Something sparked inside of me the other day, when someone said to me “Lauren, you’re young, you have the rest of your life to be unhappy at work, why start now?”.
Doing a Business Studies degree, I have always promised myself I’d never be that person to be unhappy with where I work and what I’m doing. And for a while, I haven’t been – that’s ok. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed. We spend our lives at work, and, sadly, we all have to do it. But if you are unhappy, you really don’t realise the impacts it can have on the rest of your life, it’s scary and uncertain and you’re not sure but your happiness should be your focus.
I promise you, it gets better.
Have courage and enjoy your work – it is such a huge chunk of everyone’s lives and it doesn’t seem right that we spend that unhappy.
Life is too short
The reality is, we spend most of our lifetime at work (about 90,000 hours to be precise). In a place that isn’t home, that isn’t being sociable and isn’t with friends/family. Why spend time somewhere that you hate? If you are spending more time clock watching than you are enjoying your time in a place that challenges you intellectually, then you have to move on. Enjoy your time at work, find something stimulating and that you are passionate about. It doesn’t need to be doom and gloom. You are working to get to Friday, hurrying up the weekend so you can get away from the place. Stop wishing your life away because you only get one. And if it means getting rid of a place you don’t really like that much, get out.
Happier = healthier
It is not just your general wellbeing – when people are unhappy at work, they often don’t realise the strain and stress that it puts on your mental, emotional and physical health as well. Stress isn’t always recognised as the typical “I have so much to do and so little time” type symptoms. It can often be shown through pains, sleep problems, eating problems, irritability and fatigue, and it can lead to serious health conditions. When you are happy at work, it shows – through your work and through your mental and physical well-being because you want to take care of yourself, you feel good and positive for the day. These positive mentalities keep you going, inspire endorphins and it shows. Plus, you don’t hate everything everyday, so you feel more creative, inspired and more productive. Don’t sacrifice the most important part of your life (health) for something that you can change.
After a while the unhappiness really does take a toll, and it can then have a domino effect on the rest of your life. Relationships are affected because your work-life creeps into your home life, or you don’t have time to spend with the people most important to you, or you don’t realise but you take it out on the people you’re closest to. Stop. It doesn’t need to be this way. At the end of the day, friends and family will always be there, but your work may not be this loyal. Don’t sacrifice your sociable hours with unhappiness. No amount of money can replace good friends and your family.
You may be like me, thinking to yourself “but I have no idea what I want to do”!
Often, yes, the jobs you want require experience or qualifications, some which you’ll have and others which you won’t, but here’s what you can do to control your happiness and figure out a path that’s better suited to your needs, wants and overall happiness.
Write a list of things you’re good at or that you enjoy.
This can range from anything from music, sports to actual roles you’ve had in the past that you would go back to.
Figure out your motivations
It doesn’t need to be just roles – perhaps even what motivates you at work, like company culture, money, flexible working, or even just a small, friendly team. This list helps you in your search so you remember exactly what you’re seeking to be happy in the future.
What are you good at?
You can also pick out key skills you have that you think are important to you and that make you stand out, but also skills that you are happy using. You want to use this experience you’ve worked so hard for, right? Well use this to your advantage.
Prioritise your passions
These lists will lead you to figuring out your true passions – the things you really value and care about, and most importantly, enjoy spending your time doing.. These may not even be things at work, but if this means perhaps working less hours or taking time to do these things, you may find that the extra time will give you that opportunity to delve into things that do make you happy.
And if that means changing your role, then be brave and make the change.
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I love hearing your thoughts – what do you think about happiness at work?