How to Be Happier at Work
There are lots of articles and ideas about making the workplace more productive but who is talking about making the workplace a happier place? Since we spend a third of our lives there maybe we should spend just a few more minutes thinking and talking about that. And while there are many things that an employer can do to make the workplace a more pleasant place to spend all that time in, we can do a lot all by ourselves.
An employer has the obligation to make sure that the workplace is safe and secure and that you have the tools and equipment you require to get your job done. The rest is up to you, including your attitude at work. If you notice the people who seem happiest at work they are often the ones who have a positive attitude. Now you don’t have to be sunny-side up all of the time, but if you are going to whine and complain all the time, you will be miserable almost all the time. If you can find some things about your work to be grateful for, that would be a good beginning. If you can’t find anything good to say about your job, then maybe it’s time you starting looking for a new one.
Even the most boring jobs can have aspects that allow you to learn and grow, even if that means growing into another job. If you are at the bottom then think about it as the starting place for you to rise up. If you are not being challenged in your current job then ask for different assignments and more possibilities. Take a lateral transfer so that you can learn the basics of another job or how another section works. Establish your own personal development and training plan and take outside courses or training that will allow to progress. Quit complaining about being stuck in your career and actually do something about it.
Socialize at Work
It’s always more fun when you do something, even difficult things, with someone else. So why not do that at work by trying to make friends and socializing a little? It could be as simple as eating lunch with others in the common room or going out for coffee break in the morning. You just might find that you have more in common than you thought with at least some of your co-workers and maybe even find a friend or confidante. Studies have shown that our emotional and mental improves when we have someone to talk to about what’s going on with us. That someone might just be in the next cubicle over.
If you can’t always be positive at work you can do your best to avoid negativity. Sometimes that might mean staying away from the people who used to be like the old, unhappy you. You know the whiny, complaining, negative types. Those people would and could bring anybody down. You also need to avoid one of the most negative habits that people have developed in the modern workplace and that is gossip, or talking behind other people’s back. Gossip often sounds innocent but it can damage people’s good name and reputation. You wouldn’t want it to happen to you, so don’t engage when it’s about something else.
Be Helpful and Appreciative
There is nothing that will get you out of a bout of self-pity than a good dose of gratitude or by doing something good for someone else. It might be offering to help a co-worker who’s buried under a pile of paper and close to missing a deadline. It might be volunteering to do that last weekend in summer when you really didn’t have any plans but it seems like everyone else at work did. Or it just might be something as simple as saying thank you and goodnight to the security guard on the way home at night. Giving away a little bit of happiness to someone else may in the end bring it closer to you at work.
Mike Martin is a writer and the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People.
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