“Life is too short to be miserable,” says career coach Kerry Hannon. Her book, Love Your Job: The New Rules for Career Happiness, is a game-changer for workers who crave a career reboot without starting from square one. “I call this my ‘suck it up’ book because so many people need a job and want to work,” Hannon laughs. “This book helps readers do an MRI on themselves and find new ways of happiness in their jobs.”
Here are Hannon’s strategies for bringing new energy and career happiness without starting over.
1. Keep a journal and highlight things that make you happy at work, whether it’s your colleagues or a specific task. Refer to it often.
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2. Start some sparks. Boredom is the root of unhappiness. Try something new to get your adrenaline pumping, whether it’s forming a band with coworkers, taking a professional development course, or joining the company softball team. “Start small,” Hannon advises. Just start!
3. Try to telecommute. “Happier and loyal workers have flexibility,” Hannon says. “Plus, it’s rewarding to be told, ‘You’re a grown-up, and we trust you.’”
4. Declutter! It does wonders for productivity and perspective. “When people feel low on energy, often it’s because they’re not clearing out as they go. Their inbox is overflowing. Their desk is a disaster. Their file drawers are jammed,” Hannon says.
Decluttering is liberating and empowering. Hannon quotes career coach Beverly Jones: “You are saying, ‘This is valuable, this is not.’ It’s a physical, practical way to engage in making decisions about your life and what you want to do with it.”
5. Decorate. Hang a special image in your office, not near your phone. “You need something that you can turn toward, take a deep breath, and redirect the day,” Hannon says. “For me, it’s a photo of the Blue Ridge Mountains.”
6. Stay up to speed on your field. Read the latest news and trade magazines. “Then you don’t feel like you’re just doing the same thing over and over,” Hannon says. If you become complacent about trends, you’ll get left behind. Then, when new and interesting opportunities do arise at work, you might not be nimble enough to grab them. So make a practice of reading trade publications. And set up a Google Alert to notify you about the latest industry news. Being in the know can inspire you to think of projects you might be able to nominate yourself for at work or start on your own.
7. Ask for new duties to combat inertia. “Look at what you currently do, and add something that just might scare you,” she says. If you’re worried you’re not up to the task, raise your hand anyway, accept the invitation gracefully and with confidence, and then get moving to figure out how to do it. The adrenaline will charge you up, and when you succeed, the rewards will be internal and external.
8. Volunteer. Volunteering can increase career happiness. You can step outside of yourself this way. “A lot of employers have great volunteering programs. It builds bonds with coworkers and gives you perspective beyond yourself,” she says.
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9. Last but not least, smile. Really! A smile can make you more happy at work. “The more you laugh everyday, the better the whole world feels,” she says.
Photo Credit: Kurt Stallaert/Gallerystock