A job can bring bliss or frustration on any given day. The only constant in our jobs is us. The skills we bring, our attitudes, and the actions we take make an indelible impact on our job happiness.
So, what’s your take?
Call it chemistry or culture, every workplace has a vibe. It may be upbeat, sour, defensive, or exciting. Whatever the tone, we are prone to be affected by it.
For some reason, it’s easier to see the bleak side of things, especially when those around us are harping about the:
- unfair workload
- self-serving boss
- crumby equipment
- frustrating customer complaints
Where we work isn’t supposed to be paradise. A workplace is more like a laboratory where we experiment and test new ideas, applications, and improvements. It’s a place where change, challenge, and disruption are the rule rather than the exception.
This realization can help us recalibrate our expectations about the swirl of things around us. Instead of resenting them, there’s reason to be thankful.
The gratitude edge
Getting happy at work means reconfiguring the way we see things and recognizing the asset value of the challenges and personalities that make up our surroundings. Gratitude for the opportunity to be in the mix is actually good for us.
Mary MacVean of the Tribune Newspapers, wrote in a December 31, 2012 article:
…if we developed the discipline [of gratitude] on a regular basis, year-round, research shows we’d be happier and suffer less depression and stress. We’d sleep better and be better able to face our problems.”
Then she quotes Robert Emmons, a University of California at Davis professor who has been studying gratitude since 1998:
…it’s one of the few things that ‘can measurably change people’s lives. Gratitude implies humility–a recognition that we could not be who we are or where we are in life without the contributions of others.’
The issue of humility is a big one: It’s about recognizing that we have the job we’re in because, along the way and even now, other people:
- encouraged us
- gave us training
- attested to our abilities
- had our backs
- gave us opportunity
- lent a hand
Our successes are not just about us–our deeds, our smarts, and our promise. They also comes through others.
We all have down days at work, days when we’re not sure we’re in the right job. That’s just reality.
In total, though, our progress comes from the series of tests that we overcome with the help of bosses and colleagues who give us a shot, promote our capabilities, and help us move forward.
Attitudes of gratefulness need to be practiced. To increase your job happiness, you can start by being thankful for:
- The comfort of a paycheck, even if it’s less than what you may need or want. It’s predictability is a secure foundation for the financial and career choices you make going forward.
- Essential job duties that help you master or expand your skills while learning how they impact the business and insights that can position you for another job within or outside your company
- A difficult boss who requires you to become more assertive, a better negotiator, more thick skinned, a better performer, or a more strategic thinker
- Trusted workmates who encourage you, teach you tricks of the trade, help you get out of your shell, walk you through disappointments, offer friendship
- Good working conditions with current technologies, safe equipment, comfortable facilities, and benefits
Every job doesn’t meet our every need, but there are always good features we can be thankful for. The grass is not always greener, so we need to feed and water the grass we have under our feet.
The more you can grasp and internalize the reasons you have to be grateful in your job, the happier you will be. Smile…that helps too!
Photo from from Ateupamateur via Flickr