The term happiness at work may seem like a distant daydream for most. That’s because the harsh reality in most organizations today is that at least half their workforce is disengaged, and even more are actively or passively looking for other jobs.
This is because most employees are unhappy at work. This stems from the simple, yet unforgiving feeling of being unfulfilled.
Most of us sit in our offices all day (if you’re lucky enough to have your own space), our brains are fried from stress and in between conference calls, we hope and dream that someday we will finally discover our true purpose in life.
But finding your purpose in life is a process. A process that takes some time.
Using the steps below can help you buy some precious time at your current job; and take the first step toward achieving a state of peace of mind until you discover your true place in life.
1. Eliminate unnecessary pressure
Simply put, don’t put yourself under any unnecessary pressure. Period.
I get it.
Your boss is hounding you. You’re late on some projects. Your team is driving you nuts, and you can’t seem to keep your head above water.
The reality is that there will never be enough time in the day to conquer your world. Time is a commodity that none of us have the ability to buy more of.
But you can make progress without exhausting yourself. Pressure keeps us on our toes – but unnecessary pressure can put us into an early grave.
So, try not to do that.
Instead, focus on what matters most at work. Prioritize the projects that are most important or will get you the most bang for your buck.
Then gradually work down your list to accomplish the rest. They will all get done if you can just relax a bit.
2. Know your value
Ask yourself questions like “How much value do I add to this company?” and “Does my company value the contributions I bring to the table?”.
When you feel you are making a strong contribution at work, understand how you fit into the puzzle and feel valued in return for all of your hard work and efforts, you will naturally become more content.
And in the workplace, contentment can sometimes take the place of happiness.
The flipside holds true as well.
If you feel like a cog in a wheel and sit in your cube each day wondering what the heck you are doing there, it may be time to start some self-exploration to discover if there is something more meaningful out there for you.
Feeling respected, valued and even cherished at work is incredibly important. If you don’t feel that way today – go find another employer who can give this to you.
Because you deserve it.
3. Don’t blame yourself
This is a big one, mostly because there are a lot of bad bosses out there.
When you have a bad boss, they will inevitably and eventually make you start feeling bad about yourself.
I once worked for this woman who was a terrible boss. In fact, she was borderline a terrible human being.
I would work for hours on projects, bring her my drafts and she would hate them. The problem was, when I tried asking her what she was looking for to get some clarification and direction, she had no clue.
This eventually put me on a path of constantly asking myself if I really even knew what I was doing.
Long story short – the company ended up firing her and bringing in a new leader. I brought this new leader my drafts and she loved them!
One of the biggest keys to happiness at work is being steadfast in your ability to never let others get you down. Have faith in yourself, stay confident, learn and grow your skills where you need to – but NEVER, EVER let your confidence be swayed by someone else.
4. Ask for help
Staying confident doesn’t mean staying ignorant. This is important and leads to my next point. There may be areas you genuinely need to work on – and you should take a hard look in the mirror and recognize where your weaknesses lie.
It’s ok to have weaknesses – we all do.
The trick is to acknowledge them and ask for help when you need it. Asking for help in situations at work will only lead to two outcomes.
First – you’ll eventually get better is this area, since you will have help from someone who is stronger than you are.
And second – asking for help is the best way to build genuine friendships at work. When you ask for help – that means someday you will need to return the favor.
Throughout the process of helping one another, you’ll begin to build real friendships that will likely stay with you long after you’ve left your employer.
Remember, it takes a village to raise a child. The same holds true for building a successful and happy career.
5. Don’t be afraid to speak up
If you want to stay unhappy at work, a sure-fire way to do this is to stay quiet.
Stay quiet when someone is acting like a jerk. Stay quiet when the team is going down the wrong path. Stay quiet when you know the CEO is making a bad decision.
Seriously – don’t do any of those things.
You need to have faith in yourself. You have a voice. And your voice matters.
It matters to your employer (if they want help in staying competitive) and it matters if you want to be happy.
A foundation of human behavior is the desire to be a part of something bigger. But you can’t be a part of this if you’re not willing to take a leap of faith and stand up if you have a different point of view.
Just take a breath, say it nicely and say it professionally. But say it.
Mark Schoenberg is a hospitality consultant and founder of Forbes Hospitality, a boutique recruitment agency specializing in driving creative recruitment solutions for the hospitality sector. If you’re looking to hire great talent and skyrocket your business, check us out today.