It is important to find ways to feel happy at work. We spend som many hours each day working, that it has a profound effect on our happiness.
I have followed the career of a friend of mine with interest. She has been in several jobs during her life and is never happy at work. At first she is happy to get the new job, but it doesn't take long when the same symptoms begins to appear.
The first thing that starts to bug her in her new job her is the amount of work. Little comments begin to surface about how she has to do "those darn charts today". The phone interrupts her constantly (I symphatise with that, it can be really annoying when you have just immersed yourself in a demanding task, and have to leave it every time the phone rings.)
The next thing that destrupts her ability to be happy at work is that coworkers start to annoy her. She hates being ridiculed or even talked about, and has her spikes out immediately like a hedgehog, if she fears she is being joked about, no matter how friendly the joke. Then the boss begins to become an unfriendly character because s/he demands her to do things in a hurry, as this increases her stress.
Then she starts hating Sundays, because she has to go to work the following morning, and the looming Monday ruins her whole Sunday.
Eventually she is definitely not happy at work, and everything she says about her job is a complaint. First she complains only a little, and then more and more, until it becomes a habit.
And that, I feel, is the problem in a nutshell. Negative talk - both self talk and discussions with others, Something so many of us do without realizing its effect on our emotions, and our ability to be happy at work.
Quite a few people feel work is a "necessary evil". Something we have to do to pay our bills and bring a roof over our heads and food to the table. And in this respect it is, of course, a necessary thing. But does it have to be "evil"? Why do we sigh and talk about winning the lottery so we would never have to work again? Would we really like a life without "work"? Is it our very definition of the word we don't think very carefully?
How, then to be happy at work? Work can be many positive things - first of all it means something meaningful to do during our days. Holidays can be fun, but if life was nothing but holiday, we most likely would find ourselves finding something to do. Be it painting pictures, or taking part in some charity, or researching something. If there was nothing meaningful to do, whole life would feel meaninless. A holiday in the middle of stressful life is something quite different than a never-ending life of nothing to do.
Secondly we often have a very important social network at work. People we talk with every day, with whom we reflect life's events, share our joys and sorrows. Some of the coworkers become friends for life, and they are very important for being happy at work. If these people suddenly dropped away, we would miss them. (Sure there are always people we don't like, but even these people are valuable to us, as they show us things we don't like. After this we can turn our attention to what we would like in that situation and start moving to that direction in our lives.)
How about trying to approach your daily work, whatever it is, with the attitude of trying to do your very best? Instead of doing your job half-heartedly, what if you concentrated for one day on how you could do your job as well as you possibly could? What feelings would that create in your mind?
Is there something in your job you really like? (I mean in your tasks, no matter how much you'd like to answer "coffee break") Write a few sentences (just for yourself) what does it feel like to do do that task, and what is good about it. Why do you like it? Why does it make you feel happy at work?
Then try to see what's the golden nugget there. You are probably good at doing that one task, which is why it feels good to do it. But what exactly is it that you are good at? Is it being face-to-face with another person? Or are you good talking on the phone? Are you good at problem solving? Do you enjoy being strong in a physical job? It can really be anything, there are no wrong answers here. Anything is ok that makes you feel happy at work.
Now, ask yourself, does your job give you enough of this good thing? If the answer is yes, then good for you. If the answer is no, would there be a job that would allow you to use this strength of yours more? Is it possible to apply for such a job? Is it possible to educate yourself, get a diploma, and qualify for such a job?
If you feel your life is wasted in the job you have, remember you can reach for better things. You may not be able to just walk out of the job, but you can start taking steps towards your dream.
Also, if you look at your present work, can you see the benefit it gives to your customers? It may be easier to stay motivated and happy in a job, when you realize it isn't all about the paychek, but also about helping others.
How to be happy at work, if it is not your dream job?
Most importantly - do not blame your job if you haven't pursued your own dreams. You can always pursue them, even if the ways to do so are not what you first thought.
I, for example, dreamed of studying history, but worked in an insurance company. I had to work the days, because I needed the paycheck.
I could not go study Egyptology because a) there was no such education available where I lived and b) even if there had been, I could not have attended the lectures during daytime. So I just kept buying books about Egyptology and studying them on my own.
And then, one day, I realized that in this day and age it had possible to study online as well. I wanted to study in English, and preferably at university level. So I started writing to different English universities, asking if they knew if there were Egyptology online courses available. I got several polite "no"-answers, but did not leave it there. Instead I went through 100 Egyptology books in a row and looked at the authors' names.
I decided I'd write to the person whose books I had bought the most. This person happened to be Joyce Tyldesley from the University of Manchester. I searched for her on the net, found her email address and wrote to her. And she answered that the University of Manchester had an online version of their Egyptology studies, which she ran. I could apply to the course in eight months' time. I spent that time studying Egyptology, applied and was accepted.
Three years of work - lots of reading, watching online lectures, writing essays, and then one say I received my Certificate in Egyptology in Manchester. I then applied, and was accepted to study further, and after two years of even harder studies I stood in front of other students again, receiving my Diploma in Egyptology.
The students were from all around the world - Argentina, Finland, England, Malesia, Australia, Austria, Poland, Canada, USA… All of us a living proof that your location is no longer an obstacle to studies, if you wish to fulfil your dream.
On top of that I painted, had an exhibition of my ancient Egyptian art, and started an Egyptological website www.ancientegypt101.com
So I am now living my dream, and am very happy at work, and it all started from that first step - recognising Egyptology was my dream, and then starting the search for study possibilities.