Are you one of those people who jump out of bed each day and who enjoy their work so much they can’t wait to get there? According to recent research, about 25% of us really love what we do for a living. Then there is the majority of people, about 56%, who describe themselves as somewhat happy with their work, but see room for improvement. Sadly, about 19% of us feel deeply unhappy with our work.
Interestingly, the number one thing that makes us unhappy at work is also the number one thing that makes us happy. Are you ready for it? It is the quality of our workplace relationships – how well we are getting along with our manager and coworkers, the level to which we feel valued by them, and how well our manager and workmates communicate with us.
Of course, there are other things that make us unhappy at work – a lack of meaningful recognition or reward, an ineffectual manager, changes that are poorly implemented, lack of opportunity to progress or learn new skills, ideas being ignored, the actual work not being enjoyable, and not feeling like what you do makes a difference. These results, of course, also give clues about what helps people to be happier at work. It is interesting to note that it was the minority of people, primarily those who are most unhappy at work, who say that a higher salary will help them to feel more satisfied.
I believe that becoming happier at work first involves developing the right attitude. An example of what I mean by this is the attitude that ‘my happiness is up to me’. We can choose to be happy, or at least as happy as possible, even while in a workplace that is challenging. It is not the absence of stressors that will make us happy but more the attitude we have to them.
Along with having the right attitude we also need to be willing to take action. It could be to negotiate with your boss about changes that would make your work more satisfying. It could also be a willingness to address a relationship difficulty at work before it becomes a bigger issue. For some, the action they need to take is getting themselves into a better workplace.
Although this is easy to say, for some it is preferable to make their work as satisfying as possible despite the challenges. To do so, you first need to think about what would make you feel more satisfied at work and the steps you can take that are in your control. You may also need to take action to make your personal life more satisfying. The good news is that the more satisfying your free time is, the better you cope with challenges at work.