Whether we like it or not, money makes the world go round and these days even finding a half-decent job isn't always that easy. So, if you are currently in a job you don't really like but are stuck there for the time being, the following will help you to rethink the situation and turn a potential lemon into lemonade.
#1 Learn To Do The Job As Well As You Possibly Can
It doesn't matter what you are doing, whether it is a simple, repetitive manual job or a complex creative one, you can always try and get better at it – and I mean much better. Take an almost Zen-like approach to refining it and become the organization’s number one expert – the person people come to if they ever need help, training or guidance.
Not only will you begin to have more pride in your work, but the job will become easier, less stressful and more fulfilling. You may even become noticed by the people who call the shots as someone who takes pride in their work, is more efficient and who should maybe be rewarded accordingly.
#2 Take More Control
Now I'm not suggesting starting a mini revolution or coup d’état against the boss. No, what I am proposing is far more subtle. There are plenty of strategies you can implement to gradually put yourself in a position of more control.
These can range from making the most of your strong points, to giving yourself a bit of a makeover, smartening up and personalizing your work space as well as paying attention to your body language, verbal tones, and mannerisms.
Phase these things in gradually and most people should begin to treat you with more respect, and when this happens, an increase in your happiness level is sure to follow.
#3 Stay Healthy
This is pretty obvious, but the healthier you feel, the better you feel. This impacts everything we do – including jobs we don't like. The truth of the matter is that if we are unhappy at work we often begin to neglect ourselves by eating comfort food, drinking too much, and becoming lazy and inactive.
This negative behavior creates a vicious circle and we feel worse and worse – especially when we are at work.
So, try eating and drinking more healthily, lay off the booze and, if you smoke, cut down or, better still, stop. Failing this, at least get into the regular habit of going for a walk at lunchtime and get some fresh air.
#4 Make Sure You Get Plenty Of Sleep
Lack of sleep is not only bad for your health (both mental and physical); it also makes concentrating difficult, encourages mistakes, makes easy things hard work and plays havoc with your memory. Plus, more often than not it makes you late, messy, and of course your looks will suffer.
I know trying to get a good night’s sleep is easier said than done, and everyone has their own patterns and routine, but there are some simple sleep hacks you can try to build into your life.
For example, avoid stimulants late at night, make sure you go to bed at the right time, and create a comfy bed with nice clean pillows, sheets and duvet covers. It is also really important to make your environment as sleep perfect as you possibly can; this means making it nice, quiet, correctly lit and secure.
#5 Make Friends
Oftentimes we are unhappy at work because we feel lonely and underappreciated. A great antidote to this is to make friends. Okay, I accept that this isn't always possible, but in most cases it is.
How many people nowadays work in a completely empty space with no access to a computer or cell phone? Even if you do then you can usually meet people at lunch or coffee breaks. Plus, most organizations celebrate people’s birthdays or special events, and these are great opportunities to bond with people and turn co-workers into friends
If you work for a decent sized organization, there are often special lunchtime (or evening) clubs like yoga, Pilates or aerobics. Joining clubs or participating in after-work activities is another great way to get to know different people.
If there isn't such a group, consider setting one up. What better way to get known and hopefully better appreciated.
#6 Start Training
Research shows that employers value staff who have vocational qualifications – they treat them better and reward them for their effort.
This in itself can make work life better. Okay, so you may have to do a bit of studying in the evening and a stressful exam or two, but there are other benefits as well.
Not only can the knowledge you acquire make your work easier, but you can sometimes benefit from a salary increase or one-off reward incentive payment.
If you are really lucky, you may even get a promotion to a better role, and if none of these happen at least your CV looks better for your next attempt at finding happy employment!
#7 Stop Complaining
The chances are that if you are unhappy at work you might fall into the habit of constantly complaining. If so, I suggest you stop it immediately.
Don't get me wrong, you may well have lots to complain about, but people don't always appreciate it if you spend all your time complaining about how bad your job is or how unfairly you are being treated. Worst case scenario is that they may even start seeing you as a sad whinger.
Instead, I suggest that you take action to improve the situation. Identify exactly what it is that you dislike about your job, mitigate it where possible and focus on the stuff you do like.
Of course, if someone or something is making your life difficult then by all means file an official complaint and take the necessary steps to resolve the issue. But don't get a reputation for always complaining. It won’t do you any favors in the long run.
The sad truth is there is always someone worse off than you who would love to have your job!
So, these are some of my top tips for how you can start changing your perception of your job from mundane and dull to much more enjoyable.
Remember: At the end of the day, we spend a huge amount of our waking time at work, so doesn't it make sense to make the most of it and enjoy that time as much as possible?