We live in an age of instant gratification. Nothing is too far out of reach to be achieved, but even the most conventionally successful people might not be satisfied with their jobs. As earnest and honest as it sounds to find meaning and passion in your work, the current economic and social fabric of our world doesn’t provide that chance to everybody in a fair manner, and for a majority, a job is what it is – a job that provides for you.
Although the itch to do something more is leading to the present workforce experimenting with their jobs more than ever, sometimes, one needs to consciously learn to love their work. And guess what; learning to love and appreciate your work isn’t very tough. The two things it will require from you are practice and patience. Here are some steps to help you find happiness in your job:
Begin well: You were struck in traffic, which means you are late for the meeting, your morning tea has gone cold, the internet is slow and you can’t find the document you were supposed to send half an hour ago.
It is normal to be overwhelmed by all these things hitting you together at once – but do not let the first few minutes of your day dictate how the rest of your day is. Here’s how to begin your day on the best note.
Reduce the comparison: Stop comparing your career graph, paycheque, or job title with your peers. Everybody has different challenges to face, and measuring individuals on one-dimensional parameters will give you unwarranted stress. Sure, be competitive to strive for growth and progress, and do not get complacent in your career, but choose your own terms of success and stay the course.
Don’t fall into a routine: Even the most exciting work can become boring if predictability and routine creeps in. Always be on the lookout for work that satisfies a yearning, or answers your curiosity. If your work is field-based, make it a point to visit the field on a regular basis, no matter your seniority, and find ways to ensure that the work you do remains a challenge – and requires you to do more.
Don’t ignore your health: An unhealthy body or an agitated mind will never lead to happiness while working.
Work in light exercises in your schedule, make sure you take a dedicated lunch break, balance eating out with eating healthy food, and spare some time away from everything – to disconnect and ensure your brain gets breathing space.
Be consciously happy: As naive as it may sound, consciously smile more at your colleagues, laugh heartily when something is funny, help your colleagues out with a problem that isn’t yours to solve, and do things that make you value your work and skills. Happiness is a state of mind after all, and you will have to take steps to achieve it.
Keep the weekends free: A cardinal rule to maintain balance between work and personal life is to ensure that you give adequate time to both. Make sure you do not take work home on the weekends, and they are reserved for doing things that you enjoy. A weekend should be stress free, and should consist of things and people that give you joy.
Don’t let the side projects die: Remember the song you were going to record with your college friends? Or the movie you were planning to shoot with your colleagues? Or the road trip you have wanted to go on forever? Do not let things and activities that give you happiness fizzle out of your calendar. It will take a lot of balancing act to keep them going, but people are effectively juggling their jobs and alternative careers in areas of their interests.
Fix what you can: Find small things you can fix to make your time in the office more enjoyable: Do you need to increase your social circle, talk to more people, or spend more time brushing up skills that you need for the job?
Do you think a short vacation can break the lull, or do you think working in a different department will help you enjoy your work more? Assess what you can change – and have the courage to make it, or ask for it.
Make note of the wins: Very importantly, periodically make a note of what has been going good in your job. It could be a raise or promotion, a new skill learnt, working on a new project, or even the amount of effort you put in to achieve a particular result – it is essential to celebrate the progress, and review the failure to be happy in your work life.
Resilience can be learnt and stress can be dealt with, and it is not entirely impossible to learn to love the work you do. Many a times sticking on with a job and continuing doing the work you are doing is the only option you have, and in such a scenario, it is best to learn to love, or at least like, the work at hand, and find happiness. It may sound like a defeatist’s way of compromising, but, look at it this way, if you are going to continue doing your job, you might as well learn to like it.