How can I stay happy at work?
How often do you get the Sunday evening blues? Every now and again, or every week without fail? If it's the latter, maybe you should think about moving on…
But lots of people find themselves in the situation where they're not ready to move jobs just yet – perhaps because they've only been in the role a short time, or because they want to gain more experience. So if you find yourself in the situation where you're in a job that is ok but not brilliant, or that you really need to see through for a period of time, what can you do to make it more interesting and - dare we say it – more fun? Here are some suggestions:
- Positive thinking - Focus on the positives – what do you really like about your job (come on, there must be something)? How could you incorporate more of that into your working day? Remind yourself of the other positive aspects of your work – your friends and colleagues, for instance.
- Challenge yourself - Find new challenges. One of the reasons that we can get restless in our job is, quite simply, boredom. Think about ways in which you could make your role more interesting. Perhaps you could volunteer to mentor new staff, or spend some time every week shadowing people in other departments to get a broader perspective on the business? Discuss your ideas with your line manager.
- Flexible working - Is there scope for you to work more flexibly? Working from home one day a week, for example, could give you more variety. This is not an excuse to get up late and lie around watching daytime TV, though – you'll need to be able to show some output for your time away from the office! Again, discuss the options with your manager.
- Learn more - If you feel you're not being stimulated enough mentally, consider doing some training or a course that is work-related: it will give you new insights, help to keep you fresh, and will be a useful addition to your CV when you are ready to move on.
- Network - If meeting new people is not already part of your role, find ways to incorporate it. Meeting people and getting fresh perspectives can help you to keep yourself interested and interesting. If there don't seem to be many networking opportunities where you are, create some! Organise a pub quiz or a team outing, or arrange for you and your colleagues to meet up with staff from another part of the company.
- Have some fun - Inject a bit of fun into your workplace. That could be as simple as croissants on a Monday morning or a team drink on Friday afternoon. Or it could be a more structured social event. Your work colleagues don't have to be your bosom buddies, but you'll enjoy your working day much more if there's a bit of banter and humour around. Just because your work is a serious business doesn't mean you can't have fun while you do it!
- Improve your social life - Make an effort to do more interesting things outside of work. If your working week consists of getting up in the morning, going to work, coming home, having dinner, slumping in front of the TV and then going to bed, your job is going to have a disproportionate impact on your overall mood. Try to fit a couple of social engagements into your week – a dancing class or an art exhibition, perhaps, or just a catch-up with friends you haven't seen for a while. Having something to look forward to during the week will help to make it more bearable.
- Prioritise your workload - If you find that your problem is you're working such long hours that you don't have time to have fun outside work, let alone in the office, you need to tackle this. Get used to prioritising your workload – negotiate extensions to deadlines if necessary – and make yourself leave the office on time at least 3 nights a week. Most of us have periods when we're extra-busy and end up working long hours, but if this is happening to you routinely, you need to get out of that rut.
And if, despite trying all the things we've suggested, you're still not enjoying your job most of the time, then perhaps it is time to think about moving on. Life is too short to spend in a job that makes you miserable!