How to Find Happiness on the Job

3 steps to identifying what you want from your job and how it can or can't deliver

For many of us, work and happiness do not coincide. If you are truly unhappy with your job, you have two options: change jobs or change your attitude. Of course your needs will change over time, but before you make a decision, you need to identify what it is you want from your job. According to psychologist Roni Reiter-Palmon, Ph.D., professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, our occupational needs vary over time. At some points, we might require a job that gives us the most amount of pay, while at others, we look for a flexible schedule or a challenging position.

Step 1: Identify your needs

The first step to find happiness at work is to take a look at your job, how you feel about it and how it fits in with your non-work life. By taking a step back and examining all those things, you will be able to better identify how you feel. You might be surprised at the result.

The next step involves identifying how you would find happiness at work, if you're unsatisfied. Does your line of work make you feel unhappy? Or is it your employer? A career change might not be necessary if you truly enjoy what you do.

Step 2: Change your attitude

If changing careers or employers is not an option, you are left with one possibility: make an internal change. Focus on the things at work that you truly enjoy, as well as things that make you happy outside of work. Cultivate your favorite hobbies or spend more time with your family. Focusing on your happiness outside of work might help you feel more at peace on the job.

Step 3: Focus on change

It might also be beneficial to focus on the things that will help you with your work life. Perhaps you would be happier if you were in a higher-ranking position at your job. To find happiness at work, you might need to take a class or two in order to be eligible for that promotion. This will allow you to see the position that makes you unhappy as merely a temporary stepping stone to the one you desire. By putting things in perspective, you enable yourself to view them in a more manageable light.

In order to find happiness at our place of employment, we oftentimes need to make a change. Whether that change is internal or external depends on each of our individual situations. Just remember that finding happiness at work is very achievable.

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