What should you do if the job you thought you’d enjoy is turning into something other than you expected? Perhaps your job felt like love at first sight but slowly turned into a struggle, or maybe you accepted it because you needed work but knew the situation wasn’t ideal.
There are many people who are happy with their work, especially if they are in a job that matches their career and life goals. However, even with the best job, there are times when you struggle to find enjoyment in what you are doing. During times of stress or discouragement, finding that joy in work can be difficult. In this article, we shall discuss tips and strategies to feel better about your job.
If you start each morning dreading going to work, it can take a serious toll on your happiness and well-being. Even people who love their jobs get bored, frustrated, or dissatisfied with aspects of their work from time to time. In other cases, people can experience burnout or dissatisfaction with their work culture.
What can you do if you’re unhappy with your job? The obvious solution is to consider changing jobs, but this isn’t always an option.
Fortunately, there are things that you can do to feel better about your job right now.
Table of Contents
Focus On the Positive
Even if there are aspects of your job that are weighing you down mentally, you can feel better about your job by focusing on the things that you do like.
- What work tasks do you enjoy doing the most?
- Are there certain things that you wish you could do more of that work?
- What are you learning from your job?
Chances are you can think of at least a few things that you do like about your job. Use these as a jumping-off point to find ways to grow professionally.
If there are certain types of tasks that you enjoy doing more than others, ask if you can take on those responsibilities more often. Taking on new challenges can also be a way to make your job more interesting and can allow you to push yourself into learning new things.
Even if your current job isn’t something that you want to do forever, it can still be an opportunity to learn, grow, and explore other career directions.
Start Your Day in the Right Mood
Research suggests that workers who start their day in a good mood tend to be more productive and positive throughout the day.1 So if you start your day dreading work or with a sour mood, chances are good that the rest of the day won’t go any better.
While you might not be able to change some aspects of your job, you can make sure that you have something to look forward to each morning.
- Try listening to your favorite podcast on your way to work
- Make sure you spend at least a few minutes outside for some fresh air
- Enjoy a favorite pick-me-up such as a cup of coffee or tea
Simply having a morning ritual can provide a sense of comfort to calm your body and mind before you kick off your workday.
Even if you enjoy the type of work that you do, taking part in a toxic workplace can leave you feeling unhappy and anxious. It may not be possible for you to completely alter the company culture, but there are some things that you can do to ensure that your work environment is a more positive place to be. Some things you can do:
- Avoid workplace gossip
- Focus on helping colleagues rather than competing with them
- Try to redirect the negative conversation
- Work on solving problems rather than complaining
If you find that there are certain people at work who bring you down or try to get you to engage in toxic behaviors, do your best to distance yourself from those people.
Make Changes Where You Can
It’s difficult to be happy at your job if the tasks that you work on every day are a poor match for your personality and preferences. For example, if you are a person that thrives on working independently, it can be frustrating if you are always required to work in collaborative groups.
Research has shown that when there is a mismatch between a person and their job, burnout is common.
While you might not be able to change the nature of your job, you can look for ways to better align your job with your preferences. For example, if you normally work alone but thrive on social interaction, you might look for ways to work on more group projects or move your workspace to an area where you’ll have the opportunity to talk to others more often.
Such steps can not only minimize burnout—they can increase your well-being, motivation, and enjoyment of your job.
Personalize Your Workspace
Being able to personalize your workspace can have a positive psychological effect. Even making small changes can help you feel better about the space where you spend the bulk of your day.
Research has found that people who work in open office areas have less motivation, increased stress levels, decreased productivity, and reduced concentration. The lack of privacy, increased distractions, and high noise levels mean workers devote more cognitive energy toward managing those stresses rather than focusing on work.
Making small tweaks to your workspace can also help you feel better about your job. No matter where you work, it is important to have:
- A safe, ergonomic work area
- Good lighting
- A comfortable room temperature
For those who work from a home office, your options might only be limited by your budget. Fill your work area with things that help you feel inspired and motivated to work.
If you work in spaces that are less modifiable, such as in a retail or warehouse, your options might be more limited. Small changes like keeping some personal items in your locker or in the employee rest area can provide comfort and stress relief during the workday.
Focus on keeping your workspace comfortable, professional, uncluttered, and functional.
Find Meaning In Your Job
One way to feel better about your job is to look for ways in which your efforts are making a difference. Research has found that people who feel that their work is meaningful are more engaged and productive.
Some ways that you can find meaning in your job include:
- Building positive relationships with co-workers and clients
- Focusing on some of the reasons why you work such as providing for your family and saving for the future
- Thinking about ways that your job benefits your community
Finding meaning in your job doesn’t have to be about feeling like you are changing the world. It’s about finding a way to contribute—to your family, to your community, or to society—in a way that leaves you with a sense of fulfillment and purpose.
In summary, the reality is that many people face periods of being dissatisfied with their job. One Gallup survey found that 13% of U.S. workers reported feeling actively disengaged with their work.
Even if your ultimate goal is to move into a more desirable position or career, there are things you can do now to make it easier to do your job. For example, if leaving your current job is not an option right now, or you can’t control your co-workers from gossiping or creating a toxic work environment, you can control how you react to these situations. Looking for ways to feel better about your job can also help you feel happier, healthier, and more satisfied.
I hope you find this article helpful as well as interesting.