How to be happy at work

How to Be Happy at Work

I have been happy at work for many years now, but I still remember what it felt like to be unhappy at work and what I did to turn that situation around.

In 1983 I was employed as an office manager with an investment company.  I was totally fed up with administrative work and wanted to work with people and write.  I did an aptitude test at work.  The results said: Not good at: writing, leadership, anything creative. Good at: mathematics, administration, and organising. Now anyone who knows me well would say that all the things that I was once described as not being good at, are now my strengths.

There will always be people who tell you what you can’t do, but I believe that if you have a strong enough desire you can develop skills. Always remember this: Desire is more important than talent.  Aptitude tests usually tell us what we already know.  Aptitude is like a muscle, if you don’t use it you don’t develop the skill.  To be happy at work you need to discover what excites you, what you enjoy doing, then you can gain the skills required.

What makes me happy at work

I started by asking myself questions and writing down my answers. I asked questions like

Meeting people
Listening to music
Creative projects
Helping others

Remembering trivia

No pressure

Eye for colour
Warmth and friendliness

When making your list don’t discount any skills, even household or sporting ones, it may be possible to use them in some way. Then when you’ve written down as much as you can, write your job profile and include the answers to the following questions.

What do you want in a  job?

The next thing to think about what you want from a job by asking yourself these questions:

  • What do you want in a job?
  • What hours do you want to work?
  • How much money do you need to make? Keep the word ‘need’ in mind not just ‘want’.
  • How do you want to dress?
  • Where do you want to work? (home/indoor/outdoor/suburb/office/shop/factory)
  • Do you want to work in a large or small organisation?
  • Who do you want to work with? (Women/men/both/alone)
  • What industry?
  • How do you wish to travel? (Car/public transport)

Then using your answers as well as the ones from your personal profile compile your list and carry it with you, adding to it whenever something comes to mind.

Keep an open mind

 The biggest mistake we make when we make a list like this is to try and fit a job into it but it’s best if you keep an open mind. If a career comes to mind that fits in with your job profile, great, but it’s amazing how powerful just having a list can be.

When I went through my career crisis, I didn’t decide exactly what my new career would be, but when a position was offered to me I knew it was right immediately because of the extensive research I had undertaken on my needs and wants.  I did the necessary work first and I was ready when the opportunity came.

Once I started in my new career, the learning didn’t stop.  It started, and I am still learning today. Being dissatisfied in your career can be a great opportunity. I could never have plotted the path to get to where I am today. Don’t limit opportunities because you believe you are too old, too young, unqualified, not good enough, don’t have a degree or have failed before.

What it all comes down to is acting as if you believe in yourself and your abilities.  Set up a daily routine that supports you that reminds you to:

  1. Control your thoughts, these will take you down the wrong path at times, so remember to constantly tell yourself you can have what you want.
  2. Don’t talk to others about what you want, many will make you doubt your dreams.
  3. Make a list of things to do that lift your spirits when you feel down.
  4. Add simple activities into your daily life that make you happy because happy people attract more opportunities.

If you act as if you believe you are a wonderful, intelligent person, then other people will see your potential as well and doors will open that will enable you to be happy at work.



2 Responses
  1. Hi Anne – really enjoyed your email today, thank you. What crossed my mind when reading it is some other things that would be good to put on the list of things needed in a job. These would be some feelings about how you want to feel when at work. Valued, accepted, appreciated, fulfilled, happy (of course), belonging. A bit similar to making a list of all the qualities you want in a partner when looking for one. They are good of course but what is more important is how you will feel in his/her company. Anyway just had those few thoughts and felt like passing it on – although I’m sure you know this already 🙂

    Thanks again

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