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How to Be Happier at Work

For the most part, I like my job. But working as a publishing sales rep isn’t exactly what I dreamed of doing as a kid, so there are days work seems like, well, work. Want to be happier at work? Here are some ideas:

For the most part, I like my job. But working as a publishing sales rep isn’t exactly what I dreamed of doing as a kid, so there are days work seems like, well, work. Want to be happier at work? Here are some ideas:

Make a Friend

Having a good friend at work makes a huge difference in how happy you are at work.

A few years ago I was randomly assigned an office-mate who became a close friend. Unfortunately, she left the company a year later. Not long after, most coworkers my age were assigned to a different office, and I was left alone.

I didn’t realize the difference having friends at work made until they were gone. You get somebody you look forward to seeing each day, a lunch mate, and, most importantly, somebody who not only understands when you’re having a bad day, but WHY you’re having a bad day.

De-Stress Your Workplace

Modern offices are not designed to be peaceful places. Many are noisy, cluttered, and offer very little privacy.

Spend your days in a cube farm? You are worse off. Having your back to the entry to your workspace can make you feel watched and tense. Even if you’re not surfing websites you shouldn’t be; colleagues walking in unexpectedly all day long can subconsciously stress you out.

Make your workspace a happier place by adding some homey touches like a painting or a gurgling desktop fountain. If you can, turn off fluorescent lights above your desk and replace them with soft white light. And, if you do work with your back to the door, get a small mirror to place on top of your computer monitor to see who’s popping in before they startle you.

Find a Project You Are Passionate About

In an ideal world, we would all earn a living doing the thing we are most passionate about. Sadly, the last I checked, we don’t live in such a world. That’s not to say you can’t find things at work to be passionate about.

Suggest to your manager taking on a responsibility that incorporates an interest even if it’s outside your job description. For example, if you like planning parties, help plan an employee event or a conference.

If your boss protests; offer to do it after hours. At the very least the project will let you contribute something you enjoy doing. And who knows, the experience may even lead to a new position that makes you happier!

Train New Employees

In every job I have held, nothing gets me happier at work than training a new employee.

Why?

Most times, new hires are excited about their new position and eager to learn, and their enthusiasm is contagious. Even if I’m having a lousy week, working with a new employee reminds me of the good things about the job. And, of course, I want to encourage the trainee, so I kick my energy level up a notch.

Training a new hire is also a great way to check your skills and knowledge and, to top it all off, can score you big brownie points on your next review.

I guarantee training or mentoring a new employee will make you happier at work. If you haven’t had the opportunity yet, why not ask your manager?

Do you have other strategies for being happier at work? I’d love to hear them!

About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.

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