, conduct informational interviews, look for a mentor, or research. If you work for an employer, maybe you can talk to your manager or HR about your goals and discuss how you can apply your skills into something you have passion for. For example, assume you’re an accountant, but tired of analyzing numbers, and desiring to pursue a more creative role. Therefore, perhaps you can look into working in the marketing department in a role that analyzes the marketing budget and ROI or measures the success of the various marketing strategies. Once you have your foot in the department, then you can experience the marketing environment first hand, see if it’s really for you, and be in the forefront to switch over to a more marketing related role.

If select the entrepreneurial route, you need to plan how you can utilize your passions (the things that generate you happiness) to create value for others. At the same time, as an entrepreneur, you may find yourself starting out as a one man show…taking your time and energy away from the very core of your business (doing what you’re passionate about) and placing it on necessary business tasks (i.e. administrative roles). Therefore, if you find yourself struggling with this, perhaps you should look into finding someone to fulfill such tasks, either by obtaining a volunteer, someone out of barter work, or maybe hiring someone.

In addition to planning a career, you need to plan the ideal work environment. If you’re an introvert and prefer to work with limited interactions, perhaps you can talk to your manager about implementing a virtual role (working mostly out of the home). If you’re an extrovert, perhaps you can work in an office with a larger number of employees or maybe out in the field, interacting with customers.

As well as identifying what you do like and where you do like to work, understand what you don’t like and where you don’t like to work. Too many times people fall into the trap of repeatedly being unhappy at work, doing the same unhappy thing over and over. Why is that? Will, assume you’re a web designer, but are tired of working on computers. Therefore, you decide to look for a new job. When writing your resume, you present yourself as the “perfect package”, listing all your accomplishments and skills (including those associated with web design). The problem, however, is that when employers are looking over your resume, they’ll keep you in mind for the web design role. So, what’s the point, present yourself based on your current passions not your past experience.

They say you’ll know if you’re passionate about work, if you can answer the question “what do you do for work?” with enthusiasm. If you have any doubt in your response, then you may not be very happy. And if that’s the case, create an action plan about how you’re going to make a change, without getting trapped in the planning stage. Hopefully sooner than later, you’ll take action. So I’m going to end with asking you…what do you do for work? There’s so much more I want to say, but due to limited space, please email if you have any further questions on how to be happy at work, how to create a plan, how to take action, where to start, etc.


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